Some Friday thoughts for your weekend…
Mark Fabiani is clearly the toughest man on the San Diego Chargers payroll. While he’s been going around town taking shots at Mayor Jerry Sanders, the guys who suit up on Sundays continue to play like a bunch of Lotus Eaters.
Fabiani’s latest jab arrived this morning in Tom Blair’s column. Fabiani once again says the Mayor’s financing plan for a Convention Center expansion is seriously flawed and possibly illegal.
“The mayor, who says he’s already been advised the plan is legal, is standing firm,” Blair writes.
You can bet the Mayor’s position is likely firmer now. Fabiani knows the Mayor and his team don’t respond well to public ridicule. So what’s his end game?
Does Fabiani really believe he can derail the expansion plans in favor of a plan that would bring a new football stadium to town? A stadium, he says, that would double as the extension the Convention Center desperately needs to retain Comic-Con and other massive events that sink millions into the local economy and need more room? Fabiani’s argument ignores the fact that large-scale conventions like Comic-Con want contiguous space – not a stadium six blocks away.
My guess is Fabiani approached the Mayor with an idea the Mayor would not agree to – Scrap the current expansion plan in favor of the team’s vision: A new stadium for the team and for conventioners desiring more elbow room! This vision ignores the wishes of the local lodging industry, a powerful group and longtime ally of the Mayor’s. Many of the largest hoteliers are ok with passing on the costs of a Convention Center expansion to their guests because a larger facility is expected to bring in more room revenue. They don’t have nearly the same love and affection for a new football stadium.
So where does this leave the Chargers and Fabiani, the team’s point man on stadium talks? In taking their argument public, and banking on fan loyalty, are they winning the PR war?
“Fabiani is making San Diego sick with his demands at subsidizing a billionaire when the Occupy movement is growing,” David Ogul, a former assistant metro editor at the San Diego Union-Tribune, tweeted today.
Some believe Fabiani is dropping bombs because the team wants to be able to say something like this if it skips town: “It’s not our fault. We tried everything.”
Speaking of David Ogul and the Union-Tribune…Ogul tweeted this week: “Rumor has it that Doug Manchester is in escrow to buy the Union-Tribune.”
That tweet led to a blog post that says Manchester, the San Diego hotel giant, is interested in the prime real estate the paper sits on in Mission Valley.
Printing and distributing a daily paper seems to grow more antiquated – not to mention costly – by the day. Once the paper can get enough advertisers to buy into a web-only product I think you will see the Union-Tribune publishing from a office somewhere Downtown, and I think you will see a gleaming new hotel in Mission Valley. Maybe they will call it, The Daily Resort & Spa.
Finally, I’d like to suggest to the Occupy San Diego folks that if they really want to generate change they need to generate a better movement.
A broader effort with support from politicians – one that zeroes in on the dissolving middle class – has not materialized locally. The people living in tents outside City Hall looked like a fringe group.
I’m not dismissing them or their concerns, but that type of effort is never going to get the attention of the majority of San Diegans, including those stuck watching a lousy NFL team on Sundays.
Follow me on Twitter: @tonymanolatos