Posts Tagged ‘LA’

Charger Welfare

17 August 2011

Dear J-

As the clock winds down and Los Angeles creeps closer to actually building a new NFL-class stadium (“build it and a disgruntled team will come” they say) our mayor, Jerry Sanders, is leaving on a fact-finding mission to three cities: Denver, Indianapolis, and Kansas City. The purpose of the trip is to find out what works and what doesn’t work to get a new stadium built for the purpose of retaining the Chargers. Short of the system being rigged enough to sweep up voters in the city by kicking a Super Bowl Championship to the Chargers (hey, it worked for the Padres in 1998, didn’t it? World Series appearance and the new stadium was a shoo-in) I think they’re already gone.

Ever since we moved to San Diego ten years ago there’s been talk of a new stadium for the Chargers, constant threats to move and hand-wringing from politicians. All of which has sufficed to make this voter, at least, sufficiently unimpressed by both the city and the Chargers, neither side agreeing on much beyond that taxpayers should end up footing the bill. Enough corporate welfare goes on that running a sports team should not be a profit enterprise. The way that cycle should work is team does well, team attracts more fans, fans are rewarded by reinvestment in the team and stadium. If the Chargers want a bigger cut of the stadium take or a new stadium then they need to fork out the dough for a stadium.

Is that math simple enough for you? Libraries are facing budget cuts and property taxes keep rising but you want to take our money and fold it into a hole in the ground? The way sentiment is now the trip by Sanders is going to be a waste of time unless civic pride is at stake, and Sanders doesn’t want his legacy to be the guy who lost the Chargers to LA. Short of a bump in sympathy from a deep run in the playoffs I don’t think enough people in the city are sufficiently invested in the Chargers to keep them around through a stadium subsidy. If it’s folks outside the city — let’s say county-wide support — that are the strongest fans ask them to give up county money for the stadium. We’re all tapped out, and the Chargers would be incredibly poor gift recipients.