Chargers’ PR is a grating insult

Team always wanted to stay. Huh?

Who wants to have a relationship with a partner who is insulting?
  • Who wants to have a relationship with a partner who is insulting?

Last month, a Union-Tribune sports columnist lamented that San Diego had been “verbally abused, manipulated, ignored, given the silent treatment, cheated on” by the Chargers football team as it plotted to escape to richer Los Angeles environs. Almost a year earlier, the newspaper’s editorial page had denounced the anti–San Diego statements of Mark Fabiani, the Chargers’ spokesman and strategist.

Mark Fabiani

Mark Fabiani

Two things are wrong with the U-T’s caterwauling. First, Fabiani has sometimes been right — for example, when he said that the mayoral task force’s Mission Valley stadium scheme was cockamamie. It was.

Second, the U-T apparently does not understand that the Chargers’ manipulation and dishonesty was a Machiavellian ploy to ruffle San Diegans’ feathers so the National Football League would conclude that the city really did not want the team. “Fabiani deliberately alienated San Diego,” says Steve Erie, professor of political science at the University of California San Diego. “Unfortunately, it backfired” because the team’s plans for a stadium in the Los Angeles area (Carson) were shot down by a 30-2 vote of team owners. Now the Chargers have returned, begging for a subsidized stadium.

Bey-Ling Sha

Bey-Ling Sha

That’s a seemingly insuperable public relations problem. “Who wants to have a long-term relationship with a partner who is rudely insulting, unfairly critical, constantly negative, and frequently flirting with other partners?” asks Bey-Ling Sha, professor of public relations and director of San Diego State’s School of Journalism & Media Studies. “No one. Or maybe people who need relationship counseling.”

Bad as it was, the abuse the Chargers heaped on San Diego as it maneuvered for Los Angeles paled by comparison with the abuse the team is spewing now. Upon the Chargers’ return, team strategists came up with a public relations plan that is intellectually insulting to San Diegans.

Dean Nelson

Dean Nelson

First, Chargers chairman Dean Spanos claims that, all along, the team preferred to stay in San Diego. Huh? The team’s courting of L.A. was a major local news item for a year. “Dean Spanos in particular has a credibility problem,” says Dean Nelson, director of the journalism program at Point Loma Nazarene University. “To say that the team preferred to stay in San Diego all along is like a husband having a long-term affair, then having his mistress tell him to take a hike, then [coming] back to his wife of many years and [saying], ‘I’ve only loved you all along.’ Spanos and company are insulting San Diegans with their current rhetoric.”

Glen Broom

Glen Broom

Glen Broom, emeritus professor of public relations at San Diego State, addresses his critique to the Chargers: “Your actions speak so loudly that I cannot hear what you are saying.” Deeply committed Chargers fans may believe Spanos’s whopper, but most citizens will find it “not credible at all,” particularly when the team would have increased its value by more than $1 billion by moving. Spanos claims he has sacrificed that windfall because the family now realizes how much it loves San Diego.

Art Madrid

Art Madrid

Harrumphs Art Madrid, who was mayor of La Mesa for 24 years and has been a Chargers season-ticket holder for 31 seasons, “Transparency was lacking when their initial desire to move to L.A. failed, and now they are trying to embrace a jilted lover in San Diego.”

After tossing out this falsehood, Spanos committed a second staggering public-relations gaffe. In interviews, he will only talk about the future, not the past — believing, apparently, that he has shielded himself from any questions about the team’s wide-open quest to get to L.A. “That’s pretty clever,” says Broom. “He is trying to create a whole new scenario.”

Alan Miller

Alan Miller

“The Nazis should have used that strategy in the Nuremberg trials,” hoots Alan Miller, former U-T editorial writer, now a college-journalism instructor and commentator for the Sacramento Bee.

“I can’t imagine a worse set of public-relations blunders,” says Erie. “They burned their bridges in San Diego and then had to swim back and say they wanted to stay in San Diego from day one. Anybody believing that is a candidate for buying the Brooklyn Bridge.” Refusing to discuss past actions worsens the team’s lack of credibility, says Erie.

Says Nelson, “When Dean Spanos says he wants to talk only about the future and not the past, can you blame him? If he is held accountable for his past remarks and actions, and those of Mark Fabiani, then he is going to have to explain why he was so willing to move. He wants to control the narrative, which I understand. If the news media do their job, they won’t let him control the narrative. The media are acting on behalf of the public, and they should demand accountability.”

In my opinion, local mainstream media will not act on behalf of the public. As past experience has shown, mainstream media lead cheers for the team and proselytize for a stadium subsidy. Sports advertising is quite profitable for these media. The U-T columnist who complained that the city was being “verbally abused” and “manipulated” urged the city to forgive and forget and embrace the prodigal son returning in rags.

Still, if there is a vote, it doesn’t look now like it will go for the Chargers. “Only the super-hyper diehard fans whose lives revolve around ten games” will support the team, says Madrid.

So will “gullible people, low-information voters,” adds Erie. “Short of divine intervention, I can’t see how they can get a majority vote. They have alienated the fan base. Their poor performance on the field is reason enough; then they poured gasoline on the fire with their press relations.”

Says Nelson, “I was at the San Diego Gulls hockey game when the announcer tried to get the fans to chant ‘Save Our Bolts!’ Within seconds the fans in the arena were booing so loudly that the announcer was drowned out and they took the graphic off the scoreboard. I’ve never seen anything like this sustained hostility.”

