San Diego paper proposes own damn $1.5B Chargers stadium plan

The right-wing businessman who bought the San Diego Union-Tribune (since renamed U-T San Diego) has made clear what he meant in saying local newspapers should be “cheerleaders” for stadiums, penning an editorial yesterday that proposed spending $1.5 billion on a waterfront stadium, expanded convention center, sports arena, parks, and beaches.

To pay for it, U-T owner Doug Manchester proposes a mix of funding sources: the $520 million currently slated for use to expand the convention center, $200 million from the sale of the Qualcomm Stadium site, $90 million by diverting funds currently used to maintain Qualcomm (no word on how the new stadium would be maintained), $50 million from selling the Valley View Casino Center arena, $50 million from the sale of naming rights, and $63 million from ticket fees. “These are only some of the many innovative ideas” for funding the project, writes Manchester (or his editorial minions — it’s tough to tell, since much of the editorial package is unsigned). They had better be, since by the numbers provided here, Manchester’s plan is still more than half a billion dollars short of paying for itself.

The public reception of the plan so far is hard to tell, given that the only daily paper in the city is the one stumping for it, so understandably isn’t sending its reporters out to discern whether it’s viable. With any luck, the independent Voice of San Diego will soon remedy this, but for now we’ll have to make do with its recent profile of Manchester, with its memorable blind quote: “If there is a hell, Doug Manchester is the face of it.”


16 comments on “San Diego paper proposes own damn $1.5B Chargers stadium plan

  1. “He has a reputation: egomaniacal, short-tempered, litigious, unrelenting.”

    Wow, that Voice of San Diego sure sounds independent. No need to kowtow to their ownership/readership at all, huh?

  2. That may be his reputation, but of the 3 plans offered by stadium planners this one is the best one so far. It has both a short term (football stadium) and long term vision (waterfront revival south of the Bay front Hilton). It also is the only plan so far that would make all 4 of the major players happy (city, Chargers, convention center, and hoteliers). It allows for a contiguous convention center space from the Marriot convention space through the existing convention center, through the Hilton’s convention space and into the stadium. Which is what the convention center is rightly demanding and why the east village stadium that they’re going to demolish the landmark Wonder factory for is a non-starter. And it’s not as insane as filling part of the existing marina behind the convention center like the existing alternative plan is suggesting.

    The finances like always will be a question, but so far I see nothing wrong with the financing plan they have laid out. I wouldn’t even call their numbers overly optimistic at this point.

  3. Dan;

    You forgot one major player… the marine terminal. You know, the one that is actually providing jobs and commerce for San Diego rather than making vague promises about future benefits.

    That aside I would agree that there is potential at this site. The only question is how do you fund it? The U-T doesn’t seem to have any ideas other than suggesting it might cost $1.5Bn. Or, you know, maybe $2Bn. Or maybe $3Bn.

    Thinking big is fine. It can produce benefits. But it has to do so at a price that doesn’t bankrupt it’s sponsor.

  4. True, they have to finalize a way to pay for it that makes sense. But seeing as this is a genesis article I wouldn’t expect them to have anything yet. As for the marine terminal it will have to be relocated further down the bay which is an issue they’ll have to address. But they’ve been clear they wouldn’t want the jobs to be lost. It would be a non-starter anyway. Labor would oppose the move if it cost 600 longshoremen their jobs.

  5. All these are excellent questions, and normally the sorts of things you would want a daily paper to be examining. Except of course that here the paper is “cheerleading” the plan, so I’ll be very surprised if they give it due diligence.

    Voice of San Diego is run by a non-profit and has gotten high marks for their work, so I trust them slightly more to be interested in reporting facts, not just what their publisher tells them to. That said, they don’t have anywhere near the resources or the reach of a daily, so the demise of the Union-Trib as even a semiserious publication is a big loss.

