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Hurting in a Hole Updated image  Doomsday, January 12, 2017

Turn out the lights, the party's over ....

Chargers Obituary
June 18, 2017

This is official notification to advertisers and fans of the www.chargertom.com website that this site will be closing due to the greed and disrespect for fans by Dean Spanos and the Spanos Family in abandoning the loyal city of San Diego.  The last Chargers practice has been held in San Diego and the moving trucks are removing all traces of the Chargers from the city at this time.  After 56 years of dedication and loyalty, the Spanos Family sold out to greed and moved the team to LaLaLand.  I will NOT support the Spanos Family or any team located in Los Angeles.  The 56 years of History of the San Diego Chargers STAYS IN SAN DIEGO.  Good riddance to the Spanos Family.


Stadium Development is Killing Loyalty in American Sports

How do I feel about the Chargers moving to LA?  Here's an article from an interview I gave to a Houston, Texas Business Newspaper leading up to the Super Bowl Sunday in Houston.  If you like the article, please Tweet it, post it on your Facebook Timeline, share on any and all of your other Social Media outlets and send the Link to your friends and acquaintances.  If it really gets your blood boiling, send it to your Senator or Congressman and ask them how this isn’t a violation of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act?

https://www.bisnow.com/national/news/other/how-stadium-development-is-killing-loyalty-in-american-sports-70505

Goodbye, San Diego Chargers
shenANNIEgans!  Behind the scenes with a San Diego sports reporter
By sharonannette on January 16, 2017

"I spent Friday, January 13th, curled up in the fetal position on my couch, tears streaming down my face.

It was not where I expected myself to be.

Just 24 hours before, the San Diego Chargers had dropped a bomb: They were leaving their home of 56 years and relocating to Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles Chargers. It feels sacrilegious writing it.

Having covered this story for the last few years, I always knew it was a possibility they would leave, but our emotions had been toyed with for so long in this mess that I had gone numb to all the talk. I didn’t believe or trust anything I heard, even from my sources. So I just waited.

I was at Chargers Park, the team’s practice facility on Murphy Canyon Road, when the announcement hit. A handful of fans were scattered in front of the building. News trucks lined the street. At 8 a.m., the Chargers posted a letter to their website, declaring their move.

A letter. After 56 years. A. Letter.

From that second on, it was work mode. I stayed at Chargers Park until the sun went down, talking to crying fans, shouting fans, shocked fans. I watched as people unloaded their gear in front of the building, a symbol of their detachment to the team they had been loyal to for so long, that was now leaving them for another city. Nothing meant more to me on January 12th than being able to connect with fans and document their stories on such a historic day in San Diego sports.

Friday brought tears.

Perhaps it was the fatigue; maybe it was the uncertainty of not knowing what’s next (I’m a sports reporter in a city lacking sports in an industry dying by the second); maybe it was my 11-year-old nephew calling, asking questions I couldn’t answer. Maybe it was this video montage I watched, the one with Lance Alworth and Dan Fouts and Don Coryell and LaDainian Tomlinson and Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates sharing common ground in Mission Valley, all running across the same field, and knowing that this dysfunctional stadium — the one we love to hate —  holds so much history and so many memories and now, she is empty.

I cried.

I was surprised at my reaction. I’m a reporter. I’m a grown woman, crying over football, a sport riddled with greed and capitalism and concussions and physical violence. But football has always been part of my identity, part of my family, part of my relationship with my dad, and over my years of reporting, I’ve met so many fans who have tailgated at The Q for decades. Rain or shine, in good times or bad, with friends and family members.

All of it gone.

The NFL is making it easier for fans to disengage. The greed and manipulation that for so long was hidden behind the scenes is now front and center, flashing across our social media feeds. This move shouldn’t have happened. We know it. The NFL knows it. Fans know it. But it did, and a price will be paid.

The Chargers have an uphill battle in the City of Dreams. They are overwhelmingly not wanted, first of all, and second of all, they are displaced. They are between two homes. They must learn the city, make connections, build foundations, history and traditions that don’t exist. They must win — not flash-in-the-pan winning, not winning sometimes, but Championship or near-Championship winning, and consistently. So far, partly because of team blunders, and partly because it’s simply a terrible move, it’s not going well. In less than a week, it has become cool to hate the Los Angeles Chargers, and if LA is good at anything, it’s having a mob mentality and adopting a “you can’t sit with us” attitude. Can it change? Absolutely. But whether mild apathy is that much better than major apathy remains to be seen.

San Diego fans are faced with a dilemma: Are you supposed to care about this team or not? Do you drive 150 miles to the sterile Stubhub Center — with no history and no ties, except of the futbol sort — to watch your ex-team play next season, or do you show Dean Spanos what you think with your dollar by not buying tickets? What about the players? Do you stay in it for them? I won’t tell you what’s right or wrong. No one can. What you feel now might not be what you feel six months from now. It’s uncharted territory for us all. Even us newspaper folks are wrestling with decisions of how, if at all, to cover this team going forward.

One more thing: I’ve been covering the Chargers since 2009. I’ve built relationships with the team’s front office employees in that time, lasting relationships with some excellent people. These are hard-working folks who have dedicated decades of their lives to work for the San Diego Chargers, often for wages that fall far short of industry standards. They have put roots in San Diego. They have kids in our schools and spouses in our workforce. They have toiled tirelessly for this team through birthdays, deaths, divorces. Yes, that is their choice, and they won’t ask you to feel sorry for them. But imagine devoting most of your adult life to Dean Spanos and the Chargers and then getting this thrown on you, while possibly losing your job or facing unemployment or being asked to move. It’s not easy, and these guys are exhausted, sad and scared too.

There are people in this world fighting wars, fighting cancer, fighting hunger and pain. Losing an NFL team does not compare to any of those things. Not even close. But the loss is an emotional one, and for many, it cuts to the core. Losing a football team is losing the opportunity to carry on traditions and history that families have upheld for generations. It’s like losing a friend — a really fun friend, a friend that drove you nuts sometimes but that could always be counted on to pull you away from the problems in your life for a few hours. It’s a friend that’s happy to see you and scream with you and do ridiculous superstitious dances with you. Every Sunday, you could connect with that friend. That’s what football is — it’s connection. It’s a thread that links people together.

Now, that thread is tainted with shared contempt for the ones who took it away. The anger and hurt will pass, eventually. Football Sundays will be tough at first; perhaps with time, they will get easier.

But the friendship …

Well, that will just never be the same."


CHARGERS LEAVE SAN DIEGO
GAME OVER
CITY, FANS MOURN LOSS OF AN INSTITUTION

EDITORIAL: As Chargers head north, it’s time for San Diego to move on, too

This isn’t goodbye. It’s good riddance.

