Justin DeCesare

To realize the goal of keeping the Chargers in San Diego with a new stadium, it will take more than getting the team’s initiative on the ballot and passing it in November. Voters must also remove politicians that are likely to work against the Chargers’ downtown vision. District 7 city councilman Scott Sherman is near the top of the list of politicians that are not just stadium obstructionists, but are just plain bad for San Diego.

Sherman was interviewed by the San Diego Union-Tribune and made it is clear he is against the Chargers’ plans for a multi-use stadium downtown that would include a non-contiguous expansion of convention center, and he is largely in favor for big development in Mission Valley.

Sherman attacked both the Citizens Plan, written by attorney Cory Briggs, and the Chargers’ initiative. Either of which would entitle the land for a downtown stadium.

“Well, the Briggs initiative is just terrible and I don’t think should see the light of day. I don’t know why San Diegans would trust a guy who makes his living suing the taxpayer. Plus you’ve got the Port, who came out on that one the other day. The Chargers’ plan I don’t think will work. I think they picked a tough way to get there. The Convadium idea, to me, is the biggest problem because we did some research in my office about Lucas Oil field. That thing is terrible.”

Last year, Sherman rolled out plans for a high-density development for the Mission Valley stadium land and presented them to the Citizens Stadium Advisory Group (CSAG) with hopes his plan would be incorporated into CSAG’s stadium plan for Mission Valley.

River View

 

 

It is clear Sherman would like to move forward with his development plan. “I think they’re coming now because the community plan update is in progress,” Sherman said in regards to huge development in Mission Valley.  “So I think a lot of them are wanting to try to get this done before that could change what’s coming. There’s a lot planned for the Valley.”

Sherman even questioned the Chargers’ effort to stay in San Diego, questioning whether or not they were even sincere. “The cynical part of me says, OK, they’re doing all of this, they don’t have to pay rent for a couple of years in the Rose Bowl, they get free playing here at Qualcomm, and when everything’s done they go out there and say we tried, don’t hold it against us, we’re on our way.”

Sherman claims he wants the NFL in San Diego, but the Chargers to Los Angeles appears to be his real goal. Jason Riggs, the Chairman of the San Diego Stadium Coalition, and myself met with Sherman after he released his plans for Mission Valley. It was a deeply frustrating experience. Sherman admitted that CSAG was facing difficulties in Mission Valley, but brought up several false barriers for a downtown stadium.

The meeting concluded with Sherman stating his plan wasn’t a stadium plan, but a development plan and it was going happen.

If Sherman doesn’t want the Chargers in downtown and wants a big development in Mission Valley, then what he really wants is the Chargers out of his way to accomplish the goals he has for his developer friends.

Fortunately, San Diego has a better choice. Justin DeCesare is running against Sherman in District 7. DeCesare is supportive of the Chargers moving downtown and has a much better vision for the future of Mission Valley.

“I’ve always thought that if a new stadium is to be built, downtown would be a far better location in order to protect the environmental concerns of the San Diego River and minimize the traffic impacts on the already overburdened residents of Mission Valley,” DeCesare said. “Once elected, one of my top priorities for the residents of District 7 will be protecting the Qualcomm site from condo development, and instead turning it into a major public park that can be enjoyed by all San Diegans while protecting SDSU’s football program.”

DeCesare not only is a viable candidate who has an excellent shot of ousting Sherman, DeCesare could outright win the District 7 seat with enough support in the primary on June 7. If any city candidate reaches 50% +1 of the vote in the primary, then they win without having to run in the general election. As of June 1, early ballot returns show DeCesare could have a greater than 4% lead based on a partisan ballot count.

DeCesare still needs help to ensure victory. His campaign is holding daily get-out-to-vote events from now through election day and needs volunteers. 

To volunteer, email the campaign: campaign@justin2016.com.

Voting Guide

 

Dan McLellan

San-Diego-City-Skyline-Lights-Urban-Photography-1

 

Stadium advocacy groups Save Our Bolts and the San Diego Stadium Coalition have made unified political endorsements that best support development of a new stadium and convention center expansion downtown. These endorsements include both opponents to mayor Kevin Faulconer.

“In this primary there are three elections of critical importance to Chargers fans and the future of a downtown San Diego stadium and Convention Center,” said Chairman of the San Diego Stadium Coalition Jason Riggs. “Based on their voting records, public comments, action and/or inactions with respect to the Chargers, the following are the most ardent anti-Chargers officials in this election.

  • NO – Mayor Kevin Faulconer
  • NO – Councilman Scott Sherman
  • NO – Candidate Ray Ellis”

While Faulconer hasn’t taken a position opposing the Chargers initiative or plans for downtown, it is clear where he stands by the actions of those closest to him and by what stadium groups are hearing from those that are engaged with the mayor.

District 1 city council candidate Ray Ellis and accountant April Boling have been two of the most outspoken voices opposing the Chargers’ downtown vision. Both have deep connections tying them to Faulconer.

