I'm going to try to keep this somewhat neutral, but that's going to be difficult because I am pissed.
Nobody ever seems to want what they say they want, not even our city and county leaders.
Kevin Faulconer, Jan Goldsmith, and Ron Roberts have spent literally a year begging and pleading for the San Diego Chargers to come to the table and work on a deal that would hopefully keep the team from leaving. Now that the Chargers have come to the table with a deal that they would like to work on, those same political leaders are not interested in working with the team.
This is the Chargers, revealing for everyone, that every speech and interview and tweet sent out from the San Diego political leaders over the past year in regards to the stadium has been nothing but political cover.
Let's go one by one....
Mayor Kevin Faulconer
Here's what a cursory Google search returns:
- Mayor Kevin Faulconer: "We Are Open To Downtown But The Easier Path To A Stadium Is Mission Valley"
- Mayor Kevin Faulconer: "Mission Valley Is The Plan, Downtown Does Not Work With The NFL Timeline"
- Leaders open to any stadium solution
- SD OK with dual-track Chargers talks
Repeatedly, when put on the spot, Mayor Kevin Faulconer's refrain has been the same.
Downtown would be more complicated. Downtown would take more time. Downtown would be more expensive. However, if Dean Spanos wants downtown, we'd be willing to work on a downtown plan.
Faulconer's biggest concern with downtown was that it didn't work within the time frame that the city was operating in. That is, nothing could be secured before the NFL Owners Meeting in January.
Now, that time frame doesn't exist. We're not racing a clock. Even the Chargers' one-year window to go to Inglewood goes to two years if the team can get something on the ballot that they're working on. There is plenty of time to work out an agreement for a downtown stadium solution, get it on the ballot, and get the Chargers' future in San Diego locked in.
Yet, this was the response to yesterday's news:
My joint statement with @RonRobertsSD on the Chargers' announcement. pic.twitter.com/hiUAz2tDnp— Kevin Faulconer (@Kevin_Faulconer) February 24, 2016
Hey, man. Nice tweet.
Notice that he doesn't say he's excited to investigate what the Chargers have in mind. Notice that he doesn't do anything except cast doubt and ridicule. This is the Mayor trying to kill the Chargers' hopes of staying in San Diego before they even get started. This is the Mayor working for his big-business backers and against the people of San Diego, and going against everything that he's been saying for a year.
Ron Roberts has been the County Supervisor for more than 20 years! Here's a pretty incredible article from EIGHT YEARS AGO wondering if it was time for him to retire.
Ron Roberts should be invested in what is best for San Diego. He should see what PETCO Park did to the city, the Gaslamp Quarter, in turning a seedy section of the city into one of the most desirable places to live in the county. He should be working for us.
Check out this fun quote from last month:
Ron Roberts: "If Dean Wants To Go Downtown We Will Make Every Good Faith Effort To Make That Work"
Ron went on the air, in front of at least a hundred Chargers fans, and said: "The door to downtown is open if that's what the Chargers want."
Literally minutes after the announcement that the team wanted downtown, Ron Roberts called into the same exact radio show, seething with anger. He hates the plan (What plan?!? He hasn't even seen a plan yet!), he doesn't think it'll work (Again, he's seen nothing!), and he essentially threatened to take away the money that the county had previously put on the table for keeping the Chargers in San Diego.
Turning the Chargers into the Good Guys
I'm sure this could change at any minute, but I'm starting to believe everything Mark Fabiani had been saying for years on end. These politicians have no interest in working with the Chargers on a solution.
Fabiani tried the stick, and it didn't work. Spanos has tried sugar, and that doesn't appear to be working either.
The people that are running San Diego are much more concerned with protecting their political interests than they are with doing what is best for the City of San Diego.
If you can find me one person in this entire county, outside of the politicians, that would be upset with a privately financed NFL stadium going into a dilapidated section of downtown, I'd like to meet them. In that same vein, I'm willing to bet that more than 50% of the people in the City of San Diego would be fine with raising the hotel/tourism tax (up to the level of other cities in the western United States) to help pay for a convention center expansion.
What is the problem here? Why are the politicians so upset? Why are they vehemently opposed to the Chargers choosing downtown after saying that they were open to downtown?
How does letter the Chargers build a stadium, by themselves, hurt the city or the county in any way? How doesn't it help?
What good does it do for the Mayor and the County Supervisor to strongly oppose a plan before it is even announced? Don't they want to wait to see how the Chargers intend to finance and pass their plan?
I feel bad for the Chargers, now, whereas I felt bad for the politicians before. The Mayor and his lackeys aren't playing fair.
(For a more thought-out version of this from a much smarter person, I implore you to read Scott Lewis' tremendous breakdown on Voice of San Diego.)