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San Diego: Big City or Small Town?

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Before San Diego can build an NFL stadium or expand the convention center downtown, they may want to figure out what their final goals are.

Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images

Allow me to rant for a few minutes...

San Diego has a problem much bigger than keeping the Chargers or building a new stadium. San Diego has to make a decision if it wants to be a big city or a small town.

I sent out a tweet a few months ago regarding this, but it's time to expand upon the idea.

San Diego, both the residents and the politicians, seem focused on how to not lose the things that it has. They're not at all focused on how to get bigger and/or better.

Here is where I make a metaphor because that's what I do...

I used to be in advertising sales. I would meet with several companies per day, and convince them to buy some advertising as a way to help increase their own sales.

Occasionally, I would run into a company that was operating at maximum capacity. Their machines were running 24/7. They were turning away business because they couldn't fulfill it. It's a pretty good position to be in.

I would meet with these companies and tell them that, if they wanted to buy some advertising, they were going to need to prepare to expand. That meant either moving to a bigger location, hiring more workers, or buying more machines....or some combination of those things.

You'd be surprised at how many of these business owners did not want to expand. They didn't want the problems of a middle-sized company, even if it meant making more profit. They wanted to remain an at-capacity small business. I feel like many San Diegans could relate.

The airport is a joke

This is basically why I'm writing this and why you're reading it.

Should San Diego work to keep Comic-Con? Absolutely. Should it pour money into expanding and upgrading the downtown convention center? Probably!

Should San Diego work to keep the Chargers? Absolutely. Should it pour money into building a new stadium in Mission Valley that could house NFL games along with many other top-tier entertainment events? Probably!

However, at the moment, these things seem an awful lot like adding a second floor to a house that's sitting on rotting foundation.

The airport is an absolute joke, more crowded than any I've ever seen and undergoing endless "upgrades" that leave much of the airport flooring as bare cement instead of....well, actual flooring. There's no room to expand, there's only one (!) runway, and the runway they do have are not really long enough to support the air traffic of a major metropolitan city. And don't even get me started on the fact that airplanes fly directly over downtown when landing...

The city itself seems to be operating at maximum capacity. We're running low on water and housing (and land), traffic is a nightmare with no reasonable solution in sight, and yet San Diego is the 16th fastest growing city in the country.

Choosing the path

San Diego needs to decide which direction it wants to take. Does it want to be another Los Angeles or Miami, a great place to visit with the infrastructure to support high-end residents...or would it rather be just another tourist destination, like Honolulu?

These are the conversations that have lead Chargers Owner Dean Spanos to consider moving to Los Angeles. Is San Diego interested in competing with other top metropolitan areas, or is it simply afraid of losing what it already has?

So far, it seems like the latter. Until they make strides, or at least propose ideas (those long-dead proposed airports don't count), towards improving the infrastructure of the city (and its natural resources) to support the growing population....San Diego will always be viewed as a quiet little "beach town" rather than a legitimate American city that can support multiple professional sports franchises.

(Rant over.)