Boling served as the treasurer for multiple Faulconer campaigns. When Faulconer ran for mayor, Boling was not just the treasurer of the campaign, but also treasurer both super PACs that supported the campaign.

Ellis recently received a $100,000 donation from the political PAC “Neighborhoods, Not Stadiums.” The phone number for this PAC is owned by Boling.

Tony Manolatos, former spokesman for the Citizens Stadium Advisory Group (CSAG), is the communication director for the Ellis campaign. Last week, Manolatos sent out a press release touting Ellis’ anti-stadium stance.

Faulconer’s allegiances clearly lie with the hoteliers. These same hoteliers are hosting a fundraiser for Faulconer this Thursday at Evans Garage, a venue owned by hotelier Bill Evans. It has become abundantly clear Faulconer’s stadium effort, which include CSAG, was designed to protect the interests of a select few hoteliers that favor a contiguous expansion of the Convention Center.

If Faulconer remains mayor, he will have many opportunities to block the Chargers plan from ever being realized. Hurdles to development would include failing to move the MTS bus yard or not acquiring Tailgate Park, for example.

In addition, sources at City Hall have been actively working to sabotage positive efforts to support a downtown stadium. On Friday, a contact at City Hall leaked a false story to NBC San Diego probably to create chaos among fan groups and delay the endorsements given today. The story indicated that the mayor and the Chargers struck a stadium deal in Mission Valley and was quickly shut down as reporters reached out to those in contact with the team. This serves as another example of purposeful deception targeted against the downtown effort.

The Chargers are currently circulating an initiative with hopes of getting it on the November ballot for the general election. The two pro-stadium organizations would ideally like to endorse candidates that have backed the Chargers plan, but no candidate for mayor has gone that far yet.

“No one has earned our vote,” said co-founder of Save Our Bolts David Agranoff.  “Not one candidate has taken action or shown an understanding of what is needed to give San Diego the kind of effort needed in the years to come. Most importantly our fear is that a majority in the primary ends Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s need to campaign. We feel the issues facing the city whether it is downtown, 911 delayed response, the harassment of the homeless with inhumane policies need more discussion than a primary election allows. We are asking San Diegans to vote in the primary for Ed Harris or Lori Saldaña for the primary to ensure that we have more time to weigh the candidates. If in November you choose to change your vote we understand. The future of San Diego is too important to decide as early as June 7th.”

In addition to Harris and Saldaña, Save Our Bolts and the San Diego Stadium Coalition have endorsed councilman candidate Justin DeCesare. All three of these candidates have endorsed the Citizens’ Plan that provides a clear path for a stadium and Convention Center expansion downtown. All three of these candidates have indicated through their campaign management a willingness to implement the Chargers plan when it passes

Harris has promised to facilitate a downtown solution. “The days of Qualcomm are nearly over,” Harris said. “Now, we need to make a path for a downtown stadium, expanded Convention Center, and a public park along the San Diego river. As mayor, I will never stand on the sidelines when real leadership is required to tackle major issues.”

Saldaña echoes this solution-orientated message. “As a native San Diegan and a lifelong Charger fan, I am proud to have the support of my fellow Charger fans,” Saldaña said. “In the absence of leadership from the Mayor who called this his ‘number one issue in San Diego’ I am proud of my fellow San Diegans for taking up their cause and engaging in our political system to achieve what they believe is best for our City. As your Mayor, I will be committed to supporting your efforts and keeping the Chargers in San Diego.”

DeCesare is running against Scott Sherman in District 7.  Sherman suggested the Chargers stadium plan is a con in a Voice of San Diego op-ed published on Monday. In a meeting with Riggs and myself, Sherman made it clear his stadium plan for Mission Valley is really a development plan. DeCesare opposes major development in Mission Valley. He favors the Chargers moving to downtown for the positive environmental impact that can be made with the Mission Valley land after the move.

“I’ve always thought that if a new stadium is to be built, downtown would be a far better location in order to protect the environmental concerns of the San Diego River and minimize the traffic impacts on the already overburdened residents of Mission Valley,” DeCesare said. “Once elected, one of my top priorities for the residents of District 7 will be protecting the Qualcomm site from condo development, and instead turning it into a major public park that can be enjoyed by all San Diegans while protecting SDSU’s football program.”

The June 7 primary election will have an impact on the future of the Chargers in San Diego. Its magnitude cannot be underestimated. “It is critically important that all Chargers fans vote. Fans must get their family and friends to vote as well,” Riggs said. “Abstaining in this election is actually casting a vote for the politicians who are trying to drive the Chargers out of San Diego.”

Full List of Save Our Bolts and San Diego Stadium Coalition endorsements for June 7th primary

Mayor: Ed Harris and Lori Saldaña

City Council, District 1: Barbara Bry

City Council District 7: Justin DeCesare

City Attorney: Bryan Pease

 

 

Dan McLellan

 

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