The Chargers are finally someone else’s problem.

After compiling a 416-427-11 record over 56 seasons, missing the playoffs in 39 of those seasons and in seven of the past eight years, and failing to build community support for a new stadium, the team is moving to Los Angeles, where it played one season in 1960. Oh well.

The fans who packed Qualcomm Stadium for years will experience a flood of emotions now that Chargers CEO Dean Spanos has at last made his decision to quit on San Diego. If there’s a saving grace in this miserable season of difficult defeats and utter uncertainty, it’s that we have felt these emotions before. Anxiety. Sadness. Anger. Disbelief. Be sure to add another emotion to that list: relief.

Will the Chargers have better luck in a shiny new stadium in the nation’s second-biggest media market? Who cares?

Were the Chargers really serious about staying in San Diego? Who cares?

Whose fault is it that they’re leaving? Who cares?

These questions don’t matter anymore. Don’t give the Spanos family a second thought.

Editorial Board recently wrote that Spanos should stay in San Diego because he has lived here for decades and because the region is better for it, and because we had faith a stadium deal could get done in San Diego. We meant it. Fans told us they still loved the team despite everything Spanos had done to disenfranchise them. They meant it.

Now Spanos has given up on us.

It was only last year that he flatly and falsely said, “We’ve had nine different proposals that we’ve made, all of them were basically rejected by the city.” The problem with that, of course, is that they weren’t rejected by the city and they weren’t even plans.

Let’s not even discuss the horrible campaign the Chargers ran last year as they used bluster and bullying to seek support for a downtown stadium. It stood no chance. It was a one-sided, hastily arranged plan lacking the coalition that helped the Padres get Petco Park approved in 1998.

It has been 17 years since Alex Spanos first frustrated fans by telling a reporter, “We need a new stadium,” and 14 years since the team’s proposal to redevelop the Qualcomm site fell prey to the city’s pension crisis and a crumbling economy, and eight years since the team first expressed interest in the East Village site voters ultimately rejected in November. Spanos could have given up on the lure of Los Angeles, renegotiated his lease at the nearly 50-year-old Qualcomm Stadium and worked with city and county politicians to build a stadium in the right place at the right cost.

But who cares?

To be honest, San Diego football fans never warmed to the Spanos family. It didn’t help that in 1986, just two years after the buying the team, Alex Spanos, Dean’s father, unceremoniously dismissed legendary head coach Don Coryell, an architect of a playoff run that had lasted four straight years. By 1988, fans were unceremoniously booing Alex Spanos at the retirement ceremony for future Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Fouts’ No. 14. After Dean Spanos took over for his dad, he hired milquetoast coaches, fired one after a 14-2 season and, lest we forget, engineered the infamous ticket guarantee. In yet another slow start in 2012, well after Spanos had taken over football operations from his father, the Chargers hit rock bottom when a public relations director told disgruntled fans on the team’s official website: “Time to take a chill pill.”

You know what, San Diego? Let’s take that chill pill.

The Chargers are moving? Let’s move on, too.


DAY OF RECKONING ARRIVES:
Team, fans and San Diego end tumultuous relationship

By Peter Rowe, David Garrick, Contract Reporters, San Diego Union-Tribune

For 15 years, the Chargers have stumped for a new home to replace Mission Valley’s Qualcomm Stadium. Their campaign has been the subject of elections, forums, negotiations and nerve-racking uncertainty.

Certainty arrived Thursday at 8 a.m., when team owner Dean Spanos revealed his decision to Chargers employees in person — and the world at large via social media.

“After much deliberation,” Spanos announced, “I have made the decision to relocate the Chargers to Los Angeles, beginning with the 2017 season.” If Day One of the post-San Diego Chargers era ended the suspense that had tormented the region for years, it did not provide the happy ending so many had desired.

“I hate this day,” county Supervisor Ron Roberts said, fighting back tears.

Outside Chargers Park, the team’s soon-to-be-abandoned San Diego home, fans gathered to commiserate. Many tossed blue-andgold memorabilia— jerseys, jackets, caps, socks, coffee mugs, posters — into a heap, smashing and tearing what were once prized keepsakes.

“To Dean Spanos!” yelled La Mesa’s Dave Wallerstein, taking a knife to a Chargers flag and then tossing the shredded banner on the pile.

Spanos acknowledged local fans’ “support and passion” across the team’s 56 years in San Diego. “But today,” he said in a prepared statement, “we turn the page and begin an exciting new era as the Los Angeles Chargers.”

The new era is celebrated on the team’s new website, FightforLA.com, which extols the team’s new home: “We wear all LA on our chest. We fight for it with our heart. Fight for LA.”

This fervent, overnight switch of allegiances did not sit well with some, including San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer.

“Dean Spanos made a bad decision, and he will regret it,” Faulconer said. “San Diego didn’t lose the Chargers. The Chargers just lost San Diego.” Faulconer spoke at an 11 a.m. news conference. If his comments were meant as a parting shot, he was too late. Spanos had already left in a private jet bound for Los Angeles International Airport. He spent much of the day touring his new home.

Or homes. The Chargers will inhabit several sites in Los Angeles and Orange counties. The team offices are shifting to Costa Mesa. The players will take the field at the StubHub Center in Carson during the 2017 and ’18 seasons. When construction is completed on a $2.66 billion stadium paid for by L.A. Rams owner Stan Kroenke, the Chargers will move into that Inglewood facility, paying $1 a year to rent space from the Rams. The mayor of Los Angeles, the city of the team’s 1960 birth and first season, welcomed the Bolts’ return.

“The Chargers will make our NFL tradition even richer, and give sports fans everywhere one more reason to be in Los Angeles,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement. “I congratulate Dean Spanos and the entire Chargers organization, and look forward to the extraordinary contributions they will make to our entire region.”

Allan Lopez, the Northridge organizer of the “Los Angeles Chargers Fans” Facebook page, predicted the team will succeed — if they field a winner with some Tinseltown razzle dazzle.

“They have an exciting team, a sexy image,” Lopez said. “And that’s what L.A. wants, sexy teams. L.A. wants flashy, L.A. wants a show, and I think that’s what the Chargers will give L.A.”

Yet some maintain this team has only anemic support from Angeleno fans. “The Chargers aren’t even the third team of interest here behind the Rams and the Raiders,” wrote Los Angeles Times columnist Bill Plaschke. “The Chargers might not even be in the topfive favorite NFL teams in Los Angeles.” The team belongs in San Diego, he added. “The Chargers are beloved there. The Chargers belong there.” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said he empathizes with Chargers fans but insisted the team had explored every avenue in San Diego.

