After threats by the Chargers forced it to speed up its work, the mayor’s stadium task force is out with a plan for a new home for the Chargers that aims to make just about everyone pay big, from city and county taxpayers to fans, the NFL and the team itself.
Here are the facts about the proposal:
• It estimates the new stadium at $1.1 billion.
• The Chargers would pay $300 million. The NFL would pay $200 million. The county would pay $121 million. And then there’s the city of San Diego.
• The city would do three major things: It would pay $121 million — or $7 million a year. (The task force points out we already lose a lot on Qualcomm Stadium every year. This would be less!) The city would also take $10 million a year in rent from the team and then borrow money against that. Finally, the city would also sell 75 acres of land at the site to a developer. The task force thinks the city can pull $225 million from that sale.
If you count the team’s rent, that’s at least $640 million in public assets to subsidize the team’s operations.
We’re poring over the documents and will report back soon.
The Chargers are non-committal, negotiations could change the picture and the City Council needs to weigh in. But one thing’s clear: While the task force plan doesn’t require public votes, city and county officials still plan to hold them, adding yet another complication to a complex big picture.
• ESPN.com says Dean Spanos, the owner of the Chargers, is stepping down from day-to-day management in order to focus on finding a new stadium for the team. His sons John and AG, both in their mid-30s, will take over football and business operations. Alex Spanos, the grandfather of John and AG, bought the team in 1984.
The U-T says the two sons have been “riding shotgun for years,” and “that it feels like a formality probably meant it was time.”
• U-T sports writer Nick Canepa, a longtime hallelujah chorus for a new stadium, thinks the plan is great: “there is enough for them to remain — maybe not L.A. money, but enough. After all, haven’t they always said their objective is to remain ‘competitive’ with the rest of the teams in the NFL, not to make billions?” Huh. Well, you know what people say about what you should think when someone announces that “it’s not about the money”: It’s totally about the money.
Canepa is also quite meh about the idea of letting the public have a say: “if it doesn’t need a vote, why vote?”
The U-T’s Matt Calkins has a more skeptical take on things.
At Palomar College, Insiders Cash In
“The top three Palomar College employees to benefit from an early retirement incentive approved last week are also the ones who structured and negotiated the deal,” reports VOSD’s Ashly McGlone. The North County community college’s president and two vice presidents will take home $150,000 incentives to retire this year.
The school’s faculty union thinks something is fishy about the deal, which also covers certain other employees. Outside legal specialists questioned the deal too when consulted by VOSD.
County Supe in Hot Water Already Secured Pension
Speaking of retirement benefits, Scott Lewis poked around and found that Supervisor Dave Roberts, currently immersed in a scandal, has already qualified for a pension from the county despite only being there for two years.
Lewis took the opportunity to explain how that all works and why Roberts’ car allowance — which has become controversial because he hired a guy who ended up driving him around in a county vehicle — will benefit the supervisor for the rest of his life.
Parents Question S.D. School Funding
The San Diego Unified school district’s spending priorities are getting a chilly reception from some parts, with concerns from parents and a school counselor about a lack of transparency and poor choices.
‘Nude’ Class Claims Lack Foundation
There have been “snickers, innuendos and indignation” over the past couple weeks. Wait, what? Did my trademark interpretive dance to spring not go over that well? No, this is something else: The now-infamous (and widely misreported) “nude” art class at UCSD.
Regardless of what you may have heard, nudity isn’t required. The class isn’t required either, nor are students clueless about the final assignment. In fact, one student tells the U-T that she’s miffed by the false perception that “we didn’t have the ability to think for ourselves, and that we weren’t in control of our bodies and we didn’t have a choice.” The students are adults, after all. And last week, 16 of them in the class chose to let it all hang out in service of art.
Quick News Hits: Dance, Dance… Uh-Oh
• While it heard from a big crowd yesterday, the City Council won’t figure out what to do about the referendum-ed One Paseo project in Carmel Valley until Thursday. It has to either kill the project or let voters make the call. (City News Service)
• Three California women with advanced cancer are suing in San Diego court for the right to end their lives. (KTLA)
• San Diego scores poorly on another national ranking of the “Best Cities to Start a Business.” Among the top 150 most populous cities (not metro areas), WalletHub says San Diego ranks at 119, above Oceanside (138), Chula Vista (140) and Newark, N.J. (150).
So this ranking confirm the suspicion of conservative types that San Diego, and California as a whole, are bad for business? Maybe. Many of the bottom cities on the list are here in the Golden State. But others ranked toward the bottom are in GOP-dominate states like Florida and Arizona, and those supposedly bursting with pro-business fervor tend to be in godforsaken corners of states not known for their quality of life. Yes, I mean you, Amarillo!
• A new study by UCSD researchers suggests that dance class isn’t an ideal way to get kids to exercise. In fact, “only slightly more than one-third of the class time, on average, is spent engaged in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity,” reports Medical News Today. So should kids play team sports instead? Maybe not: Previous research suggested that only 25 percent of kids got the recommended daily amount of exercise during practices.
I devoted my own non-misspent youth to lurking in the Chula Vista public library and avoiding exercise. On the bright side, I greatly exceeded the recommended daily amount of book-lifting. Still waiting for my trophy.
Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego and national president of the 1,200-member American Society of Journalists and Authors (asja.org). Please contact him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.