By Dan Jauregui, aka “Boltman”
On April 4th, selected Chargers fans met with Dean Spanos and other Chargers representatives for an hour and a half to discuss a ballot initiative to fund building a stadium. Dan Jauregui, better known as “Boltman”, was among the invited guests. Here are his observations.
April 9, 2016 (San Diego) -- The start of the meeting entailed in-depth information regarding the Goldman Sachs finance plan. We fans received a better understanding in layman’s terms of all the players and entities involved.
Then Dean discussed the Citizens’ Initiative in depth. Dean seemed engaged with the fan groups and committed to working together to achieve a successful Citizens’ Initiative for an upcoming city-approved ballot measure for this November’s election.
He was very sincere when he shared how the fans and the citizens of the City and County of San Diego will play an important role moving forward. Mark Fabiani was present at the meeting and spoke as well, but it appeared that Dean fielded most of the Q &A question and was more engaged with the fans during the meeting. Dean took several questions from the fans and answered each one in detail. Both Dean’s sons, AG and John, were present at the meeting and personally greeted each and every fan there with a hand shake to thank us for our support. Philip Rivers also popped in to say hello to the fans.
The fan groups that were invited included the following: Save Our Bolts, Bolt Pride, San Diego Stadium Coalition, Boltman, the Charger Backers, Cali Comfort BBQ Restaurant, and You Know You’re A Charger Fan When.
He expressed the importance of key leaders like our Mayor Kevin Faulconer and city and business leaders in San Diego, including the hoteliers being willing to work with us to achieve success.
I was most impressed with the information that the Chargers are hiring a firm to mount a signature gathering effort that would break records if successful, as it is expected to be one of the most expensive signature gathering efforts ever for a Citizens’ Initiative. It would be completely paid for by the team. It would be the most anyone has ever paid to gather signatures. The confidential proposed price per signature multiplied by the projected hundred thousand signatures needed convinced me of Dean’s commitment that he clearly is all in. No one in their right mind would spend that kind of money per signature and not be completely committed to staying in San Diego, not even for a get-out-of-jail card, which some people may suspect as his motive.
As a dedicated Charger fan, it has been a very emotional rollercoaster ride going back to February of 2015 with all they uncertainty of the relocation politics from all the parties involved. And this narrative of political powers will unfortunately continue to this day and will most likely continue tell November 8, 2016 when we can vote on this issues.
I believe the fans had suffered the most and had to pay the emotional price tag. However, recently the tides have turned in my opinion, and Dean is clearly demonstrating in his good-faith efforts by reaching out to fans and our city leaders. I have been asked by many why I now support Dean Spanos and his proposed Downtown Stadium. The answer to that question is simply because Dean Spanos has clearly demonstrated that “ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS” as he is definitely engaging in good-faith negotiations with city hall and San Diego business leaders. Most fans want an apology…I prefer actions as words mean nothing in the end.
Time is clearly running out on all San Diegans who truly support having a new state-of-the-art stadium downtown. It’s time for our city leaders—in particular Mayor Kevin Faulconer, who I like and highly respect for working so hard with Ron Roberts, and our city attorney Jan Goldsmith—to keep the Chargers in San Diego.
My interpretation on the Downtown Stadium.
1. If you are a San Diego city resident, you won't pay a penny for this project. All funding comes from hotel taxes on visitors to San Diego. The city's general fund is not at risk. The Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) is charge OT money would go to a separate trust fund, which would be used to finance the bonds. No general fund involvement at all.
2. The amount of the public contribution to the stadium -- $350 million -- is exactly the same as what the city and county proposes last year. And the funding split is also the same as the city and county proposed last year: two thirds private sources and one third public. The cost is one billion for stadium. City contribution is $350 million. Chargers and NFL contribution is $650 million plus cost overruns on stadium portion.
3. The downtown plan creates enormous benefits for the city, allowing the Chargers to host the world's largest events while freeing up the Mission Valley land for SDSU and UCSD educational and recreational purposes long after most of us will be here.
It is our hopes that the three highly respected leaders continue their great efforts and to do what is best for San Diego’s economic future. Not doing so will lead to the city of San Diego, the eighth largest city in the country, losing its current NFL team forever. What would America’s finest city be without an NFL team?
This issue appears to be a no-brainer. Our city leaders should support a raise of the tourism tax by 6% for a Downtown Convadium. In addition, the City of San Diego is only being asked to contribute 35% of public money to build the stadium. The Chargers are responsible for any construction overrun cost.
Most cities that host NFL teams in their current markets have contributed an average of 50%, so this new proposal is not a bad deal for San Diego. Let’s get it done already! Most large cities in the U.S would be salivating at the opportunity to host an NFL team in their current markets. A united forefront from all will be needed to achieve success in the end.
The views in this editorial reflect the views of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of East County Magazine. To submit an editorial for consideration, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.