“For more than a decade, the San Diego Chargers have worked diligently toward finding a local stadium solution, which all sides agreed was required,” Goodell said in a statement.

“Relocation is painful for teams and communities. It is especially painful for fans, and the fans in San Diego have given the Chargers strong and loyal support for more than 50 years, which makes it even more disappointing that we could not solve the stadium issue.”

The decision to move comes two months after San Diego voters rejected a team-sponsored proposal. Measure C would have raised hotel room taxes to fund a combined stadium and convention center annex. Only 43.6 percent of voters backed the measure, far less than the two-thirds required for approval.

This was the latest and last of at least nine stadium proposals the team had pursued since 2003, although some say many of those proposals lacked financial details.

After Measure C failed, the Chargers renewed talks with the city, the county and San Diego State University. Those parlays fizzled, Faulconer maintained, because the team tried to dig too deep into the public coffers.

“At the end of the day, the Chargers wanted a lot more taxpayer money than we could have ever agreed to,” the mayor said. “We could not support a deal that is not in the best interests of San Diego.”

San Diegans overwhelmingly blame Spanos — not Faulconer — for the team’s move, according to a new San Diego Union-Tribune/ 10News poll. Spanos is blamed by 70 percent of those polled, while 6 percent blamed Faulconer and 9 percent blamed the NFL. The poll was conducted Thursday by SurveyUSA and has a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points. Supervisor Roberts had worked with Faulconer the past two years in dealings with the Chargers.

“They never really engaged in any kind of real negotiations,” Roberts said of the team. “None.” The Chargers, Roberts added, join Donald Sterling “in the Hall of Shame.” As owner of the Clippers, Sterling moved the NBA franchise from San Diego to L.A.

“It hurts,” the supervisor said, “but we will move on without them. San Diego is a great community, and we are not dependent on the Chargers.”

Two San Diego professional sports teams praised the Bolts but expressed dismay at their departure.

“We are deeply disappointed by the news that the Chargers are leaving San Diego,” Padres executive chairman Ron Fowler and managing partner Peter Seidler said in a joint statement. “The Chargers are a community treasure, and we have always believed that San Diego is better off with the team here. That said, we know San Diego will continue to grow and become an even more vibrant community.”

The San Diego Gulls offered similar sentiments.

“We join the San Diego community in sadness today as we learn of the departure of the Chargers,” said Matt Savant, the hockey team’s president of business operations. “The Chargers have been an incredible asset to San Diego and built a strong foundation to help critical causes important to our region through sports and community involvement.”

This move is not without cost to the Chargers. The team owes the NFL a relocation fee of $550 million to $650 million, depending on how payments are structured. And the team’s absence may bring some benefits to San Diego.

Developers, architects, planners and citizen groups have eyed Qualcomm Stadium’s 166-acre site, picturing alternatives to the steel and concrete hulk surrounded by an asphalt parking lot.

Among the projects they envision:

• A 60-acre recreational and open-space park on both sides of the San Diego River and along Murphy Creek.

• Thousands of affordable apartments to help relieve San Diego’s chronic housing shortage.

• Student dorms and faculty housing for San Diego State University.

• A smaller stadium, suitable for Aztec football and a

possible major league soccer franchise.

• New freeway on-ramps, river crossings, bikeways and expanded mass transit to ease congestion in Mission Valley and serve as a national model for post-automobile urban planning.

Dottie Surdi, chairwoman of the Mission Valley Community Planning Group, said a draft for the area’s first plan update since 1985 is due early this year.

“One of the things holding us back is the decision on Qualcomm,” she said. “We’d like to see a mixed-use community there. We desperately need more park space in Mission Valley. Obviously, we need more housing.”

For many Chargers fans, though, there were no silver linings to Thursday’s storm clouds.

“It’s like a friend dying,” said Michael Dysart, president of HCS Life Insurance Agency. “I feel like I walked in on my girl cheating on me,” said Frank Soto, 33, a plumber. “Cheating on me with my rival.”

Throughout most of the day, the mood at Chargers Park was mournful but peaceful. Matt Farrier mocked the team’s new logo, which resembles the Dodger’s “LA” with a lightning bolt as the A’s crossbar. Farrier held a sign that added two letters to the logo: “LAme.”

Chris Hairston, a Chargers player, emerged from the team’s headquarters to offer fans a resigned greeting. “It is what it is,” he said.

Former Chargers player Kassim Osgood also appeared, asking the protesters to not trash any Malcom Floyd jerseys. “He’s a San Diegan,” Osgood said.

Trashed Chargers merchandise was set afire several times in the morning and then around 6 p.m. During that later occurrence, police briefly detained one man on suspicion of being drunk in public.

Fans didn’t need alcohol to feel glum or unsteady. Larry Falkner was sober, but he looked morose as he sat on the curb across the street from Chargers Park.

“This sucks,” the Imperial Beach resident said. “It happens to be my birthday today, and this is what I get.”


CHARGERS LEAVE SAN DIEGO
FAULCONER: CHARGERS WILL REGRET LEAVING

Other civic leaders voice frustration, anger and sadness
By David Garrick, Contract Reporter, San Diego Union-Tribune

Saying he was frustrated by the Chargers’ Thursday morning announcement that they are moving to Los Angeles, Mayor Kevin Faulconer predicted the team would regret the decision.

Faulconer said at a City Hall news conference that the Chargers wanted too much taxpayer money for a deal to get done locally.

“Dean Spanos made a bad decision, and he will regret it,” said Faulconer of the team’s chairman. “San Diego didn’t lose the Chargers. The Chargers just lost San Diego.” He also predicted the Chargers would never get the support in Los Angeles that they’ve enjoyed in San Diego, or have the same kind of success.

“They are losing out on our strong marketplace,” he said. “They are losing out on our unmatched quality of life. And probably most importantly, they are losing out on 56 years of dedication, of loyalty, of family.”

Faulconer also had a message for Chargers fans.

“I want to say this to every person who bleeds blue and gold: This is a time for us to pause and be grateful for everything that our city has to offer,” he said. “San Diego is more than just one business or one organization.”

Faulconer said the Chargers wouldn’t find a fan base of equal caliber in Los Angeles.

“The passion that this city and community has for this team— you’re not going to get that in Los Angeles,” said Faulconer, who endorsed the team’s unsuccessful stadium ballot measure last fall.

Faulconer said he believes a deal could have been worked out in San Diego if the Chargers had been more receptive to recent joint proposals for a new stadium from the city, county and San Diego State University.

