The headline on the Union-Tribune this morning (October 3) was "Chargers beat Saints 78-00!!"
Well, not really. The Chargers lost to the Saints yesterday, 35-34. But the managements of the U-T, Chargers, and the mayor's office are attempting to pull off a dirty stunt to mislead San Diego voters.
This weekend, the U-T touted on its front page a story stating that the Chargers have agreed to "concessions" about the team's proposed convadium downtown. These "concessions" dealt with such matters as parking and finances. The Chargers had made a deal with the Downtown San Diego Partnership, blared the story.
But a deal between the Chargers and a downtown corporate-welfare organization has no meaning whatsoever. Thousands of San Diegans put their signatures on a ballot measure to be voted on in November. That agreement cannot be changed because voters have already put their signatures on a measure that will go on the ballot.
Tony Manolatos of "No Downtown Stadium — Jobs and Streets First!" put it well: "Promises between a downtown lobbying organization and [the Chargers'] Dean Spanos are just that — they aren't legally binding. The only thing that's legally binding is the ballot measure." His quote was buried deep in the story.
This morning, the paper had a banner screaming that Mayor Faulconer now backs the convadium. At least the U-T concedes that Measure C, the convadium proposal, "can't be amended because it's already on the ballot." Again, the truthful statement was buried in the story.
"Any agreement with a downtown group is pure election propaganda," says former San Diego City Council member Bruce Henderson. He points out that if the hotel tax could be raised to 16.5 cents from 12.5 cents, as the Chargers propose, the city would have $120 million a year it could use for infrastructure and critical projects — not a stadium for a Stockton billionaire family whose management of the team has been atrocious.
"The proposal that the mayor endorsed is not the proposal on the ballot," says former city attorney Mike Aguirre. "The only way that proposal can be adopted is if it is resubmitted. This is a public relations move that is not enforceable."
There is no question that the U-T, Chargers and mayor's office together plotted this attempted con job.