Thursday, October 20, 2016

Hey Tony Hawk, I'm Voting Yes on Measure C, So Should You!

The proposed San Diego Chargers Stadium/Convention Center
I see that skateboarding legend Tony "The Birdman" Hawk this week declared his disdain for the so-called "Convadium" project (left), which would bring a new National Football League stadium and convention center in one neat package to Downtown San Diego's East Village without costing San Diegans a dime.

“I love the Chargers, but if they go, we still have the beach, the zoo, Blink-182, Mexico, sunshine, Nick Cannon, Comic-Con and me, Tony Hawk,” he said this week in a lame video rant.  

I don't want to ruffle Hawk's feathers, but I frankly don't give a flying frig' what the multi-millionaire man-child thinks about a project that will keep the Chargers in San Diego, provide jobs and be a source of great pride for this city for the next half century-plus.

San Diego, the nation's eighth largest city, is my home and I love it. But this place is dangerously close to becoming a provincial national joke. We're looking a helluva lot like Bakersfield South (sorry, Bakersfield). San Diego is again looking to the world like a backwoods burg masquerading as a Metropolis.

And Tony, with his weak observations, isn't helping matters any. We already lost our NBA team. Sad. We don't have an NHL team. Ugh. We have a losing MLB team. Arrrgh. And, soon, we may not have an NFL team. Are you kidding me?

I'm gonna vote Yes on Measure C, the Chargers' stadium and convention center initiative on next month's ballot for San Diego voters.

And Tony, you should, too.

I'm a rabid patron of the arts. I'm educated. Yup, I read books and stuff. I love live theater, too, and live music. And I also love sports. Losing the Bolts would be a huge blow to this city. Because contrary to what some of you might think, sports teams are a vitally important part of a big city's identity and pride. 

Take your pick: Pittsburgh, New York, Denver, Seattle, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Detroit. Anyone who's resided in or visited any of these great American cities has witnessed how professional sports teams are simply a part of their DNA. They bring people in these cities of all socio-economic stripes together in ways that few other things can. It's just a fact.

It happens here in San Diego, too. When the Chargers are in the playoffs, this place is electric, and largely united.

In the Plaza section at the decaying Qualcomm Stadium where I had Chargers season tickets for more than 20 years, no one asked each other what our personal politics were. There were people of all income levels, races and religions in that section, and we cared about each other because we all loved the Chargers.

And that still goes on at the Q. Yes, you''ll see Trump fans and Hillary fans, in the same section giving each other high fives! If that is shallow, so be it. It's real.

I'm not a fan of the ownership, the Spanos family. Noop, not at all. But this project is so much bigger than one rich family. It's for all of us. I can support a company without liking the CEO. This team has been here for 55-plus years, long before Spanos arrived on the scene.

The Chargers are our team. They are as indelibly and warmly identified with our city as the world-famous San Diego Zoo or the Navy. The Chargers for six decades have been bringing San Diego families together. This new stadium and convention center will be enjoyed by our kids, grandkids and great grandkids. That's not hype. It's true.

And the whole shiny thing will be paid for by an increase in the city's hotel room tax, and by the Chargers and the NFL. It won't cost we locals a cent, and will not hurt tourism, it'll help it. When's the last time you checked the "hotel room tax" when you booked a vacation?

Obviously, I'm a diehard Chargers fan. I have been since I moved here in the 1980s to attend San Diego State. But this is not just about my love for football. It's about my love for this city and about what I've seen happen here when one of our teams is winning.

Pro sports teams transcend sport. Anyone who dismisses that, anyone who does not recognize the emotional and sociological significance of a pro sports team to the morale and well-being of the residents of any great American city, is just clueless. 


  1. Then back a bill in which you pay for it. Dont bill tourists. Youre not outsmarting anyone and youre discouraging visitors to SD, which help the economy much more than NFL perennial disappointments the Chargers

    1. You're confused. This stadium and CONVENTION CENTER will actually boost visitors and increase tourism. Tourists who love San Diego won't even notice a slight increase in hotel bills. Visitors will feel no pain. The hotel tax rate will still be competitive with San Francisco and LA and other destination cities. It's not exorbitant. By the way, I typically delete anonymous posts. Have the courage to tell us who you are, or take a hike. :)

  2. And Tony, don't forget that you can also use the stadium for your X-Games.

    1. Good point. But please, y'all, no anonymous posts. Tell us who you are!

  3. We will feel the pain just like we felt the pain with the Petco park bill that was supposed to be paid for by hotel taxes too. They couldn't collect on that and San Diegan's picked up the tab. The team is a trivial boost to our economy with what (10 events a year?) What we really need is an intelligent convention center expansion that makes sense and is competitive enough to keep Comic-con and the other 100's of events here that actually make a difference by bringing 1000's of visitors and 1000's of jobs to our community. This whole thing is just Spano's taking advantage of the loyalty of Charger's fans to line his pockets and show off to the other billionaire owners.

    1. Read my story again, get a clue. There are other benefits besides economic ones. Less tangible but no less important. The Chargers have been woven into the fabric of this community for 55 years. Comic-con is one week out of the year. The is absolutely a legit convention center addition. And again, if you're gonna spew your opinions have the guts do use your real name, Anonymous. Of course Spanos will get richer, but this is not about Spanos. It's about the city. This is not a palace for Spanos, it is a functional stadium and convention center for all of us for the next 5o years. Here ios the bottom line: either you love and appreciate the power of sport and the immeasurable value of rooting for your home team and you desperately want to keep this team that has meant so much to san diego for 55 years, or you don't. Will prop c make a rich sports owner richer? Yep. zzzzzzzz..... But this stadium and convention center themselves aren't for spanos, they're for us. All of us. A professional football team contributes every bit as much to a community as any arts or civic organization. A pro sports team brings together people of disparate races, religions, socio-economic levels, etc, like very few things can. in my section at the Q over the years, we had people of all races, religions, incomes, ages, etc. We all got along. We all love the chargers. We had a common interest and passion. Trump fans and Hillary fans giving each other high fives. It's real. It doesn;t show up on a balance sheet, although the argument that this is good for the future economy has been soundly made. At the end of the day (as they say), if you don't appreciate the innate joy of sport, if you've never felt the intense pleasure (and pain) of rooting for your hometown team, if you don't love the game of football itself, you'll never be swayed to vote yes on prop c -- no matter what the economic or political argument.