“This morning’s news is extremely frustrating, particularly because for the past two years our region has come together,” the mayor said. “I am certain San Diegans would have supported this new plan.”

But he said the proposed contributions of taxpayer money weren’t enough.

“At the end of the day, the Chargers wanted a lot more taxpayer money than we could have ever agreed to,” the mayor said. “We could not support a deal that is not in the best interests of San Diego.”

At the same news conference, county Supervisor Ron Roberts teared up when discussing the team’s departure.

“This is a day that will live in infamy in sports history in San Diego,” he said. “This is a sad day — one we’ve spent many, many hours trying to avert.” Roberts said the Chargers have been an integral part of San Diego, and that many thousands of fans, whether they go to the stadium on Sundays or watch from home, will miss them badly.

He also predicted the city would get past this setback.

“San Diego is a great community,” Roberts said. “We can, we will, and we must move on.”

County Supervisor Dianne Jacob said there is potential to turn the Qualcomm Stadium site “into a regional attraction we can all be proud of.” And she had choice words for the Chargers’ chairman.

“While I will miss the players and their contributions to the community, all I can say to Mr. Spanos is good riddance,” she said. “He betrayed San Diego fans, and that’s something a lot of us won’t ever forget.”

City Councilman Scott Sherman said the Chargers never gave the city straight answers during years of negotiations.

“Today was the culmination of two years of obfuscation, confusion and telling people one thing and doing another,” he said.

Sherman also criticized Spanos and team lawyer Mark Fabiani.

“Since 2013, Dean Spanos and Mark Fabiani have worked diligently behind the scenes to move the Chargers to Los Angeles,” Sherman said. “Today, they have achieved that goal and in the process destroyed nearly 60 years of loyal football tradition.”

Sherman also vowed to do everything possible to get San Diego another NFL franchise.

Elliott Hirshman, president of San Diego State, said he was truly sorry for Chargers fans and that they didn’t deserve Thursday’s disappointing news.

Hirshman also criticized Spanos, saying that civic leaders had negotiated in good faith in recent weeks but that Spanos hadn’t.

“We had countless goodfaith discussions. Unfortunately we didn’t have a good-faith partner,” Hirshman said.

Stressing that plans to redevelop the site of Qualcomm Stadium were still in the early stages, Hirshman expressed optimism.

“We have an opportunity to create something very special,” he said.

Proposals for the site include a river park and academic facilities for SDSU and UC San Diego. Executives of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce said the chamber is ready to work with the mayor’s office on redevelopment efforts of the Qualcomm site in Mission Valley.

They also called the team’s departure sad and said the chamber had worked to avoid this day.

“It was a business decision for the Chargers,” chamber President and CEO Jerry Sanders said in a statement. “There are great new projects on the horizon for sports in San Diego, and now we can really focus our efforts on making those a reality.”

City Council President Myrtle Cole said the Chargers’ departure will hurt working people but expressed a desire to see development of the stadium site “that benefits San Diego’s residents.”

“I am disappointed by the impact the Chargers’ decision will have on many San Diegans who rely on jobs in the sports entertainment industry,” she said in a statement. “Now we must move forward to seek new economic development that will create local employment opportunities here in San Diego.” Adam Day, chairman of a stadium task force that Faulconer created in 2015, said he was also frustrated.

“The sun has crested, and it appears the long civic nightmare is over,” said Day at the City Hall news conference.

Day also expressed a sense of weariness over what he described as a long journey toward trying to keep the team in San Diego.

“Collectively, we have given all we could, physically, emotionally, and financially,” said Day, who serves as vice chairman of the California State University board of trustees. “Every business deal has to work for both sides, and there are many ways to craft a deal that is balanced, but it takes two to tango, and (with) the team’s refusal to entertain any conversation, we now need to move on.”

In a separate news release, City Councilman Chris Ward said it wouldn’t have been appropriate for the city to spend taxpayer money to keep the team.

“The Chargers have not earned a place in line ahead of the thousands of hardworking San Diegans who have supported them for decades,” Ward said. “It is a sad day for fans and unfortunate that the Chargers commitment to our city was ultimately contingent on receiving hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars, but now we can finally move forward as a community.”


CHARGERS LEAVE SAN DIEGO
In Chargers’ departure, public rejects subsidies for billionaires
By
Dan McSwain, Columnist, San Diego Union-Tribune

We already knew that the mighty Los Angeles market offered a clear profit advantage for an incoming National Football League franchise, or even two. The city is flush with corporate executives who can rely on shareholders to tolerate lavish payments for stadium suites and vanity naming deals.

As I wrote in January 2015, the better question was why the Chargers weren’t in L.A. already, having enjoyed a two-decade opportunity — without competition — to build a fan base throughout Southern California.

The most likely answer was that the NFL, a legal monopoly, conspired to keep Los Angeles teamless. Now the focus has shifted to the public’s willingness to directly subsidize private industry, particularly in San Diego.

Sure, Nevada’s legislature just voted to contribute $750 million toward a Raiders stadium, backed by higher hotel taxes. Yet history may reveal such largesse as an outlier, with San Diego’s frugality the start of a national trend. It’s too early to know.

Other team owners had extracted many hundreds of millions in taxpayer stadium subsidies since the 1990s from smaller cities by threatening to leave. Because the L.A. market held such promise, the league demanded rich compensation from any colleague that genuinely wanted to move. Small-market owners, as they negotiated with local politicians, counted on the caution and thrift of the Spanos family to keep their Chargers locked in place.

Then, in 2015, came Stan Kroenke, the inscrutable billionaire who’s privately funding a $1.9 billion Inglewood stadium ($2.6 billion including financing) for his Rams and reluctantly sharing with the Chargers.

Some analysts say Kroenke was able to break up the league’s conspiracy of L.A. lock-out because he was much bolder than Chargers Chairman Dean Spanos. But he may just have been richer. The wave of football stadium building has crested, with the next maybe 20 years in the future, so the usefulness of teamless Los Angeles has expired for the NFL.

In this sense, San Diego’s decisive rejection in November of public subsidies for a downtown stadium was a vote heard around the league.

To be sure, the Chargers’ Measure C was far from perfect. It may not have withstood legal challenge, because it came perilously close to the state’s constitutional prohibition against raising taxes for a specific private purpose.

Politically, however, its core strategy was deft. It would have raised taxes on hotel guests only. Because hotels are subject to robust rate competition on most nights, in economic terms this means hotel owners ultimately would absorb the higher cost in the form of lower profits.

That’s why the Chargers attached a convention center to the project. The team could share or avoid big costs on common slabs of concrete foundations, concourses and such.

