First things first: The only thing that actually happened in the stadium saga Tuesday was that the Chargers announced they are supporting the so-called Citizen’s Plan for San Diego, the hotel-room tax hike and land-use plan put together by attorney Cory Briggs and JMI Realty.
But that’s a big deal!
Refresh your understanding of the genius (and problems) in the plan here. It’s something that has unexpectedly united the former head of downtown redevelopment, Fred Maas with longtime civic activist Donna Frye, Briggs and former Padres owner John Moores.
This new alliance is about to face off with Mayor Kevin Faulconer and whatever network he assembles.
Or will it?
Here are some things to know:
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The headline for this story should read…
“Hoteliers Declare War on Resident Tax Payers. Faulconer Hired to Lead the Fight.”
This is because the real story here is the difference between Faulconer’s Plan and the Citizens Plan.
Faulconer’s Plan uses your tax money to finance expansion of the convention center and make a $350 million contribution to a new football stadium, if built in Mission Valley.
At the same time, it ensures the hoteliers maintain control over tourist tax money. The money they currently collect solely to promote their industry for their private gain.
The Citizens Plan does exactly the opposite.
It uses tourist tax money, not your money, to finance expansion of the convention center and make a public contribution to a stadium, if built downtown. It takes control of tourist taxes away from the hoteliers and gives it to the City Council, who can use it for parks and potholes, in addition to a convention center and football stadium.
Faulconer doesn’t want you to realize you’re paying when it comes to his plan. The reason is because his friends the hoteliers want to keep their control over tourist tax dollars for their own selfish and greedy needs. And they want you to pay for their convention center. Both save them money, leading to more private profit.
Focusing on the Chargers makes for boozy journalism but it hardly tells San Diegans what’s really going on.
@Bob Stein There is no "Citizens Plan" and the TOT money is our money.
Thank you for calling it the "so-called" citizens plan- I hate the way Brigg's uses words like that to act like he maneuvers under populist mandate. He doesn't. He's being paid off by JMI for this crap. He should t be allowed to call it the "citizens plan" until we see if the citizens actually support it. And what happened to Donna Frye?? She's gone mad. She could have thrown her hat in the race for mayor and actually done something good for our city, but instead she's soiling her once stellar and credible reputation by hitching herself to the Brigg's-JMI stadium development scam. I've honestly lost all respect for her and, as a one time supporter, would never vote for her for anything again. I thought she was better than the political charlatans SD is famous for, but she's proving she's just like them. I hope her, Briggs and JMI celebrate with champagne and beluga caviar if they win and are allowed to ruin downtown San Diego.
The biggest problem I see with the Chargers' plan is that it doesn't really address the needs of all parties. While the plan offers the convention center more space, it shrugs off the need for additional contiguous space — something the convention center requires to compete with other convention destinations. Worse, if the TOT is increased to levels equitable to other tourist destinations, the convention center becomes greatly disadvantaged, as criteria for choosing convention destinations begin to level off w/o San Diego gaining some advantage over their competitors. Those who book large conventions look at all kinds of factors: contiguous space, meeting rooms, beds, TOT, climate, etc... San Diego has been successful to this point by being very competitive in these areas. That equation is changing as other convention destinations in the west (Anaheim, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Phoenix) increase their available space, though often with higher TOT. If the TOT becomes equal, but the available space does not, it's unlikely that large events will choose San Diego when they can go to Anaheim or LA.
The point, here, is that the Chargers and their partners (and the city, as well) have to be more active in addressing the needs of the convention center. They can't just say, "hey, here's more space, it may not be the space you want, but I'm sure you can convince potential clients that it's somehow better that taking their event to Las Vegas."
@johnpurlia Another point is that in order to attract conventions to town, discounts on convention center rent and room rates are offered to convention planners for the bigger events which, in turn, reduces the amount of income to the center and lowers the amount of actual tax collected.
Comic-Con issued a statement that they aren't interested in an off site convention center expansion and no other large convention is going to come to San Diego to split their convention between two buildings 10 blocks apart while limited to the scheduling whims of the NFL. This is an all time dumb idea even for San Diego.
I've heard Donna Frye and Charger's representatives both misleading people saying this would "save comic con"
I think we know what the real CON is here
If the other major hotel owners decide to join the Citizen's Plan initiative coalition, look for the mayor and Roberts to jump on the bandwagon. If they insist on turning this into a political and legal battle between Mayor Falcouner and Jan Goldsmith on one
side and Steve Peace, Cory Briggs, the Chargers and many of the big hotel owners, my money is on Peace and Briggs.
Richard Lawrence has been a prominent African American and advocate for everyday San Diegans for a very long time. I'm glad to see his involvement with this group and eager to better understand the contours of the Citizens' Plan before a vote comes.
Let’s understand a few more things:
1. Dean Spanos sudden discovery of his undying love for San Diego is about as believable as Donald Trump’s comb-over. Spanos finally came to the realization that the L.A. plan was actually quite risky for him, because he would have to develop a currently non-existent fan base in L.A. in order to sell seats, a lot of work he’s not used to. The L.A. mayor’s advice to “stay put” seemed a warning shot that he wouldn’t be getting any favors from that city.
2. It’s still all about the money. Apparently unnoticed, except in the U-T this morning, is the claim that Ron Roberts advised the team that the millions he and the mayor “pledged” were not available for a downtown site, only at the Mission Valley location. If true, this is a healthy development for taxpayers on it’s face, but if you think the cabal being created plans to totally privately finance any development downtown, you believe in the “warmth” of Ted Cruz’ smile.
