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Some things to check on Chargers' stadium plan

Be prepared to cock an eyebrow at this proposal

The plans for a new downtown Chargers stadium should come out Monday (March 28) or sometime during the week. Many of the purported details have been leaked to friendly media, so all San Diegans should be prepared to cock an eyebrow at this proposal. Here are some things to check carefully:

— The cost of the the so-called "convadium" (combined football stadium and convention center) is said to be $1.8 billion. But how can anybody put a price on this planned facility without having a good idea how much it will cost to move the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System bus yard at 16th and Imperial Avenue? The system says moving the facility may take five to seven years and will be very expensive. The cost — and the cost of the delay — must be taken into account. Construction costs of stadiums and convention centers have been rising steadily.

— Planners are apparently counting on the taxpayers to pick up the $200 million tab for land acquisition. Why should taxpayers pay for this? The Chargers should pay at least half of such costs.

Mark Fabiani

Mark Fabiani

— The planners are apparently counting on the sale of personal seat licenses to rake in money. Forget it. Mark Fabiani, Chargers mouthpiece, told me in 2011, "We do not anticipate selling [personal seat licenses] in any significant numbers in this marketplace." (Personal seat licenses are expensive, and give the buyer the right to certain seats for the season.) They were very successful for the 49ers' stadium in Santa Clara. But Santa Clara is in Silicon Valley, one of the nation's richest places. These licenses are sold in an aftermarket. And 49ers licenses are not doing so well in the aftermarket.

— Watch to see what the Chargers are expecting from the sale of luxury suites. They don't do well in San Diego for the same reason — moderate incomes and very high cost of living — that personal seat licenses are out of the question.

— Planners are expecting the transient occupancy (hotel) tax to rise to 16.5 percent, one of the handful of the highest in the nation. Convention planners take costs into account. Very closely. This high hotel tax will definitely dent convention attendance and hurt non-convention hotel visits throughout the year. Do the planners realize that the total hotel receipts will decline with a rate so high? Also, do the convention-center executives and hoteliers realize that having two centers separated by five or six blocks is only suitable for two separate conventions?

— Will convention visitors appreciate paying a 16.5 percent tax when there are so many homeless in the area?

— Convadium planners are flipping the bird at Comic-Con, the major convention-center event. Comic-Con has already come out in favor of a contiguous convention-center expansion. If San Diego leaders go ahead with a secondary center five to six blocks away, and voters okay it, San Diego is kissing Comic-Con goodbye. Do the planners realize this?

— The convadium planners should explain the $200 million loan from the National Football League. The media are saying the National Football League is chipping in with $300 million. This assumes the loan is in fact a grant. Is it? The convadium pushers must explain this. If it is a loan, what are the terms?

— How much will naming rights bring in? The mayor's task force planning a Mission Valley stadium estimated that 20-year naming rights would bring in $135 million to $165 million. What are the planners counting on for a downtown stadium?

— Arts groups such as the opera and symphony get money from the hotel tax. Will they get the same amount, or more, than they have been receiving? Or will they be shortchanged? If arts groups get cut back, the economy will feel it, because almost all those on arts payrolls spend their money locally.

Dean Spanos

Dean Spanos

— After naming rights, advertising rights, and the like are subtracted from the so-called Chargers' contribution, is there anything left? Is the Spanos family planning to get this for almost nothing?

— Finally, it is time for the Chargers to reveal whether they have an option to go to Los Angeles — an option the Spanos family can afford. When the Chargers lost out on their bid for L.A. and came back to San Diego claiming that they had an L.A. option but had decided they loved San Diego, few San Diegans swallowed such a tale. With public support for the downtown stadium very low, it is time for Dean Spanos to admit to the public that the so-called L.A. option was just a scare tactic.

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Don, when you say "Spanos", you've said it all! This sums up all the lies, deceit, double-dealing, and everything that characterize the "relationship" of the city and county and the Chargers. But there's no reason for optimism in regard to the system and the voters who have been conned over and over. What's one more con job?