Since 2002, the Chargers’ spokesman and strategist has been Fabiani, the “Master of Disaster” who is lauded for concocting public-relations miracles for the likes of cheating, lying bicyclist Lance Armstrong and casino magnate Sheldon Adelson. I emailed Fabiani and asked if he advised Spanos to claim he always wanted to stay in San Diego and to talk only about the future, not the past. I asked whether he, Fabiani, deliberately antagonized San Diegans so the 31 team owners would conclude that the team was unwanted in its current home city.

Adhering to the Chargers’ public relations strategy, Fabiani did not answer my email.

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Mike Murphy: I certainly hope you are right. If San Diego falls for Spanos's lies, and also falls for the Briggs/Moores/Frye recondite initiative, the city will be the laughingstock of the nation. Best, Don Bauder

Frye has any credibility left these days ?

Murphyjunk: Donna Frye used to be the one local politician who proselytized for full disclosure of government activity, less secrecy, and expenditures for important matters, not corporate welfare. What happened? Best, Don Bauder

"What happened?"

another has been seeking attention no matter how she gets it ?

Murphyjunk: I hope it is not avarice. The Briggs team has hooked up with some people (Moores, Spanos) who throw money around. Best, Don Bauder

Absolutely. Spanos has always wanted to stay in San Diego. Right after he discovered how much it would cost him to "join" with Kroenke in Inglewood.

Spanos can't sell this team fast enough. Ironically, it could be the best thing for him, and his family for that matter, as he would make boatloads of money by selling the franchise.

aardvark: Yes, I have been writing for some time now that the best move for Spanos would be to sell the team. Yes, he could get a bundle for it. Forbes says the team is worth $1.525 billion. It would probably sell for a good deal more than that.

There are multiple complications, however. Dean Spanos does not own the team himself. Ownership is split among family members -- one of whom, Alex, is non compos mentis with Alzheimer's. Alex's wife may not want to sell while Alex (in his 90s) is alive. There would have to be agreement among several siblings and the matriarch. Dean has already put two of his sons in top management positions. We don't know whether the family has set aside adequate funds for estate taxes that would go into effect after Alex and his wife die.

Since 1995, the Spanos family has hoped to get to LA, but tried to keep San Diego in its back pocket. The family couldn't reach a deal with Anschutz while AEP was intending to build a stadium in downtown LA. That fell apart. Then Dean rolled the dice and openly courted LA as NFL owners decided what teams might be able to relocate there. Dean Spanos was brutally rebuked by the owners. The team can't get to LA under current ownership (there is a faint chance it could rent in LA) and it has burned its bridges in San Diego, apparently. If the team is to stay in San Diego, its best hope is going back to Qualcomm, I believe. It will have a difficult time rebuilding goodwill and fan support.Best, Don Bauder

Don: I believe the reason that the LA deal with AEG (it's AEG, by the way) failed was that AEG wanted a piece of ownership. Spanos wasn't willing to do that. So the saga that is Spanos and his Chargers continues.

aardvark: Oops! It is AEG -- Anschutz Entertainment Group. My typo and I didn't catch it upon re-reading. I believe you are right that the Chargers failed to reach agreement with AEG because Anschutz wanted too large a piece of the ownership. Best, Don Bauder

Think they are trying to figure this out.

Love the sport, hate the ownership. Need to have more European sports like structure... if your city or an owner wants a team you can start at the bottom and work your way up.

Just Someone: You love the sport and hate the ownership. As more tragedies unfold with retired players, the sport is likely to lose at least some fan support, although the NFL is still riding high. Best, Don Bauder

Suppose...... Spanos did not want chaotic transition to LA, a lame duck season here, so he smiled, begged forgiveness, and conjured up an impossible stadium proposal, to stay here one more year, lose the vote, then accept the relocation. Rams enjoy the first year relocation on their own, then the Chargers join them, until the LA Stadium is completed. Some fans will continue to financially support this year and dream, and the stadium won't be empty. Then the Chargers transition to LA over two years not one.

SeanS: Yes, some very smart people believe the theory that you sketch. The core of that theory is that the downtown stadium proposal is so preposterous that the Chargers just want a couple of years in San Diego while waiting to go to LA.

That theory presupposes that the Chargers can afford to get to LA. I doubt that very strongly. But I could be wrong and you and your compatriots could be right. Best, Don Bauder

Don: And for the time being, he continues to play here, while paying no rent for the stadium or practice facility, as opposed to the millions he would have to shell out for renting facilities in the LA area to play and practice in.

I am curious to see what numbers Forbes comes up with as to what level of profit the Chargers achieved this past season. It was $64.8 mil in the last Forbes listing--I suspect it will be higher for the most recent season.

aardvark: You are right. The Chargers have an astoundingly good deal with San Diego, thanks greatly to former Mayor Murphy, who gave away the store. Playing and practicing in LA would cost much more, as you point out. Yes, the next Forbes report will be interesting. Best, Don Bauder

Michael Mulrenan: I agree with you that if San Diegans fall for this Chargers scam -- backed, as it is, with bald-faced lies -- San Diego will be a national laughingstock. Best, Don Bauder

Pete Sciabarra: Yes, that is another slap in the face to heretofore supporters of this team. Who is making these decisions for the Chargers? Public relations textbooks may use this Chargers scam as an example of pitiful ineptitude. Best, Don Bauder

Thomas Marsiglia: Good point. If Spanos will only talk about the future, then he can't continue to claim that the team tried to get a stadium built in San Diego and was rebuffed.