  6. Note that here the SJ Mercury News is behaving just like the Union Trib. The Merc just had 2 editorials telling people to ‘just say no’ to signing the petitions on the stadium loans in Santa Clara. Nevermind that the reason for the petitions is the $850 million in loans that were not disclosed on the original stadium ballot.

    Of course, telling people not to sign didn’t work, which just makes the SJ Merc look irrelevant. Neither did the editorials in the Santa Clara Weekly nor the union members who tried to derail the referendum by ‘intercepting’ people who wanted to sign the petitions.

    It is interesting that so many people have canceled their paid subscriptions to the SJ Merc because of the pro-stadium bias, and people have even canceled the free weekly Santa Clara paper for the same reason.

    A couple of years ago the SJ Merc did a study in which a reporter asked people to take a survey about what they liked and disliked about the paper. The strongest dislike? Biased reporting. Did the paper listen? No. I don’t know how much of their drop in circulation is due to people like us who are fed up with the biased reporting so therefore cancel the hard copy of the paper after faithfully paying for it for 20+ years.

  7. You people should really learn what you’re talking about. Do any of you know how much money the team brings to this economy? You idiot should really do your homework

  8. Oh, Mikey, Mikey, Mikey. This site is all about spreading the word about the “homework”. Part-time stadium jobs and a bunch of players who live elsewhere contribute less to “this economy” than boosters would have you believe. Then look up “substitution effect”.

    You’re welcome.

  9. Actually telling people not to sign seemed to work to an extent. The stadium opponents only got about 5500 signatures which was just barely to their stated goal amount.

  10. Why must every article be thread-jacked by the Santa Clara folks?!? Seriously, y’all… WTF?!? I’m opposed to public subsidies for stadiums, but I almost wish you had to pay for the rest of your life. STAY OFF PAGES THAT AREN’T ABOUT THE NINERS!!!

  11. Why must every article be thread-jacked by the Santa Clara folks?!? Seriously, y’all… WTF?!? I’m opposed to public subsidies for stadiums, but I almost wish you had to pay for the rest of your life. STAY OFF PAGES THAT AREN’T ABOUT THE NINERS!!!

  12. This is off topic for this thread, but in response to Dan:
    5,500+ signatures in only 3 weeks with major holidays in there and the city/unions doing everything they could to stop the signature drive is quite a feat. The Co. Registrar of Voters confirmed that SCPF had hundreds more valid signatures than required on each petition. SCPF only needed 4,480 valid signatures on each petition to qualify for the ballot. They had > 5,000 valid signatures on each petition, according to the Co. Reg. of voters.

  13. Yes Dan,

    Furthermore, when the 49er funded “citizens” group was gathering signatures for measure J a couple years back we were not interfering with them.

    Why did Jed feel entitled to try to monkey wrench us with these low tactics?

    Also saw that Jed lives in upscale Los Altos now. Jed should buy a townhouse near the stadium site to show he’s “with” the people who would have to endure the construction.

    Sorry Anon, I sort of see your point, but OTOH the newspaper in San Diego is acting very much like the one in San Jose.

  14. Voice of San Diego is a very good source of information. The U-T is a fish wrap, Manchester’s new home to spew his extreme rightwing propaganda that includes welfare for billionaires.

    The only people who think this is a good thing for San Diego are those who are completely ignorant about the financial workings of such a plan. I honestly was amazed by the level of stupidity found in the online comments in favor of this ridiculous joke. There were things like “this would pay for itself in less than 10 years” and that “no NFL stadium could be built for less than $700 million”.

    The Spannos family could build their own stadium on the existing site just from NFL grant money, PSL funds, and naming rights but instead they would rather donate money to Rick Perry while getting the taxpayers to foot the bill. Typical republican welfare queens.

    Wish we could pass a referendum to kick them out of San Diego, bulldoze the Q, and sell the land.

  15. “He has a reputation: egomaniacal, short-tempered, litigious, unrelenting.”

    Ben, Manchester actually revels in that reputation. Oh and he’s a self proclaimed bigot as well.