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Another day, another $750,000 for Chargers' stadium cause

NFL team's spending could top all records for special-interest ballot campaigns

Dean Spanos
  • Dean Spanos

How much will Chargers owner Dean Spanos end up spending to place on the ballot his proposed $1.8 billion stadium, subsidized by a tax hike on San Diego hotel rooms?

Likely a number to blow away local records for special-interest spending, judging from the impressive burn rate that has heralded the first stage of the campaign.

The most recent contribution by the mega-millionaire from Stockton, in the form of another $750,000 from the team, arrived May 19, according to a disclosure report filed by the Spanos-run “Citizens for Sports, Entertainment, and Tourism. with Major Funding by the Chargers Football Company.”

Darrell Issa, Scott Peters, and Juan Vargas at Chargers' signature-drive rally, April 23, 2016

Darrell Issa, Scott Peters, and Juan Vargas at Chargers' signature-drive rally, April 23, 2016

That brings the committee's current reported contributions, all from the Chargers, to a stunning $2,572,694 since April 2.

Charger Girls of 2016

Charger Girls of 2016

The Spanos cash has reportedly paid for everything from a lavish downtown rally featuring Spanos, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, three congressmen, free food, and the Charger Girls, to hefty per-signature bounties for an army of petition carriers.

If the football mogul keeps spending at the current pace, it could make it difficult for even his deep-pocketed opponents in the GOP Lincoln Club to keep up.

As earlier reported here. a trio of the city's top hotel moguls, all Lincoln Club backers, have been hit with a boycott threat by two Chargers fan groups, alleging the hoteliers are trying to block Spanos from getting his subsidized stadium deal.

Ray Ellis

Ray Ellis

The Lincoln Club is currently running a $100,000 anti-stadium campaign on behalf of Republican city councilman Ray Ellis and has previously tapped the treasuries of well-heeled out-of-town interests, including the California Apartment Association PAC and the California Restaurant Association, to fund its San Diego political efforts.

But whether the Lincoln Club and backers can attract similar amounts from state and national political donors to a campaign against the Spanos stadium remains to be seen.

Rick Perry

Rick Perry

A wealthy Republican himself, Spanos and family members maintain close ties to major party players, including ex–Texas governor Rick Perry, said to be a possible vice-presidential running mate for Donald Trump.

Spanos also benefits from the clout that comes with being an NFL owner, including massive contributions by the league's Gridiron PAC to Congress members and their political parties and fundraising committees.

In one recent high-profile case, reported by the San Jose Mercury News in March, the NFL gave more than $300,000 to "41 of 54 members of a key congressional committee that is reviewing concussion research."

C. Terry Brown and Richard Bartell

C. Terry Brown and Richard Bartell

Similarly, San Diego County Republican congressman Darrell Issa, who has been involved in overseeing league regulatory matters, is a major beneficiary of NFL and Spanos campaign dollars.

Bill Evans

Bill Evans

In addition, the prospect of bucking the powerful football league could deter support of the Lincoln Club’s anti-stadium efforts by major corporate interests that might otherwise be expected to contribute.

That leaves the hotel moguls, including fan-boycott targets Terry Brown, Bill Evans, and Richard Bartell, who may or may not be willing and able to lay out the sizable funds needed to stay in the campaign money game with Spanos.

Though rich, all three are from old-money San Diego families that became wealthy from their fathers' early business and real estate endeavors, including obtaining lucrative hotel leases on city-owned land and cultivating quiet friendships with local politicos, far removed from the NFL's multibillion-dollar fast track.

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Comments

Spanos should have saved all the money he spent for pizza during meetings for the dog-and-pony show in Carson.

Also, I guess that "great deal" Spanos has in Inglewood with the Rams isn't that great after all.

If Spanos is able to con San Diego voters into falling for this boondoggle, it's certain the city and our tax dollars are going to get dragged into this. Spanos knows once he can get this into construction, he can blackmail the city in more financial support, meaning tapping into our taxes.

Let's see if I have this right. Spanos can't afford the "deal" the NFL offered him in LA. He's now back to pushing for a boondoggle stadium downtown. He can spend $ millions on a campaign for a taxpayer-subsidized facility that will, if ever built, will likely result in reduced, not increased ticket sales. Something doesn't add up here. Some predict that Deano and his fellow travelers will spend as much as $25 million to sell this foolishness to the voters in the city. Might it not be better used doing some of those "much needed" repairs to Qualcomm Stadium? Within the past 2 or 3 years there was a study that came up with a figure of between $100 and $150 million to refurbish the existing stadium. If the Spanos contribution were matched by the city, a good start could be made. And the long wait for the new stadium would be avoided.

But who says logic has anything to do with pro sports, and who says fans are logical? Sadly, if they spend the $25 million on a campaign, it likely will pass. Just lie enough, and voters will buy anything.

This city is ridiculous. Any other city in the U.S. would salivate at the opportunity of having an NFL team based there. But not this city. What am I missing here? This will not cost the taxpayers a dime. Just out of town tourists who don't give a flip about the TOT. The stadium will be built in a nasty part of town. Why wouldn't you want to make that area nicer? Unless you think a nasty ghetto is much more aesthetic and will increase property values, which is what a new facility would do. Not to mention it will create jobs for local union labor, boost the economy (especially with the Super Bowls that will come here), and most importantly, keep the Chargers in San Diego. Seriously, I wonder about the people in this town.

There won't be Any Superbowls in this new proposed stadium. It's not big enough. To host a Super Bowl the stadium must seat at least 70,000. Per Super Bowl regulations. The NEW proposed stadium only has 65,000 seats. The Qualcomm stadium has 71,000. So, you're banking on revenue from home games & whatever other venues can get scheduled into this supposed multipurpose stadium. That's not really a strong selling point. Do the Chargers sell out every game? Check the past statistics. Why would you even push for an NFL stadium that can't host a Super Bowl in a Metro area? Red Flags!

There won't be Any Superbowls in this new proposed stadium. It's not big enough. To host a Super Bowl the stadium must seat at least 70,000. Per Super Bowl regulations. The NEW proposed stadium only has 65,000 seats. The Qualcomm stadium has 71,000. So, you're banking on revenue from home games & whatever other venues can get scheduled into this supposed multipurpose stadium. That's not really a strong selling point. Do the Chargers sell out every game? Check the past statistics.

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