Taxpayers Owning the Chargers: What the Mayoral Candidates Say

Taxpayers Owning the Chargers: What the Mayoral Candidates Say

Photo by Sam Hodgson

Chargers player Bob Sanders

 

The news that the Green Bay Packers have again issued stock to sell to fans dug up an idea we’ve explored on these pages: What if San Diego taxpayers got a share of the Chargers for any investment in a new football stadium?

That is, after all, what potential stadium developers in Los Angeles are asking for in exchange for their contribution.

Candidate and Congressman Bob Filner likes the idea of some form of public ownership. He said this in an Oct. 19 debate:

I will work with them, whatever they want to do. What if they give the city a piece of their profits, a piece of the ownership, a piece of their team? Why don’t they give back to the city that they want support from? Then we’ll work with them very closely. Thank you.

Filner hasn’t been answering our questions in this series, so we decided to get him involved in some way. We asked his fellow mayoral contenders what they think of the idea of using public funding to support the team’s stadium bid in exchange for part ownership.

The following question was put to them:

“Your fellow candidate, Congressman Bob Filner has touted the idea of San Diego getting part ownership in the Chargers in exchange for any subsidy the city might provide in building the team’s new stadium. What do you think about this idea? Is it something that you would support the city getting involved with?”


Carl DeMaio, city councilman:

As Mayor, I will be committed to negotiating a deal with the Chargers that makes financial sense for taxpayers. I want to see the Chargers stay in San Diego and will do everything I can as Mayor to make sure that happens, but I don’t believe we need to put additional taxpayer dollars on the line to do so.

My years of experience as a businessman and negotiator makes me the best candidate to work out a good deal for taxpayers on this issue. While other candidates talk about providing subsidies to the Chargers, I believe that we can keep the team here without handing out millions of taxpayer dollars to the team.


Bonnie Dumanis, district attorney:

I want the Chargers to remain in San Diego. The Chargers are an important part of our community, and there’s a great deal the city can do to develop a sports and entertainment district downtown that would benefit San Diego, but we can’t do it on the backs of taxpayers. We need to keep the Chargers here through smart, creative solutions that don’t result in shifting taxpayer resources away from vital city services like public safety, fixing streets, and repairing/upgrading our infrastructure.


Bob Filner, congressman:

Since the basis of the question was Congressman Filner’s idea, it wasn’t put to him. He hasn’t been answering them anyways.

 


Nathan Fletcher, assemblyman:

Bob Filner apparently failed to read the NFL bylaws, which prohibit public ownership (partial or otherwise) of NFL teams. The Green Bay Packers are an exception, grandfathered in when the league was originally formed.

For those of us seeking realistic solutions to retaining the Chargers, the best opportunity lies in building a regional asset that is used hundreds of days a year, a few of which are football. We should create an environment around such a facility that truly redefines part of our city and brings good-paying local jobs to San Diego. Instead of a sports and entertainment district, let’s create a sports and innovation district. This district would bring in creative economies through bold ideas like the IDEA district and help create good-paying innovative economy jobs like San Francisco created near their downtown ballpark.

We can do this by partnering with other governmental entities in the region and without using city general fund revenue.


David Cardon, real estate broker:

I feel that the City should NOT make this investment at this time. Financially we are in the red and we need to focus on City Departments, Personnel, and Assets. As Mayor of the City of San Diego, I would try to facilitate and help to keep the Chargers here in San Diego…With that being said, I would also remind the Chargers that we need to keep the City looking beautiful and in top working order, including street maintenance, beach conservation, and property maintenance…


Hud Collins, trial attorney:

Congressman Filner’s idea (part ownership in the Charge in exchange for subsidy) is an awful idea on several fronts: apparently he doesn’t understand that the city is in a financial emergency and crisis. There should be no public money coming forth for a project like this. He isn’t familiar with the fact that we got racked over the coals with our involvement with Qualcomm stadium. There are other ways, outside of the box, to finance the Chargers stadium. To fund the stadium by a private/public partnership is ridiculous.