Actually, that claim by the Chargers is also false. The team first said that a stadium could be built in Mission Valley, along with condos, apartments, retail establishments, and the like. But the Chargers forgot to account for parking! Hmmm. Then came a bunch of silly attempts to get a stadium in Oceanside, Chula Vista, etc. I can't remember that a formal proposal for any of these sites was ever put forward, so the claim that the team was turned down appears also to be false. Best, Don Bauder

I've heard reports (1360 AM) that days before the downtown plan was announced, the Chargers asked for another $200M in taxpayer welfare for the Mission Valley plan ($350M -> $550M). Apparently Faulconer said no to the $550M number.

ImJustABill: I have heard something similar to that. Faulconer should reveal whether that obscene welfare request was made. He is mayor and has an obligation to keep the public informed, especially when a company that only a few weeks ago was trying to get out of town comes back and asks for a huge bailout. Best, Don Bauder

Editorials are editorials. But dear lord what a piece of unadulterated garbage. Nazi's and the Nuremberg trials?

With the Contiguous Expansion plan being DOA - the Citizens Initiative is looking pretty good to this uneducated voter.

An expansion of the convention center. A Stadium for San Diego. A research park and campus expansion for higher education in Mission Valley. Being paid for by a raise in a tourist tax.

Reads like a good deal to me.

DavidU: The TOT tax definitely could be raised. San Diego's rate is still lower than those of important competitive West Coast cities.

But it would be folly to expand the convention center -- a contiguous expansion or otherwise. Convention centers are massively overbuilt; that's why centers are slashing prices 50 percent or more. I don't know that San Diego needs a new football stadium, but if most fans think it does, it should be financed 100 percent with private money -- not a nickel of public money.

A research park and campus expansion in Mission Valley would be very nice, unless Qualcomm will remain there as home of the Chargers and SDSU. That is quite possible.

Money raised through higher taxes could go to better places: police, fire, and infrastructure in particular. Best, Don Bauder

  1. Absolutely San Diego needs a new stadium. This isn't up for debate with anyone. Qualcomm is falling apart. The JumboTron doesn't even make parts anymore. There is over 100 million in differed maintenance and it costs the City 13-15 million a year to operate.

  2. San Diego benefits from a Civic Asset like the Chargers, NFL and a Stadium. This years Super Bowl demanded 5 million dollars for a 30 second commercial spot. Do you not assign any value to a 24/7 commercial for San Diego during a Super Bowl week? Just one example. We could keep going with a Sunday Night football game grabbing a over a 20 National TV rating. Or NFL games being the most popular rated TV shows every year. Last year NFL games accounted for 28 of the top 32 shows on TV.

San Diego believes itself to a be world class city. Being home to a NFL team is every bit part of being World Class. Offering its citizens entertainment options a World Class City should deliver. The Chargers are more than likely going to propose building the stadium 100% private along with being responsible for maintenance and operation.

Losing the NFL AND ComicCon would be absolutely disgusting.

DavidU2: To address your points: 1. Qualcomm is falling apart? It is only 49 years old. University stadiums can, and do, last twice as long. There is maintenance, of course, and there are expansions, but the stadiums are kept up. Qualcomm had a remake only 20 years ago.

Professional teams generally demand a new stadium in 25 or 30 years. This is only because the crooked owners know the public will cave in after the team threatens to leave. The people that say there is $100 million in deferred maintenance are sports journalists, rabid fans, team employees and others beating the drums for a new stadium financed by taxpayers.

  1. Two teams, the Raiders and Rams, left Los Angeles in the mid-1990s. There was no team there for more than 20 years and the reputation of Los Angeles did not suffer a bit. It remained a world class city. Now that the truth about football injuries is coming out, cities with NFL teams are in a different kind of spotlight -- one that doesn't shine so brightly.

If the Chargers propose a stadium that will be 100 percent privately financed, the city should rejoice. No one should object unless there are hidden costs absorbed by taxpayers.

Comic-Con has stated it prefers a contiguous expansion. Everyone who studies convention centers says that attendees do not want to walk to another building. The proposed one in San Diego will be several blocks away. That means there will be no chance to have people go to a convention in the primary center and walk to a second convadium. The only things that will be held in a convadium will be small events not related to the main center. In any case, convention center experts say combined stadiums/centers don't work well.

Convention centers are staggeringly overbuilt -- the main reason fees are being cut by 50 percent or more. Actually, no city should expand its center until supply/demand gets back into balance, and that will be a long time from now.

Other West Coast centers are expanding -- unwisely. Comic-Con will probably, eventually, move to one of those centers. Expanding San Diego's center just to please Comic-Con is absolute folly.

San Diego can't be a world class city until it takes care of its massive infrastructure deficit. Best, Don Bauder

Don: While I agree with almost all you just said, the "remake" of the Q only consisted of adding some seats and boxes to the existing stadium--nothing more.

aardvark: In a job completed in 1997, the stadium was almost completely enclosed, and 10,500 seats, 34 suites, 4 club lounges, and two video boards were added.

As a result of the makeover, the Padres were, in essence, almost guaranteed a subsidized ballpark. The Chargers promised to stay until 2020, but that pledge was violated within a handful of years when the Chargers began demanding a new stadium. In 2002, the team hired Mark Fabiani, who publicly said that he would work to get a new stadium in San Diego, and if he couldn't get that, he would try to get one in LA.

