Combined convention center/stadium? Or neither?

Election question could be playthings versus essentials

The Chargers are continuing to pitch a combined convention center/stadium that, of course, would be financed by taxpayers. Neither the team nor City officials yet admit that convention centers are vastly overbuilt in the U.S. That's why centers, including San Diego's, are slicing prices by 50% and more. No more convention center space is needed -- in any city.

The Chargers are ignoring the fact that combined convention center/stadiums, such as in Atlanta, Indianapolis, and St. Louis, have not worked well. Convention attendees don't like to shuffle from one building to another, and football stadium floors aren't good for displaying merchandise or hosting potential customers.

But mayoral candidates Kevin Faulconer and Nathan Fletcher -- patsies for the downtown corporate welfare crowd -- can be expected to back either the Chargers' plan or the proposed $520 million expansion of the current center.

Mike Aguirre -- and perhaps David Alvarez -- will argue for ESSENTIALS. The West is in a horrible drought and San Diego imports nearly all its water. Infrastructure is in terrible shape. (And not just streets and sewers; the city's parks have been ignored.) Extremely high electricity rates drain money that would go to the other essentials. Neighborhoods are rundown.

Does government exist to subsidize billionaires and out-of-town hotel companies? Or does it exist to take care of fundamentals? This election, likely to go to a runoff, could be a referendum on that question. The nation may be watching.

More like this:

Comments

The city already owns both and still owes money. Let the Chargers build their own stadium

CaptainObvious: 18 of the 32 NFL owners are billionaires. Yet with few exceptions, cities, counties and states pick up the tab for around 80% of their stadiums.

(In saying 80%, I am taking into account the naming rights and advertising rights that should be awarded to governments, but the teams disingenuously count as their own contribution.)

donbauder Of the NFL owners that are billionaires, do you know how many of the would still be billionaires WITHOUT including the value of the team they own? In other words how many would be stand alone billionaires if they had no connection to the NFL? I'm curious how many of these guys were "made" by the NFL

danfogel: I don't know the answer to that question. I suspect that a few of the 18 made the billionaire list because the team values soared. Best, Don Bauder

I don't know if this is legal, but perhaps a proposition should be placed on the ballot that would permanently bar the City from constructing another stadium or expanding the convention center. This thing needs to be nipped in the bud so City leaders can focus on their real responsibilities such as infrastructure repair.

Burwell: That is a great idea. I'm not sure the voters would go for a permanent bar, but maybe one that would bar such construction for the next three decades or so. Best, Don Bauder

Charter amendment. Takes a two-thirds vote to change, if I recall correctly.

Twister: I don't recall either, and I don't have time to look it up right now. Best, Don Bauder

The only convention that needs a larger venue than what is currently in place in San Diego is Comic Con. If that's the case, then San Diego should look at an expansion that is temporary and collapsible. Comic Con brings in a lot of money to San Diego every year, but certainly not enough to warrant a permanent and expensive expansion of the existing Convention Center. There are alternatives that are far more affordable and would work for the singular event where it's necessary.

So far as a stadium for the Chargers, there isn't a plan on the table where the Spanos clan would pay for even half of a new venue, so screw those guys. Roski is still sitting on some prime real estate in the City of Industry waiting to push a shovel into the ground. Los Angeles can ask Ed Roski to dig their own hole, if they an afford it. San Diego cannot.

Right now (as has been the case for a number of years), the only thing L.A. or the City of Industry is good for is leverage that existing NFL teams can use against those team's current cities in negotiations for multi-million dollar remodels or complete rebuilds of their current facilities. Spanos will not move to the L.A. area as long as the people who would control those stadium locations (AEG and Roski) want a piece of the team. Spanos is not willing to part with any of it. It is time for the city and the Chargers to produce the stadium plan--not the one that shows a drawing of a stadium that looks a great deal like Qwest Field in Seattle--but a real plan including financing; specifically who is paying for what and how much exactly. Then, it needs to go on the ballot. If it would be such a great deal for the city, the Chargers can make a pitch with the REAL numbers that would be needed to build it. I, for one, don't think it will work, as the city will be on the hook for the majority of the cost. As far as the convention center expansion goes, as David said above, not interested.

aardvark: I would hope the next mayor dismisses any subsidized Chargers stadium out of hand.