Among other things, what happens if the city is forced to file for bankruptcy – where would that leave the public/private partnership? With this country and city near recession again, and the fact that the city is at the point of filing for bankruptcy – the idea makes no sense.

With the Port of San Diego asking for $3 million a year for 20 years towards the funding is crazy. The city still has no confirmation of its audit opinion for FY 2010 (one year late); and now has pushed back two months – it’s 2011 CAFR. Services are at 32% and going down. Since the pension deficit is at $2.145B and the ARC payment on July 1st is approximately $327 million; it would be lunacy to entertain this idea! Something that the city of San Diego, I believe, should get involved with – how about the city Council/mayor start full-time at solving the financial crisis in this city. How about a pension reform idea that solves the pension forever! How about an idea on how to raise city services, now at 32%, back to 2001 levels. How about finding a way to have money available for the homeless, job creation, roads and maintenance etc, those are the type of things the city should be involved with immediately – solving of the financial energy and crisis.


Sunny O. Enyoghwerho, businessman:

The proposal put forward by Congressman Bob Filner is a good idea if the Chargers will agree to it. If the city is involved with the operation of the Chargers, it will create revenue for the city. Since I don’t know the city’s budget, I’m not sure whether the city has the money to build the Stadium. The majority of people that I spoke with want to keep the Chargers in San Diego. The city officials need to sit with the Chargers’ officials and work out the logistic amicably. If they agree to incorporate the city as a co-owner, it will benefit the city provided they have the money to meet the requirement of partnership.


Steve Greenwald, compassionate physician, businessman, and civic activist:

Although I enjoy watching the Chargers, I do not wish to own any part of the team. I would rent the present site of Qualcomm to Mr. Spanos for 99 years and encourage him to develop the commercial/residential/shopping/sports complex…property tax deferrals for 25 years can be entertained as well.


Tobiah Pettus, manager, commercial construction:

“America’s Finest City” is a City without homeless people on the streets, where the roads are brand new, where there is no litter to be seen. Creating such an environment for growth (along with dramatically lowering building permit fees and the time it takes to acquire building permits) will force the lead towards total economic recovery. We will make the old new. We will build “America’s Finest City”. This is my vision for San Diego. What is yours?

A new Chargers stadium in downtown San Diego, coupled with a new professional NBA arena, expansion of San Diego’s Convention Center, and an expanded entertainment district in downtown San Diego is part of our vision for San Diego.

I don’t believe Alex Spanos will give up part ownership in the Chargers team. However, I would support Congressman Filner’s efforts to inspire President Obama to consider infusing $3 billion into San Diego’s infrastructure, as President Obama has already infused over $4,247 billion into our national economy. I would also support Congressman Filner’s efforts to inspire a company such as Apple, Google, or Microsoft, to consider the infusion of $1 – 3 billion into San Diego’s infrastructure for ownership of the new Charger Stadium, etc. http://www.MayorTobiahPettus.com


Scott Wilson, businessman:

This issue, while of interest to many, is not the primary focus of my campaign. My campaign is solely focused on raising awareness about the ramifications and repercussions of lifting the Alcohol Ban on beaches in San Diego. Check out more info at www.CrazyScott4Mayor.com


Lamii Kpargoi is an international fellow working with voiceofsandiego.org. He will be working on elections issues and media best practices in community relations. You can reach him directly at lamii.kpargoi@voiceofsandiego.org and 619.550.5671.

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20 comments
Bob Jones
Bob Jones subscriber

Who would want to see our politicians enter a part ownership deal with the Chargers? No thanks! Enough already!

rwj5125
rwj5125

Who would want to see our politicians enter a part ownership deal with the Chargers? No thanks! Enough already!

