By Doug Porter
The San Diego Chargers are headed to Los Angeles. Halleluja!
“After much deliberation, I have made the decision to relocate the Chargers to Los Angeles,” team owner Dean Spanos wrote in a press release and letter to season ticket holders. “Today we turn the page and begin an exciting new era as the Los Angeles Chargers.”
The slightly less than 44% of the voters who supported the team’s plan for a downtown stadium in the last election combined with the ‘only’ $375 million final offer involving monies from the County, the City and San Diego State University for some future venue were certainly factors in the decision to move.
First came the news that the National Football league was extending the window for allowing Spanos to make a decision about moving. It seems the billionaire owners didn’t want any announcements competing with the playoff games schedule for this weekend. Ratings & good will, ya’ know.
Spanos, who’s not part of the NFL-owners in-crowd, apparently said ‘screw that’ and chose today to make his announcement. I’ll bet ESPN learned about this decision about a nanosecond after it was conveyed to the league office.
San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer didn’t get the courtesy of a phone call. His office sent out a press release announcing an 11 am discussion/press conference with ‘Civic Leaders’ this morning. Cue the hand wringing. It should be fun to watch him squirm his way through the State of the City address. Who knows, maybe he’ll promise to use the $12 million termination fee the Chargers owe the city to help the homeless?
Spanos was apparently in such a hurry to share his news that he overlooked contacting the Los Angeles Rams franchise. The Chargers have agreed to become tenants in a $2.66 billion stadium Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kroenke is building in Inglewood. The team will be playing elsewhere while the stadium is being built.
What’s left of the Chargers’ fan base (the team had the second-worst average attendance in the NFL) is no doubt outraged. As TV crews desperately searched for those outraged fans, they had to settle for filming small piles of team swag dumped on the ground.
The faux fan loyalty desired by billionaire team owners wasn’t enough to let them pad their wealth at public expense, so they’re gone. Hopefully, there will now be enough oxygen in the room for actual matters of governance to get the attention they deserve.
A Few Reactions
Hey, San Diego! You stood up to a cartel that loots cities for their own profit and they went away! I am SOOO PROUD OF YOU GUYS RIGHT NOW!
— Will Moore (@WillMooreSD) January 12, 2017
— Laurie Black (@LaurieBlackSD) January 12, 2017
A local –I’m assuming former– fan made a video of himself egging Chargers headquarters on Wednesday night
Union-Tribune columnist Bryce Miller:
The modern-day NFL, however, isn’t about loyalty — and rooted far more often in financial lust than anything masquerading as affection. It’s about the next business move, the bigger stadium, the better buzz, the bulging bottom line.
When the editor of Forbes told the Washington Post last January that a move to Inglewood could double the Chargers’ valuation — rocketing its bankable potential into the league’s Top 5 — the reasons to gas up the moving trucks revealed themselves amid an ocean of black ink.
San Diego’s tailgating-est corners can feel sad, but shouldn’t be surprised.
The LA Chargers are already soliciting $100 deposits to join the waiting list for season tickets, though I don’t know how much of a welcome they’ll be getting.
From Bill Plaschke in the Los Angeles Times:
The good news about the Chargers’ move is that nobody will have to spend much money on a welcome parade. It will be a short one. There will be one limo carrying Spanos and one Brink’s truck carrying his loot, both moving hurriedly up that freeway ahead of the muffled San Diego cries, all of Los Angeles peering briefly out the windows before closing their blinds.
BREAKING: Los Angeles residents have announced they are all moving to San Diego to get away from the Chargers and the Rams
— NOTSportsCenter (@NOTSportsCenter) January 12, 2017
Meanwhile, in other news of note…
Republican Death Squads Hold First Talks
Despite what you may be reading in dozens of emails and social media messages, the GOP did not kill off Obamacare late last night: they simply began building the platform for the hangman’s noose.
Republicans in the Senate DID vote nearly unanimously to approve a budget concept killing the health-care law, but it’s got a long way to go to become reality.