Visduh: Excellent summation, as usual. Remember the ballpark vote? The Padres and the City claimed that the ballpark would pay for itself. It later came out that Golding had pressured bureaucrats to twist the numbers to make that look possible. (Of course, it wasn't possible. The ballpark sucks money out of the city every year.) Best, Don Bauder

Some good points. Moving the Metropolitan Transit yard is a big one. Of course, I also expect some of Don's cautions not to be realized, e.g. I have never heard the $300 million from the NFL characterized as a loan. Also, there will be negotiated changes to whatever the Chargers present.

Two things Don failed to mention is that the Chargers have said that they will take some responsibility for construction cost overruns. Also unmentioned is that the city will own the complete facility; the city can get income for Convadium use on days the Chargers are not using the stadium. Again, time will tell both for what plan will be put before the voters and afterwards how well the plan works, if implemented.

The $200 million is a loan from the NFL G-4 fund. That will be paid back over time. I'm not sure about the other $100 mil the NFL "gave" to the Chargers to help them in their quest to fleece, er, stay in San Diego.

aardvark: Yes, the $200 million is a loan or a grant from the NFL G-4 fund, which was suspended once and then brought back. It's not clear to me if it is a loan or a grant, and I spent a lot of time this afternoon trying to determine the answer to that question. It may be a loan with terms so easy that it is realistically a grant. One guess is that it is a loan that can be paid back out of stadium receipts over a very long period. But who pays? Dunno. Best, Don Bauder

relmasian: The $300 million from the NFL breaks down this way: a $200 million "loan," and the $100 million that the NFL tossed in the San Diego pot after Spanos couldn't get to L.A. The question is whether that $200 million is a loan or a grant. If it's a loan, who pays it back, over what time period, and at what interest rate, if any?

Of course the city will get income from the convadium when the Chargers are not playing at the stadium. The team will play only 10 times a year (that includes pre-season games) and a couple more if the team goes deep into the playoffs.

The convadium is NOT an expansion of the convention center. It is a completely different facility because it is so far away. It could be used when there are conventions in both facilities. Best, Don Bauder

Don, I checked and you are correct about the NFL $300 million including a loan. To be more precise, here is a January 29 quote from ESPN: "The Chargers received a jump-start to the project with $300 million provided by NFL ownership, including $200 million in loans from the league's G-4 stadium fund, and a $100 million gift that can be used only for building a new stadium in San Diego." The terms of the $200 loan and who pays it back are, of course, are very important. (I should know better than to disagree with a financial pro about finance.)

I still would differ on your point about the distance between convention buildings having attended conventions in LA, Los Vegas, San Francisco, Miami, etc. Large conventions are usually spread among several buildings, often separated by some distance. Usually, there is a transportation system provided for conventioneers -- buses, underground tubes, sky bridges, etc. The Olympics are probably the most extreme example of a multiple location convention.

Don: I believe the Chargers have said that they expect to receive the naming rights from any new stadium they play in here. I also think the Chargers expect to put that money in their pockets, rather than use any of the naming rights money towards the cost of the new stadium.

Furthermore, I think the convention center annex is nothing more than an unneeded, expensive add-on. All the Chargers really want is a new stadium downtown, and they don't give a rat's ass about any connecting convention center annex.

aardvark: Yes, the Chargers will be awarded the naming rights money. This is a major part of stadium scams. Why should the team get all of the naming rights credit? In this case, the convadium will belong to the city. San Diego should get credit for at least half of the naming rights, and half of the advertising rights. But it won't happen, in all probability, because of the mental pathos of the city council.

Bruce Henderson, who knows more about stadium scams than anybody in the country, suspects this whole thing may be a dubious real estate deal gift-wrapped in a convadium that will never come to pass. He may be right. Best, Don Bauder

Moving the bus yard is going to cost MTS extra money in the budget that they might not likely have, causing increased fares and reduced service to make up the difference in cost. Then again, Imperial Avenue division was probably going to be re developed at some point due to all the development in the east village. Moving the bus yard 5 minutes away from Imperial Avenue division would cost MTS at around 900,000/year. Plus, the cleanup and what not.

