By Doug Porter
The city of Boston, Massachusetts bailed on its grand plans for hosting the 2024 Olympics yesterday and Los Angeles immediately became the next contender.
This development could be a game changer when it comes to the NFL’s thought processes on the future of the San Diego Chargers franchise. An Olympic bid would provide additional impetus towards getting another venue built in LA.
The United State Olympic Committee has until September to figure out an alternative location. The chatter in the press is that the best option remaining is Los Angeles, host to the 1932 and 1984 games. LA’s proposed a bid centered on several clusters of venues including Exposition Park, Downtown, one along the LA River, the Westside, Long Beach, and –ta! da! –Carson.
The USOC spent nearly two years on a mostly secret domestic selection process for 2024 that began with letters to almost three dozen cities gauging interest in hosting the Games. The thought was that the long gap between Olympics, combined with the USOC’s vastly improved relationship with international leaders, would make this America’s race to lose. But the federation ran into trouble before getting to the starting line.
There’s still time to save face. Chairman Larry Probst and Blackmun likely will make quick phone calls to leaders in Los Angeles, including Mayor Eric Garcetti and agent/power broker Casey Wasserman. Garcetti released a statement saying he’d had no contact with the USOC but was willing to talk.
From the Los Angeles Times:
The L.A. proposal emphasizes affordability, with a majority of events held at existing venues such as Staples Center, Pauley Pavilion and a potentially renovated Memorial Coliseum.
An NFL stadium could also come into play by 2024.
This sports infrastructure could make the financial guarantees included in the IOC’s host city contract less worrisome and would fit with Agenda 2020, a series of reforms that, among other things, seek to make the Games less expensive to host.
The September deadline for the USOC is just one in a series. Applicant cities have to formally submit plans and financial guarantees by January 8th, 2016. In May next year the International Olympic Committee will announce cities that have officially been accepted as candidates.
After jumping through various hoops, including on site evaluations and attendance by observers from each candidate city at the 2016 Rio games, the final decision will be announced in September 2017.
In 2014 San Diego was one of nearly 34 US cities approached by the U.S. Olympic Committee to make a bid for the 2024 games. An earlier concept for a joint bid with Tijuana was rejected by the IOC.
Los Angeles at this point would be considered as the US entrant for the 2024 games. Other nations are vying to become the venue as well.
From the Times of San Diego:
Potential foreign bidders include Rome; Nairobi, Kenya; Casablanca, Morocco; Johannesburg and Durban, South Africa; Doha, Qatar; Melbourne, Australia; Paris; Hamburg, Germany; and St. Petersburg, Russia.
The United States did not make a bid to host the 2020 Summer Olympics, which were awarded to Tokyo in 2013. Los Angeles sought to be the U.S. candidate to host the 2016 Games but was beaten by Chicago, whose bid was ultimately rejected by the International Olympic Committee in favor of Rio de Janeiro.
Stadium Drama Continues in San Diego
Meanwhile, there were developments in San Diego’s quest for a new stadium that would keep the Chargers in town. NFL bigwigs are in town for a meeting with the Mayor, who’s already scheduled a post meeting press conference with City Attorney Jan Goldsmith.
From the Union-Tribune:
A group of NFL officials is coming to San Diego so local stadium negotiators can outline progress they’ve made on environmental approvals, explain how city voters could approve a stadium by the NFL’s January deadline and answer questions about how financing would work.
A city spokesman said San Diego officials also plan to seek guidance on an Aug. 10 presentation regarding local stadium progress they are scheduled to make in Chicago to the NFL’s relocation committee — a group of six team owners overseeing possible franchise moves to Los Angeles.
The day after that presentation, all 32 NFL owners are scheduled to meet in Chicago to discuss how to handle relocations to the Los Angeles area, where the Chargers, Oakland Raiders and St. Louis Rams are working on stadium projects.
The football execs are looking to determine whether or not the expedited Environmental Impact Report (EIR) has a realistic chance of success. (Not likely) They’re also going to say “show me the money,” as in an actual financing plan.
There were two developments on the financial front yesterday.
NBC7 reported that County Supervisor Ron Roberts is looking to tap the “Neighborhood Reinvestment Program Funds” (aka supervisors’ slush funds) to the tune of another $500,000 for costs associated with negotiating a new stadium deal.
In a July 15 statement released to NBC 7 Investigates, Roberts’ office specifically said the supervisor would ask his colleagues to approve the additional $500,000 “if the Chargers return to active negotiations.”
So far the team has not done so, and it shows no sign of rejoining the stadium negotiations.
Despite that, Roberts is still supporting the expenditure of another $500,000.
Scott Lewis at Voice of San Diego took a long look at the financing options available for the city and the county and concluded that any financing plan will inevitably include taxpayer dollars.