However, the team was always aiming for LA after the stadium rehab in the mid-1990s. Best, Don Bauder

Don: Sorry, left out the club lounges.

aardvark: And the two video boards. No problem. You always contribute intelligent comments to this blog. Best, Don Bauder

Don: I was always under the impression that only one video board was actually added, unless they replaced the video board that was already in the main scoreboard. No matter--those boards are pretty much useless anyway. Of course, the Chargers could work with the city to remedy that issue and put in new and larger video boards, but that would require the team to actually spend money on the facility. I don't imagine that's going to happen anytime soon.

aardvark: Good point. Another point: with a $5 billion infrastructure deficit, should the city spend money on a football video board? Best, Don Bauder

I am not going to bother arguing this. I am actually embarrassed for you writing an editiorial with such limited knowledge and understanding.

But to clarify my comment on being privately financed. I was only talking the Stadium itself. The convention expansion part of the "Convadium" will be financed through the TOT increase.

When the proposal is presented, the numbers will pencil out in favor of building new. Removing the 15 million + differed maintenance from the General Fund and moving it to TOT. Win/Win/Win.

"The Chargers are more than likely going to propose building the stadium 100% private along with being responsible for maintenance and operation."

That's great news!! Since the stadium will be 100% privately financed, clearly we don't need any tax increase then. Frye, Briggs, etc should just go ahead and cancel their TOT tax increase initiative.

ImJustABill: If there is anything that is certain in this world, it is that a new stadium will NOT -- repeat, NOT -- be built downtown with 100 percent private money. To my knowledge, that hasn't even been discussed, except for the individual who posted it here. Best, Don Bauder

Losing the NFL AND ComicCon would be absolutely wonderful!

Flapper: If the NFL departed, the Chargers would no longer be a drain on the city's budget. (Personally, I do not necessarily favor the Chargers leaving. I would like to see them continue to play at Qualcomm, although I realize that fan support could plunge. I would rather see them leave than play in a taxpayer-subsidized stadium. They are already playing in a subsidized stadium, of course.)

Comic-Con? It sure is fun to read about it. San Diego makes money from it, despite the slashes in fees. Best, Don Bauder

I'm with Don. I don't want to lose either the Chargers or ComicCon. But I think it's wrong for taxpayers to subsidize businesses which already have enormous revenue streams.

ImJustABill: Well stated. Government subsidizing pro sports stadiums is just plain WRONG. Best, Don Bauder

Ponzi: We all make errors. Best, Don Bauder

Flapper: I defer the discussion of differednence to somebody else. Best, Don Bauder

1 San Diego has been turning down a LOT conventions cause there is not enough room at the current location with the space. So your wrong there with your statement Convention centers are massively overbuilt. #2 The TOT is to expand the convention center with Chargers and NFL paying for the stadium, You know damn well fire and police come out of the general fund so that would not be touched nor will it be an issue. I strongly recommend you to do just a little more research before your next article.

tpowell619: I suggest YOU do some homework. 1. Convention centers ARE massively overbuilt, and people within the industry are aware of it. That is why fees are being slashed 50 percent. A book, "Convention Center Follies," by Heywood Sanders goes into detail on how overbuilt centers are.

  1. The notion that the stadium portion of the convadium will be financed by the NFL and Chargers is fraudulent. Building a pro stadium in the U.S. these days costs at least $1 billion. There is no way the NFL and Chargers will put $1 billion in a stadium. The initiative boosters are claiming that the stadium part will be financed by the league and the team, and the convention center part will be financed by TOT taxes. Utter nonsense. The costs of the stadium will be shifted to the convention center on paper. This will be accomplished by the flip of a pencil. It's a case of concealing the subsidy -- an old trick in San Diego.

I hope other San Diegans are not as conned by this scam as you are. Best, Don Bauder

The way the game is played with the general fund is simply robbing Peter to pay Paul. Staff time, including the mayor's is expended on the kinds of things that will help them keep their jobs and influence, the latter of which pays WAY more than their outrageous salaries. Diversions of funding from street maintenance and police, for example, are the reasons why we are short-staffed with cops and the streets have not been maintained according to well-established standards. Dig into this one if you want to see how this works. While "they" claim that the streets will be "repaired" (replaced) this election year (follow this pattern) with "only" general fund money, it is a "temporary truth." Wait until after the election to be asked to vote for bond funds to bail out the City "Fathers" for years of incompetent management.

The devil is truly in the details.

Flapper: Yours is an accurate description of how important matters (such as infrastructure, police, fire, libraries) get shoved aside while the city spends tax money on stadiums for billionaires.

Remember that the ballpark was going to pay for itself? Ever since it was opened, it has drained the city of around $12 million a year. Best, Don Bauder

Carl Starrett: This initiative should be challenged in court. I had expected attorneys to come out earlier than this. If you get a client, a lawsuit would be welcomed. Best, Don Bauder

Who has standing? Even if "they" do, what would be the basis for the suit?

Flapper: There could be several bases of a suit. First, the claim that this initiative would require only a majority vote is laughable. The money will be spent on specified items. That requires a two-thirds vote. Second, the claim that the stadium portion will be financed by the NFL and the Chargers is fraudulent. Best, Don Bauder

Sol Prod: A new stadium won't make San Diego a great tourist destination. San Diego is already a great tourist destination. Two bowl games can help tourism. Citizens of some cities, such as Pittsburgh and Boston, have flooded to San Diego for pro games, but that was only because San Diegans weren't snapping up the seats.

