This Week's CounterPunch Topic: Should the city or county of San Diego commit tax dollars to the downtown stadium project? -- Ed.
Crane's Punch: Few things rally the passion of San Diegans like our Chargers. We want them to stay as much as we want them to win!
Two questions stand out for a downtown stadium. First, will it impair quality of life for downtown residents? Traffic, parking, crowds and smog must be weighed against continued revitalization of the East Village. Second, can the stadium generate a net positive return for taxpayers? The sale of Qualcomm Stadium and new revenue from a resurgent downtown should define the scale of our investment. Sure, we’ll take a low return because we love the Bolts, but we should not head into the red on the deal.
The details will be critical. Our leaders should be realistic in their projections, creative in their proposals and thoroughly involve the public in the process.
Lund's Punch: Given the history of the city of San Diego’s dealings with the Chargers (the "ticket guarantee"), I am very skeptical of any government providing money for a new Chargers stadium. As was discussed in our topic of two weeks ago, the city of San Diego has no money to put forward toward something like this. However, the cities of Escondido, Oceanside and Chula Vista have all shown interest in the stadium search.
If it is possible for the County of San Diego and one of these cities to come to a sound agreement that doesn’t involve putting the taxpayers on the hook for unsold tickets, I say go for it. However, if an agreement can’t be worked out, I don’t believe that any city or county government should be left holding the bag.
Crane's Counterpunch: Investment of public money in the Chargers must be considered carefully. San Diego reaps significant economic and social benefits from the team’s presence. There is a limit to this value, but it is far greater than zero. While I agree the city cannot look to the general fund for its investment dollars, there are options. We’re not fourth and long on this goal yet.
Lund's Counterpunch: Essentially, we agree on this topic. The Chargers are a regional asset that should be preserved for the residents of San Diego. The details are important as we go forward, and if done correctly, the new stadium project will benefit everyone. Now let's just sit back and watch our team beat the Bengals this weekend. Go Bolts!
Bryan Crane, who is the president of the San Diego County Young Democrats, earned his PhD at MIT in 2005, works at San Diego biotech Illumina and admits to being unable to run in flip-flops.
Andrew Lund is the current President of the San Diego Young Republicans.