Also, MTS is also saving up for a new bus yard for expansion as the Rapid service is maxing out the current facilities so another yard will be needed if SANDAG wants their plan to go into fruition and possibly another yard or two. So you would need at least 2 new bus yards (1 to replace Imperial Avenue division and 1 more for expansion).

mhorgan65: Question: why have the Chargers chosen a location that requires a moving of the bus terminal? Why is that location close to Petco Park? Why is John Moores hot to trot for the proposal?

The last question is easiest to address. Possibly Moores wants to use the infrastructure that the stadium would require for a nearby project of his own, perhaps a hotel. Or maybe he will partner with the Chargers on the deal. People close to him says he is in this because he is do dedicated to education and SDSU, and wants to be sure the Qualcomm site in Mission Valley is utilized for this purpose. Ha ha ha. That is not the explanation. Moores is in it for money, as he always is.

Finally, don't be surprised if Moores buys the Chargers, or a significant piece of the team. He has always been envious of the amount of money NFL owners rake in. However, if Moores or somebody else buys the team, or a big chunk of it, Los Angeles may be back in the picture.

To get to L.A., the Spanos family must sell the team, or much of it, to a multi-billionaire who could partner with Kroenke at Inglewood. Kroenke, who personally dislikes Dean Spanos, and considers him a pauper, could go for a multi-billionaire who would help finance the project there. Best, Don Bauder

Jeff Allen: And when the proposal is released (this week, presumably), it will probably be wrapped in contrived complexity and leave more questions than answers. Best, Don Bauder

Excellent summary of problems with the proposal Don. The proposal is not in anyone's best interests except for the Chargers and perhaps some die-hard Charger fans who are willing to commit a significant amount of public revenue to subsidize wealthy football players and an extremely wealthy ownership group.

Personally I think they will have an uphill battle trying to get this passed.

2 things that will be needed for the initiative to pass:

  1. The 50% + 1 vote threshold needs to be held up in court (sounds unlikely to me - the Howard Jarvis Foundation, among other powerful groups, will fight hard to maintain the 2/3 new tax threshold).

  2. Many voters will need to buy into the "it's just tourist money, it doesn't cost San Diegans anything" logic. Clearly this logic is misguided. Any tax change will have economic and social consequences which should be studied and debated in detail. To just shrug off a tax increase as "who care's, someone else is paying for it" is irresponsible.

ImJustABill: Yes, the decision suggesting the Chargers may need only 50%+1 will surely go to the Supreme Court. That will take a couple of years, just as the moving of the bus terminal could take five to seven years.

The answer to the argument, "It's just tourist money, it doesn't cost San Diegans anything" should be as follows: "Yes, it is tourist money, but if it were not used up for a billionaire's football field, it would be used for many things (infrastructure, police, fire, etc.) that San Diego desperately needs." Best, Don Bauder

Yes - even if one believes that money which comes from tourists doesn't have any negative effects on San Diego then the responsible thing to do is to try to allocate that money where it's needed most. It's hard to for me to buy the argument that subsidizing a football team and vastly increasing the wealth of it's already wealthy owners is the most pressing need to spend tax money on.

But I do think the "free money" angle is something the proponents of this initiative will push. I've heard the argument a lot on sports talk radio and I've heard it from Fred Maas on a recent TV news segment.

ImJustABill: Only a liar would use the free money argument. It appears that is already the case. Best, Don Bauder

ImJustABill - Bet U R Right Again. The 2 possibilities of apathy and/or illegality will gitterdone.

shirleyberan: ImJustABill hits another home run. Best, Don Bauder

Don: Home run? For a football stadium?

aardvark: I should have said ImJustABill has dunked another one. Best, Don Bauder

Thank you for the kind words shirley and Don!

Bill - I was trying to recall what you said about how easy exploitation is for those with money and no conscience (Navy pig) awhile into my Easter Eve stupor. Don just keeps on going, pretends he didn't notice.

shirleyberan: Exploitation is very easy for those with no conscience and lots of money. That's how cities get fleeced by pro sports billionaires. Best, Don Bauder

Jay Price: Yes, there are multiple reasons taxpayers should thumb this down. But it shouldn't stop there. After the billionaire's scam has been turned down, San Diegans should make sure that the civic leaders pushing this scam -- probably to line their own pockets -- will not have the positions of power they once held. Best, Don Bauder

I've lost some respect for Donna Frye due to her involvement in the similar "citizens initiative". Even when I disagreed with her I usually felt her motives were sincere (at least more so than most politicians). I wonder if she genuinely believes her / Briggs are actually acting in the public's interest.