3. Remember who is involved here . First, there’s Fred Maas, “Mr. Redevelopment”, who is nothing if not adept at somehow getting the public to pay for private properties downtown. And, of course there’s John Moores who was handed, at fire sale rates, huge amounts of very valuable property downtown and left the city with a ballpark that drains $11 mil annually out the General Fund to keep up with debt service on Petco Park. Moores has since made a lot of money developing property he acquired in the Petco con. And, of course, the Chargers have a history of being quite clever, when push comes to shove, at extracting large amounts of public funds for their benefit. Voter beware! The devil will be in complex details, unless this clever group figures out a way to avoid a public vote.
4. Does the potential alliance of Donna Frye/Corey Briggs and Moores/Maas/Spanos sound to you like a workable deal? More like a Clinton/Rubio ticket, I’d say. The only thing you can be certain of is that Scott and his crew are looking forward to the juicy stories that are going to surface as this dance progresses. If the mayor and the Chargers are now “openly fighting”, that may be a positive thing. It means Faulconer realizes that the Chargers are neither indispensable to the city nor to his personal political future. The Chargers are now hardly the local equivalent of Social Security as a “third rail” for politicians.
@Bill Bradshaw "Donald Trump’s comb-over," "the “warmth” of Ted Cruz’ smile," "Clinton/Rubio ticket" . . . Let me guess, you wish Barack Obama could have a third term! I feel the same way! :)
@Bill Bradshaw and Donna Frye is part of the "cabal"? Who would have thunk it!
@Bit-watcher @Robert Cohen @Bill Bradshaw My guess is that she is supporting the Citizen's Plan because from what I understand it will include a provision for extensive park land along the SD River at the Qualcomm site. If she can get a big park out of the deal then she may feel that other aspects of the plan or that the potential for public funding of a stadium, which she has opposed in the past, is worthwhile.
@Bill Bradshaw Trump doesnt have a comb-over. It's a rug, just like Jan Goldsmith has one. Both of their rugs are as ugly as all get out.
I again predict that:
A) the initiative is too complex; people will not vote for something they cannot understand, and
B) even if it were approved, court challenges sure to follow assure that it will not be implemented.
I'm no fan of Carl DeMaio, but he's promised to sue if this thing takes shape. I will support him 100% if he does that. I'm a liberal who has long respected Donna Frye and reviled Mr DeMaio, but roles are reversed now and on this particular issue DeMaio has it right and Donna is completely incorrect
Fair enough, but she's not backing away from it and appears to be doubling down on it. I would be willing to hear her reasoning, so far the only thing I've heard is that the plan might somehow open up the possibility of a park along the riverfront in MV. I'm all for that, but I think the Brigg's plan has far too many negatives to support it for that simple trade-off
While I basically agree, I think you are being a bit too simplistic.
Donna Frye is a part of San Diegans for Open Government and supported the original Briggs plan as such. But, now that the originally-simple plan has grown much more complex, and some of the power players are also lining up behind it, I don't think she should be held to account for it. It's Briggs, Moores and the Chargers' plan now.
I haven't seen any recent comments by Frye, but there's plenty of time before election day to shake-out the details of her support or lack of it.
And... in any case, I still stand by my prediction.
@michael-leonard The Briggs plan was a scam from the beginning. The initiative hasn't changed drastically it's just now being exposed as the horribly flawed legislation that's a give away to Briggs' special interest backers.
Interesting choice by Spanos. Let's say the innitiative passes. Undoubtedly, someone is going to sue to stop it being fufilled. In so doing, the Chargers would not be able to meet the January, 2017 deadline to say whether they want to join Kronke in L.A. I believe that they could have another year extension on that, but by then the Rams would have built their fan base over 2 seasons , and the success of another team joining them at that point is dubious. So it seems that Spanos is betting the house on San Diego, with the Mayor made to be an adversary! Very strange.
There are far too many hurdles for this to pass, and football is not a city sport - only 8-10 games per year! Facilitiy will sit idle most of the time.
Too bad. Mission Valley was a great location. Most other stadiums are located at least an hour outside the city.
I won't be supporting this proposal. I wish the Chargers would just leave so we can work on getting another team with more reasonable expectations.
@Desde la Logan Don't know if it means the end to Barrio Logan but an opportunity to connect Barrio Logan to the East Village would seem to be lost if the stadium gets built there. Stadiums are huge buildings and just like the I-5 cut off Barrio Logan from the rest of downtown, a hulking, bulk of a building will add to the walling off effect.
@Robert Cohen @Desde la Logan I completely agree, Robert. The Barrio would surely get bombarded with traffic on game days and some parking lots for the stadium could even end up in the barrio. But, this stadium (plus basement convention center) would definitely act as a large physical barrier and retardant against the convergence of East Village and Barrio Logan.
Public subsidies for new stadia in California are a thing of the past. Getting involved in extreme subsidy intrigue games gets you nothing when all scores are finally settled. Someone should tell Spanos to get used to it and stop terrorizing San Diego with Taliban tactics.
The mayor is headed toward a showdown where he will piss of either his big hotel owner contributors or the Chargers and all their fans in San Diego. Let's see which master he decides to serve.
When you lose your lawsuits against the city far more often than you win, do you really get to be described as "often successful"?