By Doug Porter
The press conference staged by Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s Citizens’ Stadium Advisory Group (CSAG) hadn’t even happened yet when one well-connected reporter took to the twitter, saying the National Football League wasn’t going to be receptive to their ideas.
Early Monday morning news accounts were all about how the group had arrived at a plan for a new football stadium in San Diego with no tax increase required.
UPDATE: See reactions to the deal in Tuesday’s edition.
Interestingly enough, the announcement did not include any elected officials. Former Mayor Jerry Sanders was the highest profile person listed on the press release.
A 1:00 p.m. media conference has been scheduled for Monday at the County Operations Center in Kearny Mesa where plans for the new stadium, including the general architectural look and the financing plan to get it built at the current Mission Valley site will be revealed.
Here’s the part that will knock your socks off: sources close to the process say the group has found a way to build the $1.2 billion facility without asking citizens of San Diego County for a tax raise.
Sports Business Journal Reporter Daniel Kaplan passed along a general overview of the plan, saying he’d already heard it wasn’t being “well received in NFL circles; too much team money, process, length of time, location.”
Saying the NFL favored “the Minnesota model, about half team, half gov’t,” the reporter’s tweets indicated the plan for the Chargers stadium was “very favorable loans, more loan than grant.”
Now, of course, this is just one reporter talking. But what he is saying is consistent with what’s been reported about the NFL’s expectations.
Here’s the 10News preview of the plan:
There was no immediate word on how much the Chargers would contribute to the plan. However, Tommy Powell, communications director for the grassroots fan-based organization Save Our Bolts, told 10News Monday that his group saw the full plan Friday night. Under the proposal, the Chargers will contribute $300 million, Powell said. However, they will get all that money back by taking 100 percent of the revenue from personal seat licenses and stadium naming rights. The Chargers brass allegedly reached an agreement on their portion of the funding in a meeting with the CSAG last week.
While the CSAG will recommend circumventing a public vote, the task force expects there will be one anyway, Powell said. It would also only require a simple majority of 50.1 percent to pass, and not the two-thirds vote, if there were no tax increases included in the proposal.
I’m sure most of the San Diego media will be falling all over themselves to cheerlead whatever plan emerges. They’ll ignore the fact that Mayor “Never Miss a Photo Op” Faulconer didn’t appear at the presser. There was a late morning press release saying hizzonor and the City attorney wold take questions from the media later in the afternoon. And this: “The recommendations in the CSAG report will provide a starting point for formal negotiations with Chargers owner Dean Spanos.”
If you’d like to cut through the bs on these reports, I’d suggest by starting with Liam Dillion’s What to Watch for in a Chargers Stadium Deal at Voice of San Diego, which concludes:
City leaders are going to try to pretend that a new stadium won’t cost us a dime. It will. And spending money on a stadium means we won’t be spending it elsewhere, on more library hours or police and fire services.
There’s also a cost in terms of opportunities. A public vote on a stadium could crowd out other public votes that would involve taxpayer dollars for services. The stadium has already sucked up lots of attention. A long-discussed ballot measure for November 2016 to upgrade the city’s rotting infrastructure, for instance, is withering away with inaction.
Here’s a copy of the financing plan released today. There are lots of assumptions and big IFs.
Here’s the money quote from UT-San Diego:
County and city taxpayers would contribute $120 million each, but no tax increases would be required because the money would come from each agency’s general fund over a 30-year period.
Big Whoop at Dems Convention
Last weekend saw the California’s Democrats gather in Anaheim. National and statewide and local figures all made speeches. And some delegates even heard them, in between slipping off to Disneyland for outings.
Much media attention was directed at the appearance of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who gave a perfectly respectable speech..
It’s hard to follow Elizabeth Warren, but Toni Atkins blew the doors off!!! #atthetable #CADem15 pic.twitter.com/1KhhpwRAY1
— Laura Fink (@laurakfink) May 16, 2015
The ‘scandal’ stemming from Rep. Loretta Sanchez’s ill advised gestures got tons of press. The recently declared Senate candidate raised her hand to her mouth in imitation of an ululating Native American “war cry.” A video made by a supporter of her opponent made the rounds.
From the Los Angeles Times:
Sanchez’s stumble Saturday occurred at a restaurant gathering of Indian American Democrats. She was joking with the group about an occasion when she confused a Native American with an Indian American. The political backlash soured the mood of her “mambo and margaritas” reception later in the day.
The dust-up came as little surprise to those who recalled Sanchez’s racy Christmas cards or the furor over her plan, later abandoned, to throw a party at the Playboy Mansion during the Democratic National Convention in 2000.
For Sanchez, a 10-term congresswoman who has never run for statewide office, the main problem now will be less with voters than with potential donors. Her campaign could require $20 million or more, all of it in donations of no more than $2,700, the federal limit.