Of course I don't even have to wonder if Fred Mass is working for the public's best interest - he is clearly not.

ImJustABill: At least she came out and said that if the initiative does not include the nature preserve and educational center in Mission Valley, she is jumping ship. That made me feel better. Best, Don Bauder

Mike Murphy: We will have to wait until we see the finished product. This may be an establishment land grab, rather than a serious proposal. Best, Don Bauder

The SD voters should be chanting:

Stay(away)Vention

Or

No more Billions for Ultra Rich Sport Team Owners

Founder: Something has to fit on a bumper sticker. Your second one is excellent but too long. It has to be short, pithy and punchy. Here are some bumper sticker suggestions: 1. "Infrastructure First" 2." Infrastructure Yes, Billiionaires No" 3. "$ for Water, not Billionaires." 4."No Billionaire Welfare" 5. "No $ for Outtatown Billionaires" 6. "No $ for Chargers" 7. "Streets, not Billionaires" 8."Fix Sewers, Flush Chargers"

Somebody much more clever than I am can improve on all of these. Best, Don Bauder

In these times, the problem with bumper stickers is that your car may get keyed or worse (like getting road rage from a rabid Chargers fan).

Ponzi: I have to admit that is true. About a dozen years ago, my wife and I were parking our car at an airport that serves rigid, intolerant people. Waiting for the plane, we realized we could get our tires slashed. Before the plane arrived, I went out and tried to take off the bumper sticker. I couldn't get it off, so tried to scratch off the message. Best, Don Bauder

"Feed The Children Not Billionaires And BeerBellies"

shirleyberan: Excellent, although too long for a bumper sticker. Maybe it would fit on a flag flying from your home. Best, Don Bauder

ImJustABill: Sorry, I don't get "spa NO s". Explicate, please. Best, Don Bauder

Well I was trying to say "NO to Spanos" Guess I better not quit my day job!

ImJustABill: Now I get it! Let me ponder that one. Best, Don Bauder

John Purlia: You are raising excellent questions. Your analysis of the L.A. "deal" is one of the reasons I believe there is no "option" in L.A. that the Spanos family can afford. I think the tale of the L.A."option" is just another big lie. If Spanos had to testify in court, he and Kroenke would cook up some "deal" so Spanos would not have to perjure himself. But this manufactured "deal" would be one that the Spanos family could not afford.

In other words, in my opinion, the "option" was invented to frighten San Diegans into believing that they might lose their team. Spanos never had a chance to go to L.A. once Kroenke won the bidding. His tale that he has this sweet "option" in L.A. but decided he loved San Diego too much to take it is startlingly unbelievable, and I hope San Diegans realize that.

The numbers you present suggest to Bruce Henderson that there is no convadium deal in the planning stage. The whole thing may be a ruse to set up a land grab, Henderson suspects.

I hope that in assessing the tales that Spanos is weaving, San Diegans conclude they can get along fine without this team. Since it has no place to go, it would go back to Qualcomm, where it belongs. I am sure the contract, which expires in 2020, will be rewritten on a year by year basis. The Chargers will find that Qualcomm is better than anything San Antonio offers. St. Louis will offer the moon, but would you want to leave Southern California for St. Louis? Best, Don Bauder

Despite the fact that the details of the Spanos / Kroenke deal have not been made public, there seems to be an assumption that the Chargers can move in for $1 rent per year in LA. The only journalists or pundits that I have heard question the conventional logic that the Chargers have a really good deal to move into LA are Don Bauder and Bernie Wilson.

ImJustABill: This tells you much about San Diego mainstream media. Anybody with an IQ over 85 should have figured immediately that once Kroenke won the L.A. bidding, Spanos would effectively be out of the picture. Kroenke has shown that he has no use personally for Spanos. More importantly, the Spanos family does not have the money that Kroenke would want in a partner.

