Fabiani’s Fight, Manchester Eyes the Union-Tribune and Occupy’s Great Flaw

Tony ManolatosTony Manolatos 9 Comments


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.

Fabiani and the Mayor – who is working on a separate stadium financing plan that the team appears to have little interest in – broke up shortly after the Mayor went on his 3-city stadium tour.

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


Comments 9

  1. Post

    Hi, Pat…

    I started my own consulting business, By George Strategies, a few months ago. I have a couple clients, none of which are associated with anything mentioned above. If you click on my byline it will take you to me LinkedIn page.

    Thanks for reading my post!


  2. Tony, please email me your contact details. Now that you no longer are a bureaucrat I want to talk to you somtime. Pat

  3. http://tinyurl.com/20111104a

    Today we presented our Waterfront NFL Stadium and Continguous Convention Center Phase III Expansion linked above to the California Coastal Commission (CCC) as an Alternative project in the ongoing Draft EIR for the Convention Center.

    Mayor Sanders picked the Non-contiguous East Village site, across the Railroad Tracks and 6 blocks away. However, no one in the Mayor’s office, CCDC, downtown has contacted Metropolitan Transit Service (MTS) who own the Bus Maintenance Yard and discuss relocation planning or financing a potential move with CCDC funds.

  4. “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.

    I for one was sick of it long before that! But Fabiani is simply doing what he’s paid to do – to help the Spanos family, not the city of San Diego.

    Fabiani is very skilled, smooth and polished – I saw him speak a few years ago and admired his persuasive rhetoric. And Fabiani is very disciplined, not a loose cannon. Hard to imagine he’d take any shots at Sanders without it being approved by his paymasters.

    Maybe the Spanos family has given up on Sanders as a lame duck and is looking to entice San Diego’s next mayor into supporting this obscene corporate welfare project.

    David Ogul, that’s a blast from the past. A former colleague of mine on SDSU’s college paper, the Daily Aztec, and a fine journalist whom the U-T didn’t sufficiently appreciate.

  5. Hello Mr. Manolatos,

    Appreciate your blog post and the Occupy shout outs. I was down in the Civic Center camping for the first week and ultimately came back up to North County once the initial encampment was broken up. The remaining Occupiers at the Civic Center are diehards, and it may not look pretty due to fatigue, culture, etc. But the fact they still exist is a testament to average San Diegans stepping up with support.

    And not to toot our own horn, but I encourage you to check out some of what is happening with Occupy in North County. We have a couple groups and I haven’t seen a “dirty hippie” once! I even started asking for more bongo drums, I miss them at this point. What we do have are lots of teachers, nurses, parents and retired folk. Only direction I see from here, is up. We will grow and broaden in scope.

    Just wanted to let you know I appreciate the respectful constructive criticism and that these same concerns are being addressed within the movement as well.

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