This is one of the reasons that the talk about personal seat licenses for a new stadium is utter nonsense. Look how many games have been threatened with a blackout until some company bought enough tickets to permit televising.

Unfortunately, San Diego is not a good football city. There is not enough disposable income for personal seat licenses or luxury suites. There is too much good weather that competes with going to a football game. Best, Don Bauder

Don: I think San Diego is a good football city--at least as far as regular fans are concerned. Unfortunately, the teams and league are looking for that extra income in PSL's and suite sales, which you correctly point out is a difficult sale here in SD.

aardvark: San Diego is the 17th largest metro market in population, but the 28th largest media market. It will lose some of its market puissance when one or two teams occupy LA. San Diego's median household income is above the nation's, but the cost-of-living is quite high, erasing any personal income edge.

San Diego is not filled with billionaires, as many metro areas are. The mix of businesses is not favorable for filling luxury suites. Personal seat licenses are out of the question. The team has trouble filling the seats now. One of the fraudulent parts of the Mission Valley proposal is its reliance on personal seat licenses. Best, Don Bauder

David Crossley: You took the words right out of my mouth. Best, Don Bauder

Flapper: Go Telly it on the Mountain. Best, Don Bauder

Thy rod and thy staff shall comfort . . .

Flapper: For Donald Trump, it's "my rod and my staff." Best, Don Bauder

Do you mean that he goes mano a mano with himself in front of his magic mirror? But are his manos, mano enough?

Flapper: I neither said nor implied that. Best, Don Bauder

". . . gullible people, low-information voters."

Sir, you are describing America's Finest City! We resemble that remark!

Claiming to be "World-Class" is, at root, CRASS.

Flapper: It depends on how you define "world-class." I think of the great, world-class cities as Vienna, Rome, Florence, Istanbul, Milan, Prague, London, etc. -- cities loaded with history, art, etc. Everything depends on the definition. Best, Don Bauder

I would not insult those cities by referring to them as "World-Class." The very expression reeks of pretension.

Flapper: The word may reek of pretension, but it's just right to describe, in particular, Vienna, which has the greatest orchestra in the world, the Philharmonic and Staatsoper, and a magnificent art museum. Best, Don Bauder

Surely, with your extensive vocabulary, you can come up with a better moniker than "World-Class!" Ugh! Disparaging to Vienna, a real treasure of a city. Pretension and "class" are mutually exclusive.

Flapper: You come up with a better word. I like "world-class." Best, Don Bauder

Flapper: The interviewee who made that observation, Steve Erie, is a political scientist at UCSD who specializes in the politics and demographics of urban areas. He is the best source in San Diego on such topics.

When you "resemble" that remark, are you saying Steve is a dissembler? Best, Don Bauder

How did you come to that conclusion?

Flapper: I have been covering San Diego for 43 years. I think I am entitled to make such judgments, but you and other well-informed critics are entitled to call me a know-nothing. Best, Don Bauder

Ok, I'll spell it out. I did not say, nor did I intend to imply, that the professor was dissembling, and I can't figure out how you got that impression.

Flapper: Because resemble and dissemble rhyme. I guess that was a bad one. Best, Don Bauder

Oh--oh, NOW I get it! I'll wear the dunce cap for a while.

Flapper: No, I am wearing it for telling a pointless joke. Best, Don Bauder

As a public relations graduate (freelancing right now), Southern California professors would be wise to use the Chargers as a case study for their classes. Apparently, it's obvious that the organization had no crisis communication plan in place in the event the move to L.A. fell through. Now, based on what I've been reading, I'm hearing that some of the upper management aren't even considering small gestures (like making the powder blues permanent) to appease the fans. Playing the "impending doom" card (new stadium or we'll leave) won't sway the voters.

I think the current move that Spanos is an empty gesture to tell the league that "hey, we made the effort but the voters denied our request." If what I read is true, a initiative that needs a two-thirds approval is going to be a tough sell especially if the team has another losing season.

San Diego maybe a pretty good football town, however, I just don't think enough people are Chargers fans or they may be Chargers fans they just can't stand ownership.

You must not be new to San Diego or live in cave if you don't think San Diegan's are Chargers fans. Check the local TV ratings for Chargers games. There is no local event that comes close to delivering the community.

Sure--and look at all of the empty club seats for every Chargers home game. There are plenty of regular Charger fans here, but not many of the fans the team and league are looking for--the big money spending fans in the club and suite areas.

aardvark: I am glad you raised that point. NFL games have turned into upscale activities. The league's emphasis is on selling luxury suites, personal seat licenses and the like.

San Diego does not have the disposable personal income, adjusted for cost-of-living that the NFL now covets as a primary market. Best, Don Bauder

DavidU2: As noted above, I have covered San Diego as a journalist for 43 years. I think heavy TV coverage is true in just about all NFL cities. You have to look also at attendance. Through the decades, it has not been impressive in comparison with cities in colder climes whose citizens have nothing else to do. Best, Don Bauder

There are a great number of Chargers fans in San Diego and a lot of local fan support - far more support than they will get in LA.