There may be a "deal" in which Spanos would pay rent in L.A., but it would not be profitable for the family. Spanos got whacked in L.A., and one wonders how he could have thought he could block Kroenke. Money was going to decide this one Spanos should have known that. Money DID decide it -- beginning with $550 million relocation fee, to be split among owners. Kroenke's victory left Spanos homeless. He had to return, wagging his tail behind him, to the place he had been insulting for a year or, realistically, 15 years. Best, Don Bauder

Now being reported - John Moores wants to use the QCOM site for development and a new soccer stadium. Apparently SDSU gets a couple crumbs thrown in for good PR.

ImJustABill: Omigod. If that is true, we should have figured it. Moores has let it be known he wants a soccer stadium in San Diego. This would also explain why Spanos linked up so quickly with Moores.

But assuming there is truth to this, what is the Plan B for the Chargers? If Qualcomm will be ripped down (and admittedly we don't know that), where would the Chargers play if voters won't give the team a new stadium? Is Plan B St. Louis or San Antonio? Or renting in Inglewood?

Let's watch this to see if there is any validity to this. I have not received a copy of the Chargers' plan yet. Best, Don Bauder

I heard this reported on AM 1360 (sports talk radio). The taxpayer handouts with this proposal seem to be rocketing past $1B and the list of wealthy taxpayer handout recipients is growing. At this point I'm half expecting Doug Manchester to somehow get his cut.

ImJusgABill: If you include the convention center portion of the convadium, the taxpayers will ante up well over half the money going in. Best, Don Bauder

Seems to be a pattern. Jocks turned teachers, principles and superintedent supportive of their own agenda kept putting their people in place to buy real estate with their newly created company name. SanDiego Unified so far looks other way or is stupid. Plenty of States without pro sports franchise and at least 36 major cities without NFL team: Wiki

shirleyberan: To be the host of a NFL team, a city (or metro area) should have a good population, relative affluence, abundance of superrich within that population and a bunch of nitwits running the place, because billionaire welfare has to be approved by the city council.

Right now, the largest metro area without an NFL team is L.A., but that will change shortly. The next biggest one without a team is Riverside-San Bernardino at a population of 4.4 million, but not much wealth. St. Louis at 2.8 million is losing its team. Portland, San Antonio, and Orlando at 2.3 million do not have NFL teams. Best, Don Bauder

Personally I tend to think of Riverside / San Berdardino as more of an exurb of LA than a metro area in its' own right.

Vegas is another area that's in the discussion for an NFL team - but the NFL likes to pretend it's opposed to gambling so the NFL is reluctant to move into Vegas.

ImJustABill: The United States Office of Management and the Budget has defined 381 metropolitan statistical areas. The 13th largest, with a population of 4.4 million, is Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario. However, there is also a compilation of larger metro areas -- say, San Jose, San Francisco, and Oakland. In the larger compilation, Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario is part of the L.A.-Long Beach Combined Statistical Area.

For a pro football team's planning purposes, Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario would be included as part of the potential market.

Vegas is the 30th largest market with a population of 2 million. However, despite the NFL's long-time connection to the gambling industry, I think it is too early to think about a team going to Vegas. The Raiders, I understand, have stopped thinking about Vegas. Best, Don Bauder

interesting, that if googling "spanos nfl scam" there are over 105,000 hits

Murphyjunk: Are half of those hits from the Reader? Best, Don Bauder

Search hits for simply "Spanos" and "scam" are in the millions.

Ponzi: Let's push it into the billions. Best, Don Bauder

Mary Hillebrecht: Yes, the Chargers need to stay in Mission Valley -- but at Qualcomm, not at a new taxpayer-financed stadium in Mission Valley. Best, Don Bauder

The King of Chutzpah is Back!!!

Pay You $35.00-$45.00 a pop to listen to your pitch to make you millions more at taxpayers expense?!

We would have to be some kind of fools to fall for that!!!

SportsFanOOOO: The Chargers plan is not out yet (at least it has not been sent to me, as promised), but there is no question that the plan will be an outline for another fleecing of taxpayers. What's been leaked to friendly media guarantees that.

The public now understands the massive San Diego infrastructure deficit. At the time of the ballpark vote, people were not so aware of the city's shabby condition. Best, Don Bauder

The Padres had a winning season before the vote on their stadium. Their second pennant was in 1998.