There is no need to put it on the ballot. The City can't afford it. There are too many essential matters, such as infrastructure, that have to be addressed with San Diego's limited funds. Best, Don Bauder

Don: I am quite convinced the Chargers realize that as well, as the club is in no hurry to put this before the voters. They have only had roughly 10 years to do that, and it still hasn't happened. What is in San Diego's favor right now is that there really is no place for the Chargers to move to. Could it be that a new stadium is really NOT in the best interests of San Diego?

aardvark: Of course a new stadium is not in the best interests of San Diego. It may not even be in the best interests of the Chargers. They are making a pile of money at Qualcomm. Best, Don Bauder

David Dodd: The Chargers aren't offering to put up anything close to 50%. And then when you realize that naming and ad rights are really not contributions, you see that they aren't willing to put up much at all.

They claim that the NFL will put up money. But the National Football League LOANS money for stadiums. Loans have to be paid back. Best, Don Bauder

So far in the three card monte' game of stadium proposals, the Spanos family always ends up with title to the current Stadium's land at low ball prices. The MIssion Valley property is a better location for a stadium. THAT'S WHY WE MOVED OUR STADIUM LOCATION IN THE SIXTIES FROM DOWNTOWN TO MISSION VALLEY.

The sale of the Stadium land is included in every proposal, but they don't mention the plume of toxic chemicals that would have to be cleaned up under the Mission Valley site. The new stadium would be completed before work begins on that clean up, the exact cost is unknown.

Psycholizard: They not only do not mention the plume under Qualcomm Stadium. They do not mention the lack of a market for more development in Mission Valley...or anywhere in the county, for that matter. Best, Don Bauder

Mission Valley is already a poorly planned mess. Parking is a hassle along with the traffic. And all those cookie cutter apartment and condominium complexes packed in like sardines.

There is a huge development going in along Friars Rd between Mission Center Rd and the 805. Every day I wonder how in the heck they expect to move all the new traffic that will create to get in and out of the Valley. The south end near I-8 is massively congested every day. It's only going to get worse. Mission Valley gridlock critical mass is the new reality.

McLovin: You know San Diego. It only worries how to get the traffic in and out of a congested area after the pileups get intolerable. Best, Don Baude

enzo: I worked in Mission Valley for 30 years. It was a mess then and some people are determined to make it even messier. Best, Don Bauder

Logic doesn't enter into it. Need doesn't matter. Priorities don't matter. It's all about money---More, more, MORE!

Twister: Especially when it's taxpayers' money. You know the key: OPM, or Other People's Money. Best, Don Bauder

when was it their bluff to move to los angeles was called?

Murphyjunk: I think the Chargers still have that scare tactic in their bag of tricks. Best, Don Bauder

Strange that the City of Angels can endure without a pro football team. They lost two within a matter of months, and strangely, I don't remember any economic disaster.

Psycholizard: The idea that a pro sports team is an economic stimulus has been proven a myth over and over. Best, Don Bauder

In my taxi driving days, the positive effect of visiting teams was evident. In cold winter months fans would follow the teams to a vacation. The college bowl games were best, occurring during the holidays, and were special events. I never heard a fan complain about the stadium though.

The open stadium advertises our weather nationwide during the winter months. The proposed closed stadium would do the opposite, imply we would rather be indoors during our glorious winter weather.

Psycholizard: You are absolutely right: with so much needing repair, why fix or replace something that isn't broken?

Problem is, there are many things wrong with Qualcomm, and the main reason for that falls squarely on the city for not maintaining it properly. The place is literally falling apart--the city has backed themselves into a corner on this. Which creates the next problem, in that Qualcomm needs to be refurbished or completely rebuilt, but I (along with many others in the city) don't want hundreds of millions of tax dollars used to do this. This is why I feel the Chargers proposal (whatever it actually is) will never go on the ballot, as it will not pass.