ImJustABill: It depends what you mean by "great number" of Chargers fans. I would only say there is a "great number" of Chargers fans if the stadium were jam-packed with local fans for every home game, like Denver, Green Bay, etc. It's not true in San Diego -- and I consider it a feather in San Diegans' hat. Best, Don Bauder

It is a well-known fact that 99.9 percent of Nebraskans were conceived under a blanket at Cornhusker games. Why do you think they call them "Cornhuskers?"

Flapper: Yes, that 99.9 percent figure is accurate, and it gets cold late in Nebraska's season. Best, Don Bauder

Just give up. These people don't know what a city rallying around a team is. It's called Civic pride. Nor the many things the Spanos does in SD. Blood Bank, Building High school field and gyms. Visits to Children Hospital by the players and schlorship they give out to disadvantage youth. Some people can't think big for their city. They have a small mind of thinking. Its sad

tpowell619: You obviously have not studied the uses of charitable giving in cities, particularly San Diego. Billionaire or multi-millionaire nabobs give money to nonprofits. The local media play up the gifts. Citizens think the supposedly generous nabob cares about the community. Eventually, the nabob gets what he or she wants from the government. The charitable giving was only a down payment on corporate welfare. This has been going on for centuries, all over the world, but it's particularly rancid in San Diego. Best, Don Bauder

BoltFan_92563: I think those who graduated in public relations, or studied it intensely, would agree with you. The Chargers' PR strategy has been abysmal. The strategy to get to LA was not backed up with a Plan B or C.

However, some think the Chargers' scheme to continue insulting San Diego is a Machiavellian ploy to play in San Diego for a couple of years, lose the vote for a new stadium, and depart with the NFL's blessing.

Getting a two-thirds vote for almost anything regarding taxes is extremely difficult.

You are right: there is a paucity of Chargers fans, given how large (3.3 million) the market is. That's been true for decades. There is too much competing activity (going to the beach, playing golf, hiking, etc.). Best, Don Bauder

Never underestimate the stupidity of Charger fans and never underestimate the stupidity of the San Diego voter. At least Spanos and Company believe that they will prevail as they also own and operate the politicians.

AlexClarke: I concede that you have a good point there. Best, Don Bauder

I have a hard time making sense of the Chargers' recent actions.

If they have a good offer from Kroenke in LA, then why wouldn't they just move to LA?

If they don't have a good offer from Kroenke in LA, then wouldn't they want to make a reasonable compromise (well at least reasonable with those who agree to some public support of NFL teams) with the city / county of SD? The Chargers might have a reasonable shot at getting a 50% election to pass (which Falconer / Roberts MV proposal would require). But getting a 66.67% election to pass (which the Briggs / Frye proposal likely requires) seems like a real long shot.

It seems to me the Chargers are just wasting a lot of people's time and resources right now (including their own). They don't seem serious about wanting to move to LA with Kroenke but they don't seem serious about wanting to stay in SD either.

Are the Chargers crazy, stupid, or do they know something we don't know?

Are they stalling for time in the hope that a buyer may emerge? Or do they still need financing and they are stalling until they can get some agreement for that? Are they stalling in order to lessen the Raiders' chances of moving to Southern Cal?

Something doesn't make sense to me.

ImJustABill: The Chargers' splay-foot strategizing makes no sense, unless the team wants to play here for two years and then depart, claiming it has no support in San Diego. This presupposes that the team has a place to go.

Yes, in my judgment, the Chargers made a stupid mistake when they claimed they have an option to go to LA. If they had an option they can afford, they would be making plans to bolt now, particularly since the value of the team would rise by more than $1 billion. (There is a faint chance the Chargers could rent from Kroenke, but I doubt that is possible unless the team is sold to somebody with big bucks.)

It's bad PR: the people who think about it sincerely doubt the team has a doable option to go to LA. To make the statement, the team and league were assuming San Diegans are stupid.

I do suspect the Chargers are stalling for time as they search for a deep-pocketed buyer. Best, Don Bauder

tpowell619: It's absurd NOT to suspect the Chargers may be trying to sell the team. Best, Don Bauder

"I do suspect the Chargers are stalling for time as they search for a deep-pocketed buyer. Best, Don Bauder"

NOW you got it!

It's The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight.

Flapper: In regard to PR, it's The Gang That WON'T Shoot Straight. Best, Don Bauder

Colleen Kelly Burks: The winners of these stadium scams are the billionaire owners and millionaire players. Best, Don Bauder

In Rivers We Trust: Generally speaking, pro football fans do little traveling to root for their teams at away games. However, out-of-town fans have come to San Diego in the last coupler of years , but mainly because the San Diegans aren't filling the seats. There are tickets available.Best, Don Bauder

Mandy Barre: Yes, there are so many things to do in San Diego all year. That hurts football attendance. Incidentally, the same is true of Los Angeles. Actually, Kroenke is taking a risk pouring so much money in his Inglewood stadium. I am sure he keeps in mind that two NFL teams, the Raiders and Rams, couldn't get big crowds, as well as public money for stadium subsidies. They both departed in the mid-1990s. Best, Don Bauder

Michael Nova: Yes, we brainless boobs believe that a fire-prone region should have a full staff of firefighters. We brainless boobs believe there should be adequate cops on the streets. We brainless boobs want well-stocked and well-manned libraries. We brainless boobs realize the seriousness of the homeless situation, and the threat it poses to San Diego because of the mild weather. And most of all, we brainless boobs do care about infrastructure. We want streets, sewers, storm drains, roads in good shape. We brainless boobs want to be sure that future generations will have water in case of an extended drought.

