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San Diego Union-Tribune

New stadium a benefit? Not everyone thinks so

Dec 11, 2002

Abstract:
Dean Spanos' piece fails to show how a new stadium would benefit anyone but the Chargers. He's right about one thing, perhaps unintentionally: "By any measure, these 166 acres (Qualcomm Stadium and parking lot) in Mission Valley are badly underutilized. The current site generates no revenue for taxpayers." Yes, the city should be charging the Chargers much more rent!

Spanos is holding the elimination of the ticket guarantee and the trigger giving the Chargers a 60-day window to see a better deal elsewhere as the carrot and the club in renegotiating the team's lease. Yet I seem to recall that when the original proposal to renegotiate the ticket guarantee went out, Spanos' answer was that a contract was a contract. DAN WILLIAMS San Carlos

Spanos' piece is in sharp contrast to the negativists' utterings that seem to command most of the news space on the football stadium issue. It would appear that the Chargers may not be opportunistic "robber barons" after all, and that a new stadium in conjunction with other elements noted by Spanos could be of benefit to both parties.

Full Text:
Copyright SAN DIEGO UNION TRIBUNE PUBLISHING COMPANY Dec 11, 2002

Re: "New stadium would benefit all" (Insight, Dec. 8):

Dean Spanos' piece fails to show how a new stadium would benefit anyone but the Chargers. He's right about one thing, perhaps unintentionally: "By any measure, these 166 acres (Qualcomm Stadium and parking lot) in Mission Valley are badly underutilized. The current site generates no revenue for taxpayers." Yes, the city should be charging the Chargers much more rent!

Apparently, the Chargers want to put a new stadium at the same location as the existing one, after graciously letting the city use some of the land for parks and development. This would provide the city with some income from the site, but doesn't explain why we should use that money to build a new stadium that would be used only about 20 times a year, by the Chargers and the Aztecs.

Spanos says, "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." By extension, the city would fare even better if it developed the entire site for park, residential and commercial use -- and eliminated the stadium entirely. DAVID MORRISON San Diego

Spanos makes his case for a new stadium with arguments of "the current site generates no revenue for taxpayers," and that if "we come together quickly, perhaps we can eliminate the trigger and the ticket guarantee." Perhaps one of the reasons the site does not generate any tax revenue is that all the rent the Chargers pay is going to the ticket guarantee.

The city should be cautious about more promises by sports franchises that promote mixed use and mutually beneficial gains in taxpayer-subsidized stadiums. One only has to look at the Padres' carefully crafted promotions during the campaign to approve the downtown ballpark to see how things can change when the rubber meets the road.

Spanos is holding the elimination of the ticket guarantee and the trigger giving the Chargers a 60-day window to see a better deal elsewhere as the carrot and the club in renegotiating the team's lease. Yet I seem to recall that when the original proposal to renegotiate the ticket guarantee went out, Spanos' answer was that a contract was a contract. DAN WILLIAMS San Carlos

Spanos' piece is in sharp contrast to the negativists' utterings that seem to command most of the news space on the football stadium issue. It would appear that the Chargers may not be opportunistic "robber barons" after all, and that a new stadium in conjunction with other elements noted by Spanos could be of benefit to both parties.

Spanos' article both in tone and content certainly ought to establish a basis for some balance in public perception of the issue. To-be-developed specifics, of course, will tell the tale in due time; in the meantime, it seems that Spanos has put a major dent in the negativists' credibility. W. JOSEPH BLOOD Coronado

A new stadium built for the Chargers would benefit only those for whom professional football is an important part of life. For the rest of us, whether or not the Chargers are happy with their facilities is of no consequence, and we certainly have no interest in helping to pay for it with our tax dollars or city-owned property.

Spanos claims the present stadium site is underutilized. If it is to be utilized to a greater degree than now, it doesn't need a new stadium to make that possible; the city could sell portions of the land to developers who would be happy to build residential or commercial structures on it.

Spanos also says, "It has become clear from our community meetings that our discussions . . . have become sidetracked by concerns about the ticket guarantee." The discussions should be sidetracked by those concerns; the citizens were taken advantage of already by the Chargers with that unfortunate guarantee, which was approved without full public understanding of what we were getting into. A city administration negotiating with a sports team always is going to get ripped off.

Having watched with dismay the sorry spectacle of the Chargers' deal with the city on Qualcomm Stadium, and the Padres' deal on the downtown ballpark, I fear that the citizens of this city are going to be railroaded into another costly subsidy. RONALD I. SIMON La Jolla

Spanos rambles on and on about his desire for "solutions." Ummm, can someone tell me exactly what problems he is trying to solve -- except for making more money?

Our only real problem is the money our city wastes each year on the ticket guarantee, and Spanos could eliminate that in a heartbeat all by himself . . . if he wanted to. BOBBY FORCE Jr. San Diego

Spanos explaining why San Diego should buy him a new stadium is like a teen-ager explaining why the whole family benefits if Mom and Dad buy him a car. JON DABBIERI San Diego

 



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