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Saving the Chargers Stadium Campaign for the National Football League
Part 4 of 7: Smart Growth

This Supplement #2 (Supplement #1 of June 18, was on "Internet Strategies) to the June 12, 2002 "Saving The Chargers Stadium Campaign For San Diego," details how to blend real estate and overall geographic growth into a community dialogue, the success of which depends on larger development entities like the new Chargers stadium and, more importantly, an NFL team, as they become part of the "bonding blocks" of the greater San Diego community.

A Commentary on Relevant Articles

Two Dynamcis

There are two dynamics that have historically been unchanged regardless of people and politics, ideologies and policies, religions and races:

  1. MACRO-level: the only constant in history is change. It can be slowed but never stopped.
  2. MICRO-level: all human interaction takes place face-to-face within the concept of roles, whether shared or not, whether perceived equally or not, whether understood or not.

Conclusions Derived from the Articles

  1. That if at all possible, the Spanos want to stay in San Diego
  2. That it is more of a site issue (Mission Valley vs. East Bay or East County or North County) rather that a city issue (San Diego vs. L.A.).
  3. That regardless of whether individuals or groups promote or retard growth, love or fear growth, all agree that if possible, it would be better to have agreement on directing the changes than let the forces of change go undirected, which means that if a round table is set up, the knights of the various groups will attend and work together.
  4. The stadium issue is about more than the Chargers: it is about a stadium that would host the Super Bowl (the NFL’s favorite spot; remember how many are coming from cold, humid East Coast and Mid-West climes in January), and other major events. The Super Bowl itself is worth $250 million to San Diego each time it is held. The stadium is also about international soccer matches, motocross, concerts, and other events, all of which can generate revenue to help support the stadium for the City.
  5. No new taxes need be levied on the average San Diego tax payer, although a small increase in a tourist tax (hotels, motels), could be levied by the city council without needing a vote, with the key to its success being how it is presented: a tourist/business tax, not a tax on San Diego residents (at least on very few).
  6. The team is an important civic, cultural and financial asset to the city.
  7. The team, in bottom line terms, has a positive net economic and quality of life effect on the city.

Real Concerns

  1. "regional transit (never profitable anywhere)": Transit cannot be understood properly unless the cost-benefit analysis includes all contexts: when time of travel, environmental impact, regional stability, reduction in congestion, and moving people for large events, as the stadiums, and other factors, it is worth it in community cost terms for everyone to support it.
  2. "distrust...prisoner’s dilemma...remain prisoner". Given the nature of humans and the witness of history, people would be crazy not to distrust. The solution is to use a conflict resolution process that clearly lays out the rules of the game. Planning is a necessity. Social engineering is not. Key also, therefore, is to know the difference between planning (which all should embrace) and social engineering (which all should shun). The former is inclusive, the latter is exclusive. The former allows for cooperation, the latter creates conflict.
  3. "growth" -- That Shakespeare’s notion that "a rose by any other rose is still a rose" fits here as well. Whether it is called "growth," or "smart growth," or "densification," or "population growth," or "insufficient funding," or "growth in housing costs," or "smart growth financing", it still involves everyone the same way and therefore it behooves everyone to cooperate to collaborative resolve the issues so that the problems can be solved, and then let the race begin as to who wins the race and who places 2nd, 3rd and fourth. The bottom line is that all will cross the finish line. And that is all anyone can ask.
  4. Dealing with "industrial acreage and flatland...subdividers...quality of life....soaring housing costs....decline in water quality....insufficient funding" needs to be done is such a way that all win some and lose some and none win all and none lose all. Communities often need some common ground rallying point to gather around. The Chargers, Padres and Aztecs provide three tangible intangibles that all in the wider community can get behind and support, generating civic pride and cooperation for other issues.
  5. That all the major interests converge to a central point of shared interest and benefit from a new Stadium and the Chargers staying in San Diego: developers (economic and real estate), tourist industry (including ConVis, Convention Center, airlines, travel agents, Padres, Chargers,), environmentalists, Torey Pines and other recreation spots, ocean related resorts and businesses, and the great catch-all: citizen watchdogs/voters/tax payers.
  6. The four "conflicting groups" (developers, business, environmentalists, citizen watchdogs) should be seen not as opponents in a win-lose game of dividing the San Diego pie, but rather points of scales seeking balance in sharing the San Diego pie, that they are not so much in conflict as not yet finding the common ground from which they can all work. Our system of government/nation is built on a system of "checks and balances." We need developers and business to create the jobs that throw off the taxes and charitable giving that fund government agencies and private trusts and funds looking after the environment. Watching all three are the citizens. This is good. It’s the American way. Democracy is a wonderful tool. It helps us keep our freedoms, which is part of keeping our liberty. As we look around at the conflict spots in the world today, that gives us pause to celebrate our way of life and to be thankful that all of us can participate in its future. Having said that, the issue becomes not so much a new support system as using the one already in place. The Chargers and Padres and Aztecs help focus the common ground from which to deal with the serious issues of growth confronting the region.
  7. The way to start is to think of four circles. Lay them down and then push them together until there is an ellipsis in the center where they all overlap. This is the common ground on which all agree. Most common ground areas are agreed upon as being important: development (economic and real estate), jobs, environmental protection, education, housing, and transportation. From a common ground standpoint, all four (to borrow from a book title) are "indispensable enemies." At the same time they are all "comrades in arms." In the recent popular film Black Hawk Down, there is a scene that reminds us that quite often what we lack is not instruction in how to do something (some Czar of Super Planning) but rather to be reminded that how to cooperate and win together is already in side us. Thus, in the movie, the hero says to the soldier standing nearby in shock, to "get into that truck and drive" as the driver has been shot. The soldier replies "But I’m shot" too. The hero then replies, "Everybody’s shot. Get in and drive." To put it in the words of Peter Jessen, all groups can then see why it serves each of them to take "the high road of healing and harmony," as all, really, are in the same boat.