We brainless boobs obviously have different agendas than do you people who believe sports stadiums owned by billionaires should be subsidized by local taxpayers. Best, Don Bauder

Don: That's an awful lot of brainless boobs.

aardvark: Remember, I prefaced each "brainless boobs" with the word "we." Best, Don Bauder

Another genius idea by me: Why don't the Chargers play in Petco Park? Every game would be a sellout - even though the majority of fans are usually from the opposing team. Plus...Spanos gets that bayside view. NICE! Who cares if the dimensions of a football field and baseball field are slightly different. Adapt and overcome!

Football can't be played at Petco Park, thanks to the MOU between the city and Padres. Besides, at this point, it is doubtful a football field would even fit in Petco, not to mention the fact it doesn't seat nearly enough to allow NFL games to be played there

aardvark: Yes, there will be no football at Petco. Best, Don Bauder

Rocket_J_Squirrel: The city and the Padres would never allow football at Petco. I agree that having football, baseball, and soccer teams sharing a stadium makes sense. But it's considered de classe. Qualcomm was brilliantly designed for both football and baseball. The only city in which a stadium is shared by football and baseball teams is Oakland. Best, Don Bauder

Martin Frederickson: Yes, downtown is a bad location, but John Moores, whose JMI controls nearby land -- thus he would get infrastructure free -- is calling the shots, and passing out money. Best, Don Bauder

David Crossley: Yes, we need hard numbers on how a sports stadium attracts out-of-towners who stay a week and spend big bucks. I don't believe it. We know Los Angeles citizens come down on weekends to watch the Dodgers. Last season, Pittsburgh and New England fans came to San Diego for their teams' away games. Oakland football fans come to San Diego and fill up the jails. But we need some numbers. Best, Don Bauder

In Rivers We Trust: Thirty years of talking to fans is anecdotal evidence. David Crossley wants analytical evidence. Best, Don Bauder

Martin Frederickson2: The Citizens Initiative crowd is claiming that the stadium part of the convadium will be privately funded and the convention center portion will be supported with TOT taxes.

I hope you see what a fraud that is. Most of the costs can easily be shifted to the convention center portion with the flick of a pencil. The stadium costs, for example, might be the grass, the goal posts, the seats and scoreboard, and everything else will be counted as part of the convention center.

As Steve Erie of UCSD says, "It's the game of hiding the subsidy. It's been played in this town for years."

I thought Lori Saldana was savvy. But today (March 3) she put out a news release saying she favors the initiative, and is happy to see that the stadium portion will be financed with private funds. She has fallen hook, line and sinker for this scam. I am disappointed to learn that she does not understand how such ruses work. Best, Don Bauder

I think Saldana is desperate, since she wasn't going to get the support of the Democrat party--especially now that Harris is planning to run for mayor, and would probably get the backing of the Democrat party. Apparently, he is also for the fallacy that is the Briggs initiative. The initiative will probably drag both Saldana and Harris down to defeat, as the initiative itself (I think) doesn't have a prayer of passing.

aardvark: However, the initiative is well-drafted in several respects, The primary one is that it is long and extremely complicated. What a wonderful way to conceal a scam! That scam is the lie that the stadium part will be funded with private capital and the convention center part will be funded with TOT money. That should be a transparent ruse that voters will immediately see through. However, the initiative has been made so complicated (page after page of state law, e.g.) that people won't read it. They will simply accept the claim -- buttressed, no doubt, by the U-T and all mainstream media -- that the stadium will not be built with tax money. Best, Don Bauder

The Chargers announce their initiative in late March. So your referring to the Briggs plan as the Chargers plan 100% word for word? Dear god

tpowell619: The initiative has become the plan of the Chargers and John Moores, although Briggs and Frye get second mention. Spanos and Moores are the ones with the money, and both have personal economic reasons for wanting this to be approved by voters. In San Diego, money talks. You should learn that. Best, Don Bauder

Just what is it about the Briggs "Initiative" that appeals to the "liberals?"

Is it the art of compromise, or what?

Flapper: The initiative was very cleverly crafted. It hoodwinks all the voters by claiming, falsely, that the stadium part of the convadium will be privately financed. That will be accomplished by shifting costs over to the convention center side, which will be financed with TOT funds. That ploy is an old one in San Diego -- hiding the subsidy.

Then, it appeals to liberals because of the use of Mission Valley for environmental and educational purposes. Also, it is put together so its backers think that it can pass with only a majority of the vote.

John Moores and Dean Spanos jumped aboard and are passing money around. For them, it is just a down payment on future profits. The business community always goes for corporate welfare.

This initiative should be challenged in court on several grounds. That should be done right away. Best, Don Bauder

"There is no local event that comes close to delivering the community." --U2

Now there's an eye-opener. I fear U2 is correct. God help us!

Flapper: Unfortunately, it's one thing U2 has said that is true. The Chargers deliver the community -- the Padres do to a lesser extent. It speaks poorly for San Diego. Best, Don Bauder

Flapper: If U2 is correct, get used to rundown neighborhoods, dangerous streets and roads, inadequate sewers and storm drains, inadequate water should there be a long drought. Best, Don Bauder

Flapper: You no doubt have heard: "Nero fiddled while Rome burned." I would hate to hear, "San Diegans fixated on the Chargers while the county rotted."