And this wouldn’t be some empty stadium used just 10 days a year. Tourism dollars would flow from conventions. Why, the project would pay for itself, consultants projected.

Indeed, Measure C effectively offered a $1.8 billion convadium with $1.15 billion coming from hoteliers, indirectly, and $650 million coming directly from the Chargers, its fans, and the NFL.

Fatally for the measure, the team failed to convince the hotel industry, which preferred a waterfront expansion of its existing center. In the late 1990s, the industry had convinced politicians to bill taxpayers directly for the last expansion through the city’s general fund. If hoteliers were going to pay this time around, they wanted to run the show.

Yet the death blow was delivered by voters, 57 percent of whom rejected Measure C in November. We can safely infer that ordinary people understood that tax dollars, even those effectively paid by hoteliers, are tax dollars. Once hiked, taxes can just as easily go to roads, pensions and the poor in San Diego instead of further enriching the NFL.

Indeed, we can probably rule out “not-in-my-backyard-ism.” Voters who lived in downtown precincts — the very people who would live amid the traffic jams and reveling conventioneers from a 15-acre convadium — supported the project by 52 percent to 48 percent, according to data from the county registrar.

No, this was a vote against handouts to billionaires. With, perhaps, a message to the hotel industry. Last night, Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced in his State of the City address that he will ask voters to raise hotel taxes to expand the waterfront convention center. To make the medicine go down, a third of the proceeds would also improve roads and get more homeless people off the streets. Unless California courts rule otherwise, this tax hike would require a two-thirds supermajority on Election Day. History suggests the odds are poor. In 2004, voters soundly rejected am easure to raise hotel taxes for the general fund that was sold as improving police and fire protection. Now the mayor wants them to embrace the homeless and hoteliers.

Voters may reasonably ask why downtown hotel owners, mostly giant corporations, can’t simply form a nonprofit and assess themselves to fund any convention center improvement that helps their industry. The only government role would be granting permission.

Another consequence: With the Chargers really, actually gone, hoteliers may live to regret their opposition to Measure C. It may be that having sunny San Diego splashed on national television’s most-watched sport every autumn weekend is more valuable than the $30 million or so in tourism marketing dollars the industry spends now.

San Diego will do fine without the Chargers, economically. But the hotel industry may miss them as much as fans.


‘Q’ MINUS CHARGERS: WHAT'S NEXT?
Planners envision SDSU facilities, park, affordable housing
By Roger Showley, San Diego Union-Tribune

Without the Chargers, what’s next for Qualcomm Stadium and its 166-acre site?

This question has been on the minds of developers, architects, planners and citizens’ groups that have pictured something more than a steel and concrete hulk surrounded by an asphalt parking lot.

Imagine a 60-acre recreational and open space park on both sides of the San Diego River and along Murphy Creek. There could be thousands of affordable apartments to help relieve San Diego’s chronic housing shortage.

San Diego State University could build student dorms and faculty housing, and create a west campus that takes pressure off Montezuma Mesa and solves the College Area minidorm problem.

And traffic and circulation problems in the valley could be lessened with new freeway on-ramps, river crossings, bikeways and expanded mass transit — a demonstration project that could serve as a national model for post-automobile urban planning.

Dottie Surdi, chairwoman of the Mission Valley Community Planning Group, said a draft for the area’s first plan update since 1985 is due early this year.

“One of the things holding us back is the decision on Qualcomm,” she said. “We’d like to see a mixed-use community there. We desperately need more park space in Mission Valley. Obviously, we need more housing.”

The question is how much housing and other development belongs next to a park with trails, playgrounds and nature-friendly river banks. A series of proposals over the last 15 years have included hundreds of hotel rooms, thousands of housing units and millions of square feet of office and retail space.

And one and even two stadiums, one for the NFL, the other for professional soccer and Aztec football.

SDSU President Elliot Hirshman endorsed the concept of a western campus last year. Besides student and faculty housing, it could include office space for nonteaching functions, some research labs, resident- serving shops and restaurants, and perhaps a hotel.

And an Aztecs and professional soccer stadium of 30,000 to 45,000 seats — either newly built or tucked inside Qualcomm Stadium.

“Let’s dream as a community,” he said. Former state Sen. Steve Peace, an adviser to former Padres owner John Moores who supports the SDSU plan, believes the city should immediately offer the property to SDSU at fair market value. Peace thinks it could do for Mission Valley what UC San Diego did for Torrey Pines Mesa — attract highpaying jobs spun off from SDSU research and entrepreneurial student startups.

“SDSU is uniquely situated to put the property to the highest and best use,” he said.

Another school of thought conceives of the property as ideal for middleincome renters who make no more than 120 percent of area median income, which for a single person is $63,750.

Greg Shannon, president of the local chapter of the Urban Land Institute, said developers could lease building sites for $1 per year as long as they kept rents in check. There would still be room left over for San Diego State.

A group of ULI and local American Institute of Architects members last year came up with a “21st century vision” for the property and principles for getting something done.

Besides outlining how much development would be appropriate, they also suggested who should determine the property’s future.

“The best, most profitable and fastest way to realize the high-quality redevelopment of the Qualcomm Stadium site is for the city and the community to design and adopt the project, then to have multiple developers and architects involved by bidding individual parcels to development teams based on price and quality,” the group said.

They added, “This approach will be much more successful than bidding the project, without any entitlement, to one master developer that entitles and develops everything.”

Whatever happens, there’s always the potential for a battle between business interests and not-inmy- backyard opponents to growth and densification.

Attorney Cory Briggs, the lead author of November’s losing Measure D that would have established guidelines for a university-centric plan, said workforce housing, better transit service and a park are fine. But he threatened legal action on behalf of environmentalists if developers push through a very dense urban plan.

“There will be World War III if people build high-rises in the valley,” he said.


Stadiums and Mission Valley

1905: City water department buys land — now totaling 73 acres — along Murphy Creek from which to pump water to the University Heights reservoir.

1916: Major floods fill the valley bank to bank, a disaster repeated 11 years later before upstream dams were completed.

1945: The federal government studies the feasibility of building a flood-control channel, a proposal abandoned in the 1970s.

1948: Mission Valley Road upgraded to U.S. Highway 80, widened to Interstate 8 in the 1950s and 1960s.

1957-58: Westgate Park (today’s Fashion Valley site) opens for Pacific Coast League Padres; City Council rezones Mission Valley to allow what is today Westfield Mission Valley mall.

1961: Chargers play first season in Balboa Stadium in Balboa Park.

1963: Citizens’ Stadium Study Committee formed to promote new stadium, retain the Chargers and attract a major-league baseball team. Mission Bay and Kearny Mesa also considered as sites.