Democrats did the smart thing, proposing amendments along the way and dragging out the inevitable conclusion.
From Ed Kilgore at New York:
Republican senators are now on record as having rejected opportunities to keep Medicare, Medicaid, and the children’s health program CHIP off the cutting-room floor; to make it possible to import prescription drugs from Canada; to prevent erosion of women’s health services and support for rural hospitals; and perhaps most tellingly, to protect Medicaid funding for the 32 states that accepted the option of expanding that program under the Affordable Care Act.
For the moment, the budget resolution will go to the House, which is expected to approve it on Friday unless the Freedom Caucus (some of whose members share Rand Paul’s heartburn over moving ahead with an Obamacare repeal without a replacement) decides to rebel. And then the real rubber will meet the road as Republicans try to figure out what exactly to put into the repeal legislation to deal with the transition and to satisfy wildly varying Republican views on the post-Obamacare health-care system.
Make no mistake here, the GOP will eventually kill off most of the meaningful parts of the Affordable Care Act. After seven years they have yet to come up with a plan and have bought themselves valuable maneuvering space by forbidding the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office from reporting on anything connected with Obamacare.
Under the House rules, which passed on a party-line vote without any Democrats in favor, the budget office is prohibited from analyzing “any bill or joint resolution” that repeals or modifies Obamacare.
This prohibition probably reflects that Republicans have come to grips with the fact that several provisions within the massive health care law have reduced the federal deficit, thanks to tax increases or payment restrictions on Medicare providers.
Realistically, the day Obamacare ends and GloriousLeaderTrumpCare begins is a couple of months away.
How great will it be?
According to a recent study by researchers at George Washington University and the Commonwealth Fund, repealing the ACA’s health-insurance subsidies and Medicaid expansion would result nationwide in a loss of around 3 million jobs, $1.5 trillion in gross state products, and $2.6 trillion in total business activity between 2019 and 2023.
And that’s not including all the pain and suffering of human beings unable to access healthcare.
Making Russia Great Again
The European edition of Politico reports a bill decriminalizing domestic violence has passed its first reading on this week in the Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament. The vote was 368 aye, 1 nay, and 1 abstention.
Under the proposed rule, the charge of “battery within the family,” currently a criminal offense, would become an administrative one, with a fine, community service or a brief prison term levied against perpetrators. Criminal charges would still be laid if the offense is committed two or more times in one year.
Yelena Mizulina, the conservative politician who also successfully pushed Russia’s “gay propaganda” rules, was behind the move. She claimed on Twitter that the change was necessary to bring domestic violence offenses into line with other battery charges.
Comrade Trump’s Vision
The Russian agitprop band Pussy Riot has released a video version of what they expect life will be like as Americans come to accept the New Glorious Leader Trump.
This is totally not suitable for workplace viewing and disturbing to watch. But it’s damn fine political art.
Activism du Jour: San Diego Fight for $15 Workers are joining with others around the nation in denouncing Trump’s pick for Labor Secretary at the Carl’s Jr located at 30th & El Cajon Blvd at Noon today:
In the run up to the Senate confirmation hearing of fast-food mogul Andy Puzder as U.S. Secretary of Labor, San Diego cooks and cashiers who are part of the Fight for $15 will lead a protest Thursday at a local Carl’s Jr.
In a nationwide wave of actions that day, underpaid fast-food workers from coast to coast will rally against Puzder, who is a symbol of the very rigged economy Donald Trump vowed to fix. As CEO of CKE Restaurants, which includes Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, Puzder presided over companies that stole workers’ wages, violated overtime laws, and forced employees onto public assistance.
The protest in San Diego is one of two dozen planned across the country Thursday ahead of Puzder’s confirmation hearing next week.
In an interview last year, Puzder said he prefers machines to workers because they “never take a vacation, they never show up late, there’s never a slip-and-fall, or an age, sex or race discrimination case.”
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