Actually, historians now say Nero did NOT fiddle while Rome burned. He was at his home in the exurbs, but hurried back to lead the relief effort as fire swept Rome. Fiddles didn't exist then anyway. However, generally, he was not considered a good leader. Best, Don Bauder

Flapper: It died after the fiddle was invented and Nero went on to a career in music. Best, Don Bauder

All the money that will be spent on the Briggs/Frye/Moores initiative should guarantee that it passes. But the times they are a changin', and money may not buy the election this time around. Just last week the Caruso "citizens' initiative" in Carlsbad failed. Caruso spent $10 million to buy the election, and it didn't work. The people in the city in sufficient numbers saw through the hype, detected the foolishness, and voted no. It was close, but a miss is as good as a mile. About twenty years ago Lego bought its way into Carlsbad by throwing money around the town. It was a rather bitter fight, too, but that time the pro side won.

Well, we can hope, can't we?

Visduh: First, hopefully, a court will demand that the vote will take 2/3rds. Yes, they have the money, but not the truth on their side. In the past, the money almost always won in San Diego. Maybe not this time. Best, Don Bauder

You always mention the role of the U-T in these matters, and how it can swing public opinion. But recently some circulation figures were reported that I referred to as worse than catastrophic declines. Fewer and fewer people read the shrunken rag, and I think many of them have wised up to its biases. So, maybe the paper won't make that much difference.

But where will folks get their news and opinion? I'm afraid that more than ever will just be utterly unaware of such controversies. Only TV will hold any attention. Just where will the local TV outlets stand on such a proposal?

Visduh: Yes, the U-T's paid circulation is dismal. It doesn't have the influence it once had. Best, Don Bauder

Bonnie Russell: Sometimes, San Diego's perfect weather is its worst enemy, because it creates such widespread apathy. The citizenry doesn't notice when its pocket is being picked. Best, Don Bauder

Scott Freeland: Yes, Crossley has not been given his hard numbers. Best, Don Bauder

Mike Kelly: Yes, convention centers give away space as a result of the massive nationwide overbuilding. They take a big loss on a convention because hoteliers win. That is a very low form of corporate welfare. Best, Don Bauder

David Crossley: You are justified in claiming that you are not getting hard numbers. Best, Don Bauder

Don: I'll make it easier for them. They can reply to either of my posting names--Aardvark on this website or David Crossley (the real me) on Facebook. And I do see those numbers aren't forthcoming. Perhaps they don't realistically exist...

aardvark (David Crossley): It definitely appears that no hard numbers exist. Best, Don Bauder

"I thought Lori Saldana was savvy. But today (March 3) she put out a news release saying she favors the initiative, and is happy to see that the stadium portion will be financed with private funds. She has fallen hook, line and sinker for this scam. I am disappointed to learn that she does not understand how such ruses work. Best, Don Bauder"

May be. I hope so.

The one thing I was involved with Saldana on gave me the impression that she was sweet and well-intentioned, but non much of an analyst. Just came for the photo-op and to schmooze, but missed the whole point of how technical superiority translated into substantive public interest improvement. Her "support" quickly evaporated. She didn't go against it, she just went on to other things and didn't follow-through. "Follow-through" is one thing that politicians and their overworked (or lazy?) staff don't "get."

Flapper: Follow-through? Just look at all the things the presidential candidates of both parties are promising they will do. If they follow through on only one-tenth of them, the whole nation will be tipped over, ripped asunder. Best, Don Bauder

What about Saldaña and Frey? Are they being duped and used or are they part of the cabal?

Flapper: That is a very good question. It interests me that Briggs and Frye -- liberals -- were the first to demand Filner's resignation. This set up the establishment corporate welfare mendicants to oust Filner, greatly through the efforts of Goldsmith, a corporate welfare tool. From the day he was elected, the corporate welfare clan was working to get rid of Filner. Briggs and Frye gave them cover.

Now Briggs, Frye, Spanos, and Moores are on the same team, trying to get a stadium for the Chargers. Hmmmm. Best, Don Bauder

Flapper: The planned initiative will be cleverly crafted to please a broad audience (establishment corporate welfarists, environmentalists, educators) and to qualify for only a majority (not 2/3rds) vote. It also attempts to suck in the hotel interests, although that won't be easy, because you will find almost no one knowledgeable in the convention center business who thinks an extension several blocks away will succeed. It won't, partly because convention attendees pick up bags full of literature and goodies, and don't want to lug them several blocks to another building.

A contiguous expansion is the only way to go -- if an expansion is needed. With the massive national overbuilding of convention centers, an expansion is NOT needed, realistically. Repairing the city and county infrastructure is urgently necessary; expanding the convention center is not in the slightest.

The initiative's attempt to get the package passed with only a majority vote would never get past an honest judiciary. However, somebody has to step up and file suit. Best, Don Bauder

Flapper: Those who want San Diego to clean up its disgracefully rundown infrastructure and neighborhoods cannot give up. Putting more money into the subsidized billionaire sports scam or expanding the convention center into a glut is the height of money-wasting. This must be stopped. Best, Don Bauder

Flapper: We have to see more than the broad outline of the scam, which is all we have now. We know that the U-T and the radio station owned by Moores will shovel out propaganda -- more intensified than it already is. There has to be a way that the citizenry can be informed about what a scam this will be. Best, Don Bauder

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