1965: 72 percent of city voters approve Proposition 1, a charter amendment authorizing a stadium in Mission Valley; cost: $27.75 million.

1967: “San Diego Stadium” opens Aug. 20; San Diego State Aztecs’ first game, Sept. 15; first car race, Pacific Invitational Grand Prix, Oct. 21-22.

1968: Padres move from Westgate Park to play last season as minor-league team before joining the National League in 1969.

1973: Fortune magazine dubs stadium a “dazzling structure.”

1978: Facility hosts first Holiday Bowl and its first MLB All-Star Game.

1980: Stadium renamed “San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium” to honor the late San Diego Union sports editor who campaigned for the new stadium.

1984: Capacity expanded to 61,000 seats; cost: $9.5 million. Padres play in first World Series.

1988: Super Bowl XXII played at stadium.

1992: Stadium hosts MLB All-Star Game.

1995: New Chargers lease provides for $78 million expansion to 71,500 seats and ticket guarantee.

1997: Name changed to Qualcomm Stadium in return for company’s $18 million payment to the city; San Diego Trolley service extended to site.

1998: Stadium hosts Super Bowl XXXII and World Series; voters approve downtown Padres ballpark with 59 percent support.

2002: Citizens Task Force on Chargers Issues recommends $400 million, 62,000-seat football-only stadium.

2004: Padres move to Petco Park.

2005: First Poinsettia Bowl at Qualcomm Stadium.

2006: Chargers consider other stadium sites from Oceanside to Chula Vista.

2011: Consultants report says city will lose more than $10 million a year operating stadium through 2020 and facility needs $80 million in repairs.

2015: Mayor Kevin Faulconer appoints advisory group to recommend site and financing for a new or refurbished stadium; Chargers and Raiders announce $1.7 billion joint stadium plan for Carson in Los Angeles County.

2016: Chargers mount initiative to build stadiumconvention center complex in downtown’s East Village; voters reject Measure C tourist tax increase and stadium plan.

2017: Chargers announce move to Los Angeles.


Complied by research manager Merrie Monteagudo, San Diego Union-Tribune


TEAM DEPARTURE WON’T BE MONEY DRAIN ON AREA
Experts: Economic benefits of NFL teams exaggerated
By Lori Weisberg, San Diego Union-Tribune

When the Chargers leave town, it’s not likely the millions of dollars the team and its fans spend in San Diego — or at least inside Qualcomm Stadium — will suddenly vanish.

In fact, there is much debate about whether an NFL team even delivers an economic bonanza to the metro area it serves, once the costs of maintaining and operating a sports facility are taken into account, plus paying off debt related to stadium construction or renovation.

Most economists tend to agree that whatever money locals spend on football will almost certainly find its way to other favorite leisure activities.

“Economic impact from people inside the region just isn’t that great,” said Erik Bruvold, president at National University System Institute for Policy Research. “If they didn’t attend a Chargers game, the expectation is they would spend their money on other things like going to the movies, restaurants, other activities they’re engaged in. They don’t just take the money and sock it away.”

While a 2003 citizens task force concluded that the Chargers have an annual economic impact on the region of $150 million, economists typically discount such numbers, which they say tend to be grossly inflated.

“The basic rule of thumb is to move the decimal point one place to the left on impact estimates from the chamber of commerce for the tourism industry. So the true impact of the Bolts is closer to $15 million net than $150 million,” said John Vrooman, a Vanderbilt University economics professor and an expert on sports economics.

“This is because impact studies ignore all of the negative costs of congestion and reduction in economic activity elsewhere in the San Diego area. The sports bars will rock, but spending at the stadium stays at the stadium with the Bolts, and stadium employment is usually in low wage and seasonal jobs, not exactly the best drivers of economic development.”

Equally skeptical is Roger Noll, professor emeritus of economics at Stanford University who has written extensively on the economics of sports and more specifically, NFL stadiums.

Whatever nominal economic benefit that may accrue from having a professional football team in your city, it’s too small to measure and is certainly not enough to warrant the millions of dollars in subsidies some cities have offered up to finance new stadiums, Noll said. “What’s true of a team is that a lot of money passes through it but almost all of that money goes to a small number of people — coaches, front office people and players, and many of those people don’t even live in the local area,” Noll said.

“Secondly, almost all of the money taken in at the stadium for ticket sales, concessions, parking comes from local area residents which doesn’t constitute a net increase in spending. They’re going to football games but they’re also going to fewer restaurants and concerts and movies.”

As for all those football fans wearing jerseys emblazoned with the names of opposing teams during Chargers home games, it’s likely the majority of them are transplants now living in San Diego, says Bruvold. While some games do draw a fair number of out-of-town fans, depending on who’s playing, the Chargers say they’re unable to track who is buying tickets to games, other than season-ticket holders.

The hospitality research firm STR did try to quantify the impact from visitors when it studied last September how NFL games across the country have contributed to lodging revenues over the last several years.

San Diego ranked near the bottom of the list, showing a net negative impact of $400,000 in 2015 when measured by changes in hotel room revenues and demand from what would be a nongame weekend. By contrast, teams like the New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers saw a net gain of $16 million and $11 million in 2015, respectively. That large differential is in part because San Diego, which is a popular tourist and warm-weather destination, has far less trouble filling hotel rooms during the colder winter months, said study author Stephen Hennis.

“This does not say that the NFL hurts the city; it simply shows that the demand and rates produced by NFL fans could probably be replaced with higher-rate business from other sources,” he said. “Another piece to the equation here is the disappointment factor. As you go down the list, the teams with minimal or negative impact are primarily the ones that did not meet fan expectations in the last year.”

Meanwhile, without the Chargers playing at Qualcomm, there will be some savings to the city. A portion of the city’s annual subsidy budgeted for Qualcomm will go away, but it’s unclear exactly how much, as the stadium still requires maintenance. The city still has a debt obligation of nearly $5 million a year through 2027 to pay off a mid-1990s renovation. This year, though, the payment due is less, at nearly $2.4 million.

On the other side of the ledger, the city is entitled to a termination fee from the Chargers that would amount to nearly $12.6 million this year.

What San Diego will lose out on, say tourism leaders, are all those beauty shots of sparkling beaches and sunny skies during televised Chargers games in the dead of winter when TV viewers in the Midwest and East Coast are braving the cold.

“I can’t pay for that kind of exposure,” said Tourism Authority CEO Joe Terzi.


FANS QUICK TO CONDEMN ONCE-BELOVED CHARGERS
Breakup with NFL team turns bitter as scorned San Diegans act out their emotions
By Jeff McDonald, Contract Reporter, San Diego Union-Tribune

Reaction was fierce Thursday as news exploded that the decades-long run of the San Diego Chargers was over, a permanent and ignominious curtain drawn in the wake of another unspectacular season.