Will Dawson
Will Dawson subscriber

One thing you can be sure of, if you are a sports fan and live in San Diego you have to accept many years of promises followed by crushing disappointment

Sandawg
Sandawg

One thing you can be sure of, if you are a sports fan and live in San Diego you have to accept many years of promises followed by crushing disappointment

Will Dawson
Will Dawson subscriber

Just look at how the Liberty Station deal made McMillin millions and the city got ZERO!. If a $ 1,000,000,000.00 for a new Charger field makes so much economic sense why don't the NFL team owners build, own and operate them? The answer is that they don't make any $ if you have to make multi-million dollar payments on them.

Sandawg
Sandawg

Just look at how the Liberty Station deal made McMillin millions and the city got ZERO!. If a $ 1,000,000,000.00 for a new Charger field makes so much economic sense why don't the NFL team owners build, own and operate them? The answer is that they don't make any $ if you have to make multi-million dollar payments on them.

susanf
susanf subscribermember

someone needs to tell the chargers: don't count on any city or county financing for their new stadium. if they must have it, they can pay for it themselves.

susanf
susanf

someone needs to tell the chargers: don't count on any city or county financing for their new stadium. if they must have it, they can pay for it themselves.

Juan Mendez
Juan Mendez subscriber

Go, Chargers! Preferrably to L.A. or some other place. They are a luxury San Diego ( or the taxpayers ) can no longer afford. They can't even sell out the stadium after they win a game, why continue to force taxpayers to bail out a team that will never be Super Bowl contenders.

Juan
Juan

Go, Chargers! Preferrably to L.A. or some other place. They are a luxury San Diego ( or the taxpayers ) can no longer afford. They can't even sell out the stadium after they win a game, why continue to force taxpayers to bail out a team that will never be Super Bowl contenders.

Will Dawson
Will Dawson subscriber

$ 1,000,000,000.00 for a new venue and get ZERO revenue for that. This sounds like a real good deal for someone but not the taxpayers. Watch how Manchester and the UT call this the SOLUTION to keeping the Chargers here and why it is such a good deal for San Diego!

Sandawg
Sandawg

$ 1,000,000,000.00 for a new venue and get ZERO revenue for that. This sounds like a real good deal for someone but not the taxpayers. Watch how Manchester and the UT call this the SOLUTION to keeping the Chargers here and why it is such a good deal for San Diego!

John Eberst
John Eberst subscriber

Duhhhh! If owning a sports team without the benefit of a publicly financed stadium made financial sense owners wouldn't have to beg the public to do so. Sit back for a moment and give it some serious thought. We're about to be taken to the cleaners (again). Heck Manchester even bought the paper as a daily advertisement! Isn't this the craziness that OWS is protesting against?

ObviousMan
ObviousMan

Duhhhh! If owning a sports team without the benefit of a publicly financed stadium made financial sense owners wouldn't have to beg the public to do so. Sit back for a moment and give it some serious thought. We're about to be taken to the cleaners (again). Heck Manchester even bought the paper as a daily advertisement! Isn't this the craziness that OWS is protesting against?

Kirk Effinger
Kirk Effinger subscriber

I find it interesting and typical of the NFL that they are constantly pressuring the communities that are home to (or want to be home to) their franchises to step up and kick in hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to build sports palaces for their teams to play in, but won't deign to allow those same taxpayers to have a smidgin of ownership in the teams theselves.

Kirk Effinger
Kirk Effinger

I find it interesting and typical of the NFL that they are constantly pressuring the communities that are home to (or want to be home to) their franchises to step up and kick in hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to build sports palaces for their teams to play in, but won't deign to allow those same taxpayers to have a smidgin of ownership in the teams theselves.

David Crossley
David Crossley subscriber

As Fletcher stated, it will NEVER happen. It is against the bylaws of The League.

aardvark6
aardvark6

As Fletcher stated, it will NEVER happen. It is against the bylaws of The League.

Pat Seaborg
Pat Seaborg subscribermember

I am detecting a trend with Mr. Filner that is not impressing me.

pcs
pcs

I am detecting a trend with Mr. Filner that is not impressing me.