Sanchez made a public apology for the comment in a speech on Sunday morning to convention delegates.
Meanwhile, a report in the Sacramento Bee says Republicans are thinking they can use the drought for leverage in 2016 California campaigns.
…If the state remains dry over the winter, Republicans expect to feature the drought heavily in campaigns. Republican Assemblywoman Shannon Grove, a vocal critic of Democratic policies on water, complained about an unsuccessful GOP-backed bill designed to streamline environmental review for the Sites Reservoir in the Sacramento Valley and Temperance Flat on the San Joaquin River.
…Dave Gilliard, a Republican who works on congressional and legislative campaigns, said GOP candidates next year will promote the idea that Democrats “are out to punish suburbia and rural California” with their drought-related policies.
Democrats in targeted House and legislative races in the Central Valley and Inland Empire, he said, “are going to be put on the spot to answer for the government leadership they are part of.”
Getting Naked for Fun And Clicks
Coverage of UCSD’s Visual Arts 104A: Performing the Self has been largely a sad commentary of the state of the journalism craft these days.
Here’s a snip of the story on 10News that started a worldwide frenzy:
A UC San Diego professor is reportedly requiring that his students take their final exam for a visual arts class completely in the nude.
Associate Professor Ricardo Dominguez has been teaching Visual Arts 104A: Performing the Self for 11 years.
“The class that focuses on the history of body art and performance art in relation to the question of the self or subjectivity,” Dominguez told 10News by phone Friday.
A mother of a woman in his class claims that her daughter was forced to perform nude for her final in the class, or risk getting a failing grade.
- The woman and/or her mother never voiced any objections to the professor.
- The course has been taught at UCSD for 11 years without a single complaint.
- The student could skip the final exam and still potentially get a B minus in the course.
And then there’s this detail, from Mic.com:
The irony here is that these headlines are wrong, just like the student’s mother is wrong: Dominguez’s students are not “forced” to get naked, or to do anything. It seems everyone has failed to do the one thing professors advise all students at the beginning of the semester: Read the syllabus.
It’s in the syllabus: In this case, it seems neither the mother nor the media actually read this document that every student gets. Dominguez told Mic in a written statement that the syllabus states students do not have to get physically naked: “Students learn that they can do the gesture in any number of ways without actually having to remove their clothes,” he said. “There are many ways to perform nudity or nakedness, summoning art history conventions of the nude or laying bare of one’s ‘traumatic’ or most fragile and vulnerable self. One can ‘be’ nude while being covered.”
UT-San Diego, to their credit, did get the story right:
Typical headlines read “Strip naked or fail at UCSD” and “Students forced to take finals naked.” The satirical news site The Onion used the issue in its “American Voices” column, and television commentator Nancy Grace tackled the topic while raising the question, “Why? Why do I have to see his hairy body naked?”
By the end of the week, Dominguez said he had received calls from reporters across the country and from Moscow, South Korea and Ireland.
He does not know which student had an issue with the assignment, because he said he was never approached by her. Other students in his class were more uncomfortable with the media attention than being nude in class.
Building More Freeways is Good for Buses(?)
Last week the San Diego Association of Governments began a series of seven workshops showcasing its new, revised regional transit plan, ‘San Diego Forward.’
Their old plan was finally abandoned after SANDAG lost a series of (still ongoing) court challenges and appeals brought about environmentalist claims that the plan failed to address state mandates for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
They may have lost in court, but it seems doubtful that SANDAG got the point.
The environmental impact report on the new version hasn’t yet been released, but [Environmental Health Coalition’s Monique] López and other environmentalists aren’t seeing enough changes.
“There are a few nuances here and there, a few new plans included, a few other plans not included, but it’s essentially the same thing because of the way the funding is structured,” López said. “It’s still weighted towards freeways instead of transit, biking and walking.”
“The plan has new language, which is refreshing and good. However, we don’t see any change in policy or funding structure, and that’s what really counts in terms of transportation planning,” Jack Shu, president of the Cleveland National Forest Foundation, told KPBS Midday Edition. His foundation sued over the 2011 plan.
Then there’s this lovely quote from Dave Rice’s reporting at the Reader:
“I’d love to be able to get you out to your camping trip in the Cleveland National Forest on a trolley,” quipped Metropolitan Transit System chief of staff Sharon Cooney, responding to Shu’s analysis of the MTS system as “the worst in the state.”
Cooney also expressed support for more road construction as a means of providing better bus service, which remains the biggest component of the region’s mass-transit system. “When we do transit, we’ve got to think about what gets the biggest bang for the buck.”
This new SANDAG plan will be open to public review over the summer and then an updated version will be adopted in the fall.
The Real Cost of Fossil Fuel: $10,000,000 per Minute
It seems appropriate to end today’s column with a snip from the Guardian.
