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Come with me into the fevered minds of the Chargers.

What’s that up ahead? Why, it’s a new stadium with a retractable roof, funded by the NFL, the Chargers, and maybe proceeds from junking/redeveloping the existing stadium and the Sports Arena! And more money too, since it’ll probably be needed. Look! The dollars are flowing from your pockets — if you live in the city and pay taxes — and mine, right to the new stadium!

Magic, all of it. But could it happen outside the dreams of a Chargers owner who ate too much pizza before going to bed?

In the first in a 12-part series about what to watch in 2012, Our Scott Lewis explores what the Chargers have in mind and compares it to reality.

For one, there’s the matter of whether voters will open their wallets.

Even though several mayoral candidates seem open to a role for taxpayer money, at least one prominent California conservative weighed in declaring that “if you want to build stadiums on taxpayer dime, you are NOT a conservative.”

So what could the Chargers do? Lewis finds several options, such as getting other local cities to help, selling shares in the team and the “convadium.”

• Will anyone want to see the Chargers play? Fans who’d rather see head coach Norv Turner and general manager A.J. Smith get the bum’s rush were disappointed yesterday. They’re sticking around, the U-T reports. A Sports Illustrated writer called it a commitment to mediocrity. Another, Jim Trotter, sent a dispatch back to his old digs at the U-T to blast Dean Spanos.

Politicians Pounce

Redevelopment was once considered vital for keeping the Chargers in San Diego.

But one against three. Zing! One against one. Boom! It’s pretty early in the mayoral race, but two of the major candidates are already slinging some mud over the future of redevelopment.

Liam Dillon collected the various angles rivals for mayor have taken on the program that allowed neighborhoods to keep property taxes and invest the money in construction projects. It was dependent on a state subsidy.

The state cut that funding and the state Supreme Court confirmed that was legal.

“The fact that all these power brokers and the mayor are so upset means it must be the right thing to do,” Rep. Bob Filner told the U-T.

Kapow!

Meanwhile, Councilman Carl DeMaio is blaming Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher for the secret midnight legislative deal that saved redevelopment, if only temporarily, but made Fletcher look less than Mr. Open Government. “The midnight deal absolutely contributed, and probably resulted in the end of redevelopment,” DeMaio told the Daily Transcript.

Zing!

Our roundup of the back-and-forth has more along with more Dillon thinks you might find interesting, including how redevelopment might rise from the dead.

Almost $300K for Art Partnerships

“There was grumbling,” the San Diego Foundation’s Felicia Shaw told us, when local arts institutions learned that the foundation wanted to move away from funding them directly. Instead, it would try giving money to artists.

“If we don’t support individual artists to do what they want to — not what you want them to do — they’ll move away to New York and Los Angeles, and our community will suffer,” Shaw said. “We have to do something directly for them.”

Arts institutions played a role by agreeing to showcase work by artists who got grants.

Now, we know who’s getting the money. We’ve got more details in an update about the program and the recipients, who hail from the fields of film, storytelling, music, dance and theater.  

In Case We Weren’t at the Top of Your Mind Lately

In the dark and cold of winter’s night, we sometimes ponder how our readers don’t spend every waking moment thinking about our work.

Darn those readers and their eventful and — we can only assume — their very fascinating lives!

Readers especially might let their attention wander during the holidays. Are you one of them? Have no fear about being out of the loop. We’ve tracked down that loop (it got lost on the way to a New Year’s Party in OB) and provide a quick rundown of the news from the past couple of weeks. Plus: a bouquet of Top 10 lists about everything from our work that had the most impact to a bunch of 2011 quotes that should make you grin.    

The Sculptress with the Most-ess and More from Arts

Our arts editor has returned from her native Canada, wherever that is (somewhere north of I-8, I reckon), and is back at work collecting the most important stories in the local arts scene in the weekly Arts Report.

Among the highlights: a sculptor who’s brought San Diego pioneers to life (or what passes for it in bronze), a song about the year in San Diego and one very big organ.

UCSD Called ‘Affordable’

The University of California, San Diego, was named one of the Top Ten values in public colleges for the country, Kiplinger magazine declared.

“UC-San Diego charges a lower sticker price than its sister schools in our top-ten rankings and delivers enough financial aid to bring the average cost after need-based aid to only $10,317,” Kiplinger wrote.

Name First, Place Last

The local newspaper’s new name that debuted yesterday — U-T San Diego — got me to thinking. And not just about how lots of newspapers have rude nicknames, like “Useless & Trivial” (U-T), the “Vicious Mess” (the defunct Vista Press) and, well, never mind what people called the T-A (the defunct Times Advocate of Escondido).

The U-T SD’s monicker should inspire changes at other places in town. Picture it: Zoo San Diego. Coronado Bridge San Diego. Padres San Diego. And down the line we can look forward to [Giant-Company-that-Got-Naming-Rights-Even-Though-Taxpayers-Paid-a-Ton-for-This-Darn-Thing] Stadium San Diego.

Catchy! Amiright, people? (Don’t let me know if I’m not right. I’m allergic to reality.)

Please contact Randy Dotinga directly at randydotinga@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.

Randy Dotinga

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at randydotinga@gmail.com...

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