Someone unleashed a carton of eggs at the Chargers headquarters in Mission Valley within hours of the announcement that the team was pulling up stakes after 56 years and moving north to dreaded Los Angeles Others cheered as they burned Chargers memorabilia in open revolt. Thousands vented on social media, blaming team owner Dean Spanos, Mayor Kevin Faulconer, business leaders opposed to the failed November stadium measure and seemingly anyone they could find.

“Spanos is delusional if he thinks anyone will care about them in L.A. San Diego is the only home for the Chargers,” Sean Rodiek posted on what is now the Los Angeles Chargers Facebook page. “Between the Rams and them, they’d be lucky to fill a stadium in the next couple years.” The Chargers, who migrated south from Los Angeles in 1961, made official early Thursday morning what had been rumored for years: The National Football League franchise will join the Rams in Los Angeles for the 2017 season.

By 8 a.m. team officials had changed their logo, supplanting “SD” with a Dodgers- like “LA” and adding a jagged strike of lightning to the end of the L, where it crosses the A.

One enterprising former Chargers fan added the letters “ME” after “LA” and offered T-shirts featuring the altered version of the logo for sale at $29.99.

The Chargers meanwhile scrubbed “San Diego” from the team website and edited America’s Finest City out of its social media profiles.

Spanos, who rejected a $350 million subsidy from the city of San Diego to help fund a new stadium, posted a brief letter to fans on Twitter.

“The Chargers are determined to fight for L.A. and we are excited to get started,” he wrote.

The move was widely criticized as aloof and cowardly.

“Nobody’s happy about it, that’s all I can say right now,” said Barbara Hash, who was tending a full bar mid-day at the Stadium Club just east of Qualcomm Stadium, the aging arena that drove Spanos from San Diego. “We’re all feeling pretty bad.”

The decision to leave followed a decisive rejection by voters in November of a ballot initiative that would have raised hotel taxes by more than $1 billion to pay for a new stadium downtown.

Measure C, which was endorsed by Faulconer and numerous San Diego business leaders but staunchly opposed by most hotel operators, received barely 43 percent of ballots cast. Editors at USA Today took the unusual step of publishing an editorial headlined: “Congrats San Diego, you win by losing Chargers.” The piece criticized the Chargers and the National Football League in general for insisting that governments spend billions of public dollars erecting new shrines for privately owned teams. Pollster John Nienstedt, who has surveyed San Diegans about public affairs for years, said Spanos should have modeled his quest for a new stadium after baseball’s San Diego Padres, who sold voters on Petco Park after sweeping through the National League playoffs in 1998 and getting to the World Series.

“Where the Padres did everything right, the Chargers did everything wrong,” said Nienstedt, a longtime fan who was in Miami for the team’s only Super Bowl appearance— a 49-26 drubbing at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers in 1995.

“The next time the Chargers make the right PR move, it’ll be the first time,” he said. “They have made blunder after blunder after blunder after blunder.”

Dan Jauregui, better known as “Boltman” for the neon yellow lightning boltshaped mask he wears at most Chargers home games, said Spanos and Faulconer both could have done a better job communicating with each other and the public. Nonetheless, Jauregui placed ultimate responsibility for the move to Los Angeles on San Diego area hotel owners. “We’re all disappointed, but if there’s going to be any finger-pointing the hoteliers are to blame,” he said. “The hoteliers played a huge role in influencing people at City Hall.”

Jauregui said he was still digesting the announcement and could not say whether he would follow the team north.

“They’re still the Chargers, and I believe there is still life left in Boltman,” he said. “But if I answered now I would be responding on an emotional level, and I would regret it.”

Pat Kimbrel taught physical education at Oceanside High School for 33 years before retiring in 2007. He spent three of those years coaching standout Junior Seau, who went on to become a Hall of Fame linebacker for the San Diego Chargers.

Kimbrel, now co-president of the Oceanside High School Foundation, said he was not surprised by the team’s decision to move because it had been brewing for several years. “All along there has been a sense of disappointment because of their historic connection to San Diego and what they brought to the community,” he said. “To see that leave, especially after a half a century, is disappointing.”

Kimbrel said his most famous former student helped define the San Diego Chargers for a generation of fans.

Seau “reached a level of excellence and professionalism that I don’t think anybody else can compare to,” he said. “But he comes from a long line of tradition of excellence out of Oceanside.”

The 12-time Pro Bowl selectee committed suicide in 2012. Seau was later diagnosed with brain damage from years of violent contact.

Arnie Graham echoed the sentiments of many of the Chargers faithful when he publicly divorced himself from his lifelong team— and predicted that thousands of others would similarly abandon the club. “My family have been season ticket holders since 1969,” Graham wrote on the Chargers Facebook page. “We will not follow the L.A. Chargers. Nor will 80 percent of San Diegans.”

Kris Nelson, who has owned Bluestocking Books on Fifth Avenue in Hillcrest since 1999, said her customers were less than overcome by the Chargers’ plan to leave town.

“I haven’t heard any word in the bookstore about the Chargers leaving, but my sports-loving family is wrung out emotionally,” she said. “They are genuinely sad for losing their team.”

Nelson said she couldn’t help be mindful that no one at City Hall offered to subsidize her business.

“Major-league sports teams have a lot of advantages that a small business would never get,” she said. “So I’m not sure there’s a lot of sympathy there.”


FAN REACTION
DISPLEASURE RUNS DEEP; L.A. ISN’T EXCITED, EITHER
By Luis Gomez, Contraact Reporter, San Diego Union-Tribune

It’s official. The Chargers are moving from San Diego to Los Angeles. San Diegans and Angelenos alike took to Twitter to share a wide range of emotions: anger, heartbreak, relief, disbelief Here’s what San Diegans wrote.

Estevan Gomez (@the_real_este): “I refuse to be a LA Chargers fan. Goodbye to the franchise that disappoints every Sunday.”

Kasino Marxs (@Marcs_Banner): “As of today, I exit as a@CHARGERS fan, and become just a fan of the game.”

Marcus Brewster (@mac926): “Junior Seau must be turning over in his grave about this #Chargers.”

Shawn.P.Walchef (@shawnpwalchef ): “ We encourage all Chargers fans to get to a @SDGullsAHL game as soon as possible. San Diego hockey is the real deal.”

Brian (@brianmarq): “ Well now that the Chargers are gone we can get to work on bringing@MLS to San Diego.”

Casey Van Camp (@CaseyMVan-Camp): “Sad day for the city of San Diego and the loyal fans the #Chargers leave behind.”