Fossil fuel companies are benefiting from global subsidies of $5.3tn (£3.4tn) a year, equivalent to $10m every minute of every day, according to a startling new estimate by the International Monetary Fund.
The IMF calls the revelation “shocking” and says the figure is an “extremely robust” estimate of the true cost of fossil fuels. The $5.3tn subsidy estimated for 2015 is greater than the total health spending of all the world’s governments.
The vast sum is largely due to polluters not paying the costs imposed on governments by the burning of coal, oil and gas. These include the harm caused to local populations by air pollution as well as to people across the globe affected by the floods, droughts and storms being driven by climate change.
Lord Nicholas Stern, an eminent climate economist at the London School of Economics, said: “This very important analysis shatters the myth that fossil fuels are cheap by showing just how huge their real costs are. There is no justification for these enormous subsidies for fossil fuels, which distort markets and damages economies, particularly in poorer countries.
On This Day: 1912 – In what may have been baseball’s first labor strike, the Detroit Tigers refused to play after team leader Ty Cobb was suspended for going into the stands and beating a fan who had been heckling him. Cobb was reinstated and the Tigers went back to work after the team manager’s failed attempt to replace the players with a local college team: their pitcher gave up 24 runs. 1980 – Mt. Saint Helens erupted in Washington state. 57 people were killed and 3 billion in damage was done. 2003 – “Les Miserables” closed after 6,680 shows and 16 years on Broadway.
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norma damashek says
Doug — I am always impressed by your thoughtful, intelligent wrap-up of daily news issues.
Frankly, your skills and breadth of coverage take my breath away. Thank you for what you do for readers(most) every day!
bob dorn says
Thanks, especially, for that Guardian clipping about subsidies for fossil fuel. Fossil fuel abuse — like, like voter suppression, like the candidacy of Bernie Sanders, like starvation budgets for government services — is simply ignored by the network news’ boys and girls. Mainstream media buries stories like the IMF report on welfare for oil, while it substitutes jokes about the Kardashians and frantic coverage of ISIS and the Republican Eleven who try every day to out-goonboggle each other. There are literally thousands of investigative journalists out there who’d like a little more than two days and an inside page to expose the damages being done to the U.S. and the world by the misbehavior of our own Corporate State. But, we know that journalism has become too expensive in a corporate world where jobs are being replaced by research grants for robots who’ll do the work; they don’t require salaries and, eeuew, those icky pensions. So thank you, Doug Porter, for continuously shedding light on the few stories that are getting through. Now… back to the dog that saved the cat from a serial rapist.
David Lundin says
OK–The official “Screw the Taxpayers” Proposal from Faulconer is public:
1. $120,000,000 in general fund revenues [TAX revenues] from the City;
2. $120,000,000 in general fund revenues [Tax revenues] from the County;
3. $225,000.000 in a GIFT of City-owned property;
4. The damn thing will cost more than 1.1 billion;
5. The City General fund will be liable for all cost over-runs;
6. The Chargers are to pay $10,000,000 a year in rent , That will NEVER happen in fact. Any lease will be so one-sided, have so many exclusions and loopholes that the City will end up paying the Chargers every year. That is the current state of affairs, and nothing will change: and
7. The Chargers would be “reimbursed” for much of their $300,000,000 cash “contribution” with half of the revenue from seat licenses — about $60 million — and as much as $185 million or more in naming rights for the stadium , These are to be “credited” to the Chargers. Making their real “contribution” $55.000.000 or less.
John Lawrence says
Pulling the wool over taxpayers’ eyes. How many Chargers’ fans can even comprehend the machinations of these financial gurus? If they were capable of it, they probably wouldn’t be Chargers fans. They’d find something better to do with their leisure time.
Tom 2 says
Even if the $10M/yr rent happens, it and the Aztecs & bowl game rents all appear to be dedicated to the building, as in covering construction bonds. So where do operating and maintenance funds come from? What about security & police & paramedics & traffic control for events?
The report recommends that the city “retire” the $52M remaining debt on the last remodel of Qualcomm, so the funds currently going to that debt payment and operations can cover the $120M. Where does that $52M come from?
Also, as Don Bauder noted in the Reader, the $200M from the NFL is a loan, but the report never states who or what will pay that loan back.
I don’t know why I expected a report with complete numbers and accounting, but I did. Silly me.
Greg Martin says
“Cooney also expressed support for more road construction as a means of providing better bus service.”
General use lanes or on-street parking lanes could be converted to transit lanes, as was supposed to occur with the Mid-City Rapid route. To do so requires no new road construction. The same applies with freeways where existing general use lanes could be converted for transit/HOV without requiring any new construction. It’s not necessary to do more road building to get better bus service. It just takes political will.