That vote was sold on redeveloping the East Village. Well, the East Village is pretty well developed out and most of that was more due the the convention center expansion.

Now what have the Chargers got to offer? A team with no championships, the last peek at a Super Bowl locker room was over two decades ago, and they want t demolish a massive public facility while creating a convention annex that nobody is going to want to book.

Ponzi: Of course, the development of East Village was the biggest scam of all. Moores profited by more than $1 billion because the council gave him land for early 1990s prices, and he sold it for fat sums. Most San Diegans don't seem to know about this part of the ballpark scam. Best, Don Bauder

Yeah asking for money just to see how JM is going to take more money from us is a pretty big slap in everybody's face.

ImJustABill: The council has never been interested in determining how much Moores raked in because the council agreed to give him the land so cheaply. Best, Don Bauder

Don - I know it's principal not principle. And you probably know I'm referring to the archived SouthBay school scandal Luzzaro has been reporting on for years.

shirleyberan: Many make that mistake. No mea culpas necessary. Best, Don Bauder

David Elgier: In your mind, anyone who wants to repair the rundown infrastructure is a very small thinker. What's so big and magnanimous about subsidizing billionaires? Best, Don Bauder

David Crossley: What's impressive is the scheme to fleece the people. The plan should be out before midweek. Best, Don Bauder

David Phillipich: Face the facts. The community is being set up for a screwing. (Incidentally, you attend a great university.) Best, Don Bauder

Thomas Powell: It appears that in your mind, any opposition to billionaire subsidies is "trash." Best, Don Bauder

Butch Dye: Yes, the notion that hotel taxes will pay for everything is a scam. Hotel tax receipts should go back to the community to improve infrastructure, bolster police and fire services, and the like. If it goes to subsidizing a billionaire's stadium (or subsidizing two stadiums) the money is wasted. Best, Don Bauder

David Elgier if you have any information which is different from the information Don has reported then please post a link to it.

I had a good laugh after reading David Elgier's post. Who is the "San Diego Stadium Coalition" anyway? It says "Non-Profit Organization" but there is no records with the California Secretary of State or the IRS.

The web site (sdstadium.org) registrant is an individual, Jason Riggs, of Encinitas. On their fundraising webpage, GoFundMe, they have raised $1,105 in donations, from 30 individuals and it shows the most recent donation was five months ago.

Ponzi: Dean Spanos and John Moores are already filing lawsuits, demanding to get that $1,150. Best, Don Bauder

ImJustABill: Of course he has different information. Look at the name of his publication. I wonder if it's really "information." Best, Don Bauder

Moores has been a most clever guy in buying support from academia. In addition to his philanthropy for SDSU, he managed to get appointed to the UC Board of Regents by Gray Davis, but resigned after about eight years. (I seem to recall that he chaired the board for a time.) He also is a huge benefactor of the University of Houston.

Get him and Spanos working for the same ripoff, er, goal, and you have an unbeatable pairing. Both of them should be persona non grata here in San Diego, but instead they are both touted as geniuses, successful tycoons, and wonderful, generous men. Yech!

Visduh: Moores woos academics and politicians, in particular. He cons the public. Spanos has neither the skills nor the money to con so many; that's one reason he has linked up with Moores. Best, Don Bauder

County-wide, there are Chargers Fans. MAYBE NOT ENOUGH TO FILL A STADIUM ON GAME DAY, but we know they are out there.

If we could find those fans, we could ask them if they are willing to pay for the new stadium out of their own pockets.

I'm sure a vast majority of them would say: "Yes, please, take my money, I would much rather pay for a new stadium then pay my rent or mortgage or car payment, or my child's university education, etc., etc."

At least that way, the TRUE BLUE (and gold) Charger Fans will fill the stadium EVERY GAME DAY to admire their new investment, and the TV Blackouts would end.

I figure there's roughly 500,000 tickets sold per year. The Chargers proposal is asking the city for at least $1B in public money. So let's say we finance 1B over 30 years at 5% interest...That's about 64M payment per year.

Which works out to about $130 / ticket.