In a preview of Tuesday’s meeting, the Union-Tribune’s David Garrick wrote that, in addition to straight general fund money, we have another option: “And the city also has other potential revenue streams, such as $700 million in remaining capacity to sell lease-revenue bonds, where the city raises money by using city buildings as collateral for bond sales.”
This is kind of alarming. First of all, that’s also general fund money. It’s not a separate spigot of cash. Here’s Liam Dillon’s excellent, timeless explainer of how those lease-revenue bonds work. So far, they’ve been crucial for the city’s much touted but still insufficient investments in major infrastructure repairs.
We would have to pay those bonds off with money that could otherwise pay for streets, parks, police, firefighters, lifeguards and all the other things the general fund can handle.
How on to your wallets, folks. I’m sensing a major
snowjob sales pitch on the way.
First World Problems in Balboa Park
The Irwin Jacobs funded plan for a Balboa Park parking garage may be dead, but that hasn’t stopped the quest for more parking, as Tom Fudge’s recent story on KPBS indicated.
It’s late morning on a Residents Free Tuesday in Balboa Park when museums offer free admission and families flock to the park. In the parking lots, cars drive in circles hoping to spy that one parking place that everyone else has missed.
“Residents Tuesday is insane!” said San Diego mom My Ly, whose two little boys laugh as they dash around the fountain in front of the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center. “Everybody wants to come to Balboa Park because it’s the place to be. It took us about 30 minutes to find parking.”
Occasional SDFP contributor John P Anderson was aghast at the story, firing back via Facebook:
Instead of preserving our park space we are actively trying to pave more and more and more of it to accommodate vehicle parking. If parking were difficult, this might be a cause worth considering.
But facts like usage of existing parking spots won’t be found in articles like this or conversations with our “Balboa Park leaders”. Maybe a quick anecdote to note that yes, there are almost always open parking spots, but then back to visions of parking garages and multi-million dollar roadways that taxpayers will pay for.
Fresh on the heels of a huge parking garage built by the San Diego Zoo (which all San Diego property owners pay for) we have visions of parking on the East Mesa (which is already a parking lot used by city trucks), and a parking garage behind the Organ Pavilion.
More parking, more cars, more pavement. Less open space, worse air, and more congestion. Everybody clap.
The problem–with the exception of special events–is that people tend to look for parking in all the wrong places. One solution not involving asphalt or bulldozers would be an app and/or electronic signage indicating where parking (and shuttle service) is available.
The buildings in Balboa Park (to put it nicely) are in poor repair. There’s little or no money to fix them. But somehow parking is the priority. Really?
More Austerity, Less Schools for Puerto Rico
Having spent some time in the general vicinity of Puerto Rico, I’d never make the claim that the local government is efficient or effective. But this tidbit, via The Guardian is simply short sighted over-the-top corporate greed:
Billionaire hedge fund managers have called on Puerto Rico to lay off teachers and close schools so that the island can pay them back the billions it owes.
The hedge funds called for Puerto Rico to avoid financial default – and repay its debts – by collecting more taxes, selling $4bn worth of public buildings and drastically cutting public spending, particular on education.
The group of 34 hedge funds hired former International Monetary Fund (IMF) economists to come up with a solution to Puerto Rico’s debt crisis after the island’s governor declared its $72bn debt “unpayable” – paving the way for bankruptcy.
The funds are “distressed debt” specialists, also known as vulture funds, and several have also sought to make money out of crises in Greece and Argentina, the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the near collapse of Co-op Bank in the UK.
The report, entitled For Puerto Rico, There is a Better Way, said Puerto Rico could save itself from default if it improves tax collection and drastically cuts back on public spending.
It accused the island, where 56% of children live in poverty, of spending too much on education even though the government has already closed down almost 100 schools so far this year.
Popcorn Shortage Alert
I had no idea until this morning that the first debates of this presidential cycle were scheduled for Thursday, August 6th.
Fox News is limiting the debate to the top ten GOP candidates as determined by cumulative poll standings on August 4th. Which is why we’re likely to hear increasingly outrageous quips as lower ranked wannabes vie for attention.
In a related story, 10News reported on Rainbow Party Sales in Barrio Logan brisk business in Donald Trump pinatas. They’re only $29.95.
On This Day: 1750 – Johann Sebastian Bach died after an unsuccessful eye operation. 1869 – Women shoemakers in Lynn, Mass., created Daughters of St. Crispin, demanding pay equal to that of men. 1932 – At the order of Pres. Herbert Hoover, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, Maj. George S. Patton and Maj. Dwight D. Eisenhower led troops, tanks and cavalry to disperse the “Bonus Army” of World War I veterans camped in Washington, D.C.
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