How Peter Jessen Can Help Both the Chargers and the City of San Diego

We are Marching to the Drumbeat of Four Central Ideas

  1. We are friends of the Chargers and want to help the Chargers solve the problem of how to achieve their goal of building a stadium with little or no debt and no new taxes.
  2. We are friends of all of San Diego and sports fans and want to show them how to achieve their goal of keeping the Chargers in San Diego, and deal positively and profitably with the predecessor stadium, Qualcomme, either through renovation or replacement.
  3. We are friends of the Spanos family and are responding positively to their challenge, "show us," with our proposal of how to build the stadium with only normal infrastructure public spending, how to incur little or no debt, and how to generate profits on an on-going basis; year round, so they can stay competitive staying in San Diego.
  4. We are friends of everyone, responding positively to the invitation for how to hold a San Diego conversation, by providing a series of models that could be used to facilitate such a series of resolution conversations and meetings.

Historic Opportunity for the Chargers and the City of San Diego

Peter Jessen can help the Chargers and the City of San Diego join together to benefit from THREE "once in a lifetime" historic opportunities to lead the nation in sports management (which would help increase the Chargers and the City’s brand and reach) by being the leaders in the United States regarding

  1. Showing how to deal with the stadium issue with no new taxes in this new day of tax reductions taking over from tax maximizing (every owner and city will thank you, as will their legislatures and tax payers)
  2. Showing how to, in particular, use this model to solve multiple stadium solutions by combining a football complex with a real estate investment/development project.
  3. Showing how to positively transform the economics of professional sports, especially the NFL, before it is dragged down the MSB path.

Practical Action Steps Towards Solutions

  1. Peter Jessen can provide strategic thinking and creative ideas to support the various dimensions of the problems facing the Chargers and the City of San Diego, including supporting legal, public affairs, public relations, communications (internal and external), and government affairs.
  2. We recognize that all have to deal with the reality of global and technological forces that are at work around the city, the state, the country, and the world, sorting metropolitan regions into winners and losers depending upon how much and how fast capital and talent are rearranged. Quality of life as defined by having big league teams is a component of corporate thinking when it locates new businesses and offices.
  3. San Diego has much to build on: an international airport, two major league teams, investments in art and theater, innovative social policies on occasion, creating one of the most breath taking and beautiful and quality of life places to live. The key is to keep this heritage going, to maintain these traditions, and to enable all citizens to reconnect better.
  4. The Chargers, Padres, and Aztecs help everyone feel connected, providing the one thing all can discuss together regardless of their background. So its more than 60-80,000 fans watching ball games in a stadium. It is all of the same citizen fans watching on TV, listening on the radio, following in the newspapers, magazine, and ESPN.
  5. Football creates a positive community fever. can help the Chargers and the City of San Diego fan that fever positively so that all win in the stadium resolution task, and do so in such a way that it does not become a burden on tax payers. can help the city revive its football spirit.
  6. Peter Jessen reminds everyone that even though not everyone likes football (it is the number one sport in America, but there are still those who don’t follow it), professional teams are on the same level of investment in the future as transit, real estate projects, free ways, and theater. They are part of the investment communities make to retain and attract the talented wealth-producers of the new economy. These investments benefit everyone. New wealth will fix and sustain good schools, health care, roads, compassionate social services and civic pride that San Diegoans expect and cherish. Deep down, we believe that San Diego citizens hunger for better than "good enough."
  7. Peter Jessen can help the Chargers and the City of San Diego bring the big four together (developers, tourist industry, environmentalists, and citizen watchdogs/voters/tax payers) to work for the benefit of greater San Diego, now and in the future.

Read Part 5 »

Page content written / posted: 06-12-02, 01-20-03

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