Since having a great stadium experience is so important to NFL fans (according to NFL commisioner Roger Goodell) I would assume that Chargers fans would be more than happy to pay a $130 surcharge per home game ticket towards the Chargers' new stadium.

Or maybe the Chargers and their fans would rather have someone else pay money towards something which primarily benefits them.

Rocket_J_Squirrel: I don't know that the NFL would permit that. Green Bay Packers are owned by a number of people, but they were grandfathered by the league. Best, Don Bauder

Must stop supporting unscrupulous property/land userserpers. Money should be used for not just infrastructure but includes parks, recreation, school gyms and fields in neighborhoods for free exercise and recreation. Or might as well build a bullring and heard the beasts and livestock to the gate for a $200+ drink, fight night.

shirleyberan: After we stop supporting unscrupulous land speculators, who would be left? Best, Don Bauder

GO CHARGERS ! ! !

No really, just go.

swell: Don't slam the door on the way out. Best, Don Bauder

One item that never comes up on building sports palaces for the rich is that because the property is still owned by the city there is no property tax on the facility. A $1 Billion stadium if owned privately would generate about $10 million per year in taxes.

Dennis: Absolutely. Economists say that the cost of stadiums is always understated, and one reason is that the teams and the governments leave out tax income that are forfeited. Best, Don Bauder

Before you vote in November, I’d ask you to drive by Qualcomm Stadium one day this summer and try to imagine that huge, empty, silent fortress plopped down in the middle of your neighborhood. Because that’s what the Chargers are asking you to fund — acres of walled-off dead space in the middle of my neighborhood. I’m not talking about game day — I’m talking about the other 300+ days of the year when there are no fans, no income for the neighborhood, no excitement, nothing.

Contrast that with the plans being generated by the innovative (and volunteer) group of architects, urban planners, designers, and residents of the East Village South Community Vision Group. Envision high-paying high-tech jobs, a respected university, family-friendly sidewalk cafes, preservation of key historic buildings, dog parks, a soccer field, a farmers’ market, attractive lighting, street signs in multiple languages, and, most important, lots of pedestrians strolling through a series of tree-lined boulevards and a necklace of pocket parks all the way from the Convention Center or Horton Plaza or City College to Barrio Logan or across a park covering Interstate 5 into Sherman Heights.

Also imagine the Convention Center widened right over Harbor Drive, the railroad tracks, and the trolley tracks, so that you could stroll right across those barriers without waiting for a traffic light, and have easy egress from the bay to the Gaslamp and ball park neighborhoods.

Before you cast your vote about this precious, undeveloped acreage (the only large, undeveloped area left Downtown, please ask yourself which alternative would provide more higher-paying jobs, more tax income for the city, more housing, more recreation and value to the city of San Diego? For more information, visit East Village South Community Vision on Facebook.

Valerie Hansen, East Village

Valerie Hansen: Well stated. The proposed convadium would be a big waste of money. The Chargers only play ten times a year (one or two more if the team gets in the playoffs) for three and a half hours or so.

The promoters will say it will be used for rock concerts, Final Four NCAA games, All-Star games, etc. This is a lie. Promoters said that about Petco. There has been very little such activity there. So how much would there be if another stadium were plunked down nearby? Same claims, same result.

I do disagree on one point. Nationally, convention centers are grossly overbuilt. That is why prices are being slashed 50 percent or more. It's folly to expand the convention center now. Wait a decade or so. But do repair the inside of the center. That is a project that goes on the list with the critical infrastructure items. Best, Don Bauder

Such "estimates" are always ridiculously low. Ask them for the details, including the math, spelling out exactly how they arrived at the figure.

Even when the estimate is reasonable, the low bidder is typically a fair-haired boy, who makes his/her/its money on "change orders."

It's all fantasy, including "adults" playing kid's games for millions and billions while nicking taxpayer grownups who could care less.

Mary Hillebrecht:

"Mission Valley" is a misnomer. It is not a valley, it is a riverbed. When it's not flooded you could call it a floodplain, but it is not a valley. All of the development in the San Diego River's bed/floodplain was approved by past crooks running the City, elected and appointed. It is fit only for wildlife habitat, or at best, cow pasture.

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