Psycholizard: The idea of a closed stadium in a Mediterranean climate is lunacy. The idea that the domed stadium will also serve as a convention center expansion is almost as crazy. Best, Don Bauder

Don: I couldn't agree more. I moved here, and many visit here, because you can be outside twelve months a year. Inside a dome, you could be anywhere.

I haven't been to Qualcomm in years, but it's a concrete structure, and should be basically permanent. I've read that they're neglecting cosmetics on purpose.

We should consider the added cost of maintaining the wacky roofed stadium proposed.. Maintaining an elaborate steel structure near the water is inherently more difficult than the concrete stadium we have. If you ignore maintenance it will rust away.

If we can't keep our present assets in repair, we shouldn't build more.

Psycholizard: It should be basically permanent, but it is falling apart. I have a friend who works for the concessionaire (Centerplate), and she sees things that any regular fan would not see, and it is not pretty. But even casual fans can see exposed rebar, chunks of concrete missing, serious corrosion on the field level seating risers, and don't ever go there if it's raining. The place does not drain, and with all of the other plumbing issues in the place, you have assume that some of that water dripping on you during or after a storm isn't just normal runoff. I could go on, but I think you get the picture, and it doesn't look good.

aardvark: So is a new stadium more important than roads, streets, bridges, parks, water availability, keeping libraries open? Best, Don Bauder

Don: That is the dilemma the city has created for itself. The city has treated Qualcomm as they have treated every other part of the city (except downtown). A little preventive maintenance at the Q would have been nice, just like on all of the other things that you mentioned. Most of this city is slowly crumbling, including Qualcomm Stadium. And to answer your question, I do not think a new stadium is more important.

Psycholizard: Concrete stadiums can last a century...with regular upgrades, of course. Look at the University of Michigan and University of Wisconsin football stadiums. Best, Don Bauder

Don: Correct, but I will bet Michigan and Wisconsin didn't just add seats to existing crumbling infrastructure like San Diego did at Qualcomm. They did it right--we just added seats, and then guaranteed the Chargers that they would be bought. Ugh.

If an engineering survey would state that Qualcomm was unrepairable, I suspect the powers aiming the wrecking ball would commission that survey. Neglect of City property is a real scandal, and another reason not to waste money on new structures we couldn't keep in repair. The cost of maintaining the proposed whatever you call it, Stadiumcon, should be added to the cost. Along with the energy waste inherent in an enclosed stadium.

The idea is just so stupid for the fans. I can't remember going to a football game here and complaining about the weather. For the scammers, the idea might be a bit too smart. Perhaps a cheaper proposal might be easier to sell. But the cheapest and best answer is fixing what we have.

Please see our Solution to pay for a NFL Stadium and CONTIGUOUS Convention Center Expansion on the Waterfront. If it is found legal, the same up to 3% Special Hotel Tax could be used for construction because the site is Contiguous. The better solution would be to put the issue before a public vote and the same final Mayoral election in Spring 2014.

http://www.tinyurl.com/20120606a

The Port and City refused to analyze requested alternative projects in the Draft EIR, including our contiguous waterfront site and the Chargers alternative in East Village and Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal.

Sure love to see an answer to my question on cost, LPH.

I wonder how many conventions use Petco or Qualcomm now? Seems to me the proposed site would be no closer than Petco, and Petco isn't overbooked.

Many events are scheduled in the Stadium Parking Lot now, including tailgating before every football game. Should the current Stadium be replaced by the proposed toxic waste cleanup pit and eventual over development, our local tradition of tailgating would likely disappear.

On the positive side, children from bible thumping parts of the country, visiting for bowl games, could see their first prostitute and coke dealer, fair warning not to run away from home and crash on the beach here.

Laplayaheritage: Just for argument's sake, what is the total cost of your proposal?

Log in to comment

Skip Ad

SD Reader Newsletters

Join our newsletter list and enter to win $25 at Broken Yolk Cafe!

Each subscription means another chance to win!

Close