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San Diego Union-Tribune

DEAN SPANOS

New stadium would benefit all

Dec 8, 2002

Abstract:
The Chargers have been an important part of the San Diego community for over 40 years, and the Spanos family wants the Chargers to be in San Diego for the next 40 years and beyond.

The Chargers believe in the promising future of this great city. But San Diego's future depends in some measure on our collective ability to muster the vision and the strength to ward off the obstructionists who would sooner delay something for years in court than participate in a genuine search for solutions. Of course, every city is home to such people, but some cities do a better job than others of making sure that the collective will of the people prevails. In this regard, we know that San Diego can do better.

It has become very clear, both from the San Diegans who have met with us and from the experts we have retained that there is a solution -- based on finding better ways to generate revenue from the Qualcomm site -- that will benefit the entire community. We believe that eliminating the ticket guarantee and the trigger on mutually agreeable terms, will clear for us all a broad, open path to an election in 2004 -- an election on the future of the Qualcomm site, the Super Bowl and the Chargers in San Diego.



Full Text:
Copyright SAN DIEGO UNION TRIBUNE PUBLISHING COMPANY Dec 8, 2002

The Chargers have been an important part of the San Diego community for over 40 years, and the Spanos family wants the Chargers to be in San Diego for the next 40 years and beyond.

The excitement and enthusiasm generated by the team's success this year is a reminder of the wonderfully positive civic contribution a pro team can make to a city -- community pride, a magnate for businesses and jobs, a source of quality entertainment. Our family has always been mindful that the Chargers are a team with deep roots in San Diego.

That is why we have spared no expense to find the nation's best experts to help us find a publicly acceptable way to make the Chargers and the Super Bowl a continuing part of our civic life. We have met with hundreds of San Diegans, and we have learned a great deal. From all of the work we have done, and all of the meetings we have had, several points have become very clear.

First, we believe that the solutions we seek must be acceptable to the entire community -- not just to football fans, and not just to the many business people who benefit from the Super Bowl. That is why we have focused our efforts on the existing Qualcomm Stadium site. By any measure, these 166 acres in Mission Valley are badly underutilized. The current site generates no revenue for taxpayers. In fact, the Chargers Task Force has found that the Qualcomm site now draws $10 million a year from the city's budget, and the money drain will increase once the Padres depart.

Fortunately, the community has helped us understand that the Qualcomm site holds the promise of a solution. A new stadium could be surrounded by green space available year round to the public, cascading down to a beautified San Diego River. A portion of the site could become San Diego's newest urban village, with badly needed housing next to revenue-producing commercial space.

Of course, it will be up to the community to decide exactly what uses are appropriate for the Qualcomm site. But it now seems clear that the site can be put to a much better and higher use -- one that will generate significant revenue for the city and benefit all the people of San Diego.

Second, it has become clear from our community meetings that our discussions of the future too often become sidetracked by concerns about the ticket guarantee and the trigger provisions in our current lease. That is why we have asked the City of San Diego to meet with us now to discuss ways to clear the path for a public vote in 2004 to keep the Chargers and the Super Bowl here. Only good can come from dialogue between the city and the Chargers.

We sincerely hope that the city's elected leadership will speak seriously with us about our ideas. If we come together quickly, perhaps we can eliminate the trigger and ticket guarantee and move right on to the business of determining how best to utilize the huge Qualcomm site.

The third conclusion we reached from our community meetings is this: The public is rightfully skeptical of subsidies to private businesses. That is why the Chargers have publicly committed to pay for a substantial share of the cost of building a new stadium. And we believe that the new-found revenues generated from an intelligently redesigned Qualcomm site will go a long way toward making up the public contribution to such a project.

At the end of the day, the intelligently redesigned Qualcomm site, including a new stadium, will be owned by the community and used for many worthwhile purposes. We look forward to presenting our ideas to the Citizens Task Force on Charger Issues at the Jan. 16, 2003 meeting.

Fourth, we believe that the road to a solution will inevitably be difficult, and that we must remain firmly committed to our pursuit of a solution in the face of those who would litigate and obstruct simply for the sake of litigation and obstruction regardless of the cost to the people of San Diego.

The Chargers believe in the promising future of this great city. But San Diego's future depends in some measure on our collective ability to muster the vision and the strength to ward off the obstructionists who would sooner delay something for years in court than participate in a genuine search for solutions. Of course, every city is home to such people, but some cities do a better job than others of making sure that the collective will of the people prevails. In this regard, we know that San Diego can do better.

It has become very clear, both from the San Diegans who have met with us and from the experts we have retained that there is a solution -- based on finding better ways to generate revenue from the Qualcomm site -- that will benefit the entire community. We believe that eliminating the ticket guarantee and the trigger on mutually agreeable terms, will clear for us all a broad, open path to an election in 2004 -- an election on the future of the Qualcomm site, the Super Bowl and the Chargers in San Diego.

We know the burden of making our case is on us, and we are prepared to carry that burden with the help of our many fans and supporters. The Chargers have had an exciting season so far this year, and we believe that even greater things are yet to come for our franchise and our city. We know that our San Diego fans are our most important asset and we thank them for their support.

 



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