Paulina Mo (@LilBitsofPau): “@Chargers Your logo is like a twisting a knife in your loyal fans’ back. Disgusting.”

Morgan Harpenau (@Harpenau_ SoCal): “26 year loyal San Diego Chargers fan and it ends like this. Out of 56 years of existence that’s almost half your franchise existence!”

Petra Taylor (@petrataylor87): “As a San Diegan sad to see the @Chargers go. Relieved to see a decision. It was like slowly ripping off a band-aid painful and unnecessary.”

FreeMind619 (@FreeMind619): “I’m a die hard San Diegan, I’ll still wear my San Diego Chargers Jersey for the ‘San Diego’ title attached to the jersey.#Chargers.”

Jon Gorden(@JMKRIDE_Jon): “I’ve done my duty as a San Diegan. All @Chargers social media has been unfollowed. Bye bye @nfl.”

Jeremy Poincenot (@Jeremy-Poincenot): “It’s a sad day in San Diego. I was a ‘true’ @Chargers fan, but as a San Diegan I don’t root for L.A. teams.”

SevierR (@PelonNsdca): “@Chargers Good Riddance! There goes your fan base. No self respecting San Diegan is going to support an LA NFL team. #Chargers.”

What about the view from Los Angeles? Here’s what Angelenos had to say about it.

The Eclectic Beings (@EclecticBeings): “Feel kinda sorry for San Diego, but as an L.A. native, it is pretty cool to go from no football teams to 2 in a year’s time. #Chargers.

Vivek Ratkalkar (@vratkalkar): “I just moved to LA and a @buffalobills fan. Many here aren’t native to the area. The @Chargers+ point is their roster. Abetter team.”

Mari(@Queen_Mari7): “As an honest Angeleno, WE DO NOT WANT THE CHARGERS HERE.”

Haze Brown(@hazebrown4): “Couldn’t have said it any better. #Chargers ‘WE DONT WANT YOU!’ Sincerely, LA Native/Current Resident and lifelong member of #RaiderNation.”

Steven Cahn(@StevenCahn): “Add me to the list of Angelenos who don’t want the #Chargers here. I wonder how many do.”

Garytt Poirier (@Garytt): “Los Angelenos are truly fortunate to now have the choice of two NFL Teams when deciding which to care about less at Sunday brunch. #Chargers.”

Venusse Navid (@VeeNavid): “Maybe this isn’t rain, but the salty tears of all the whiny Angelenos complaining about the Chargers move to LA.”

Christian Spicer (@spicer): “I’m excited for the Chargers to come to LA. Hopefully between the two LA teams, we can have a 10-win season!”

Marc Wilmore (@marcwilmore):
“Annually, January 12 will now be the day a football team announces they are moving to Los Angeles. Who will it be in 2018? #Chargers #Rams”


Dean Spanos’ legacy is secure: He’s a villain
By Kevin Acee, Contract Reporter, San Diego Union-Tribune

Dean Spanos did it.

He created a lasting legacy.

He is the most hated man in San Diego. Ever.

Perhaps we should be more offended by a molesting mayor. Maybe the black eye of “Enron by the Sea” was worse.

But there is no single person who will henceforth elicit such vilification in this town as the man who moved the Chargers from their home of 56 years.

He made it official Thursday morning, posting a letter via the team’s Twitter page and on its website saying he is excited to take the Chargers to Los Angeles.

Spanos could have been so much of a hero had he not been so obstinate and found away over the years to make something work in San Diego on terms that weren’t all his own.

When the going gets tough, the weak leave town.

And so, Spanos is the villain.

There are those who say the Chargers were pushed to L.A. by Mayor Kevin Faulconer, along with those who sat in his chair before him and hold offices in the City Council chambers beneath his 11th-floor lair at City Hall.

There are those who know that the timid Spanos was also led by the nose by his devious henchman, Mark Fabiani.

And there are certainly those who don’t blame anyone, who hardly care. A private business wanted public money, and a good number of people weren’t on board with that concept.

But neither apathy nor anger directed elsewhere can alleviate what is in store for Spanos for the rest of his days.

It is difficult to imagine that much of his time left walking this earth can be spent on the beaches of La Jolla.

Who wants to continue living in a place where they know they are so odious to so many?

Spanos cannot justify what he has done.

Well, he can. A preposterous level of delusion, having convinced himself he did everything he could to keep his team in San Diego, will help. So, too, will the financial returns he and his family expect to reap in Inglewood. And despite the romantic notion that the team belonged to fans, it actually does belong to the Spanos family.

But it also belongs here, and we can be confident that Spanos knows that.

For whatever else, he knows he failed himself and a good majority of the folks in the city he has called home for half his life.

Maybe this is fitting.

Many people lamented over the years that the Spanos family never fully integrated into San Diego. That’s too simplistic, perhaps. And it is unfair to some extent. But the criticism arose from the family’s relative lack of community involvement, especially when compared to Padres owners such as Joan Kroc, John Moores and Ron Fowler.

Perhaps that lack of connection is Spanos’ best hope to escape incomparable scorn. He just simply wasn’t part of the fabric of San Diego.

Art Modell was once revered in Cleveland. In the end, they were hanging 10-foot-tall signs on buildings and raising hand-held cardboard placards and flying banners over the stadium during Browns games that read, “Jump Art,” exhorting the team owner to hurtle to his death from his suite. After moving his franchise to Baltimore, Modell never returned to Northeast Ohio, an area he loved. His grave in Maryland has on at least one documented occasion been treated as a restroom by a bitter Browns fan. There has so long been disdain (with periods of grudging indifference and brief interludes of actual accord) for Spanos and his father before him that maybe Chargers fans’ abhorrence has a shelf life. Plus, this isn’t Ohio. There are beaches and sunshine, to name two differences. Clevelanders acknowledge that their passion for the Browns is partially borne of their not having much else. Maybe the worst tangible punishment Spanos endures is moving from La Jolla to Laguna Niguel, fighting traffic on the 5 and 405 and sitting in a stadium that is half-full (with opposing fans) on Sundays.

More likely, it will be worse than that.

Deno does love his San Diego haunts, does have his close circle of friends. And it is likely that the spite of San Diegans will be shocking. A person often don’t know how bad a circumstance can be until they’re in that circumstance.

“He has no idea what it’s going to be like,” Jim Bailey, who was a Browns vice president during the team’s transition to Baltimore, said in late 2015 when Spanos appeared set on moving the first time.

Whatever it looks like— overt hostility or San Diego’s laid-back version of vitriol, it is now Dean Spanos’ legacy.


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