August 11, 2006

Editorial

National City, Chargers out of your league, so to speak

National City City Manager Chris Zapata has a “Field of Dreams” vision for the city as he talks up the idea of bringing the San Diego Chargers to the poorest city in San Diego County. But this is not Hollywood, and there will be no Hollywood ending for this dream!

It was just two months ago National City City Council chose to tax the residents by one percent, now 8.75%, because the city didn’t have the 7 to 9 million dollars with which to sustain basic public services, like keeping their new library open. The cost of building a football stadium will cost in the range of $600 million, this for a city that survives on $40 million a year.

Sure it would be nice to afford a football stadium in the South County, but this is a luxury item for the super rich to play with. This is out of the city’s league, so to speak. A stadium is not something for a city that recently had to lay off city staff in order to avoid bankruptcy.

City Manager Chris Zapata is relatively new to the area and perhaps it should be pointed out to him that the Charges were costing the citizens of San Diego about a million dollars a game when the stadium didn’t sellout, which happened quite often. Listen, if the Chargers could pull this deal off with the San Diego’s City Council, we shudder to think what kind of deals they can pull off with the National City’s council.

Let’s get real for a minute. This city has two chances to get a stadium in this city: slim and none. First and foremost, Chargers owner Dean Spanos would love nothing better than to move the team to Los Angeles where that market dwarfs the whole of San Diego County. Secondly, showboating an already occupied 52 acres of land to a team complaining about 166 that they already have isn’t a good marketing scheme. Chula Vista, having a plethora of dirt lots, wins that round. There are just too many hurdles and if the City of San Diego can’t afford the Chargers, what makes a struggling National City a better fit?

Zapata has already put $15,000 aside to pay attorney Les Girard to follow up on this folly and it is up to the City Council to put a stop to this charade. To continue down this road will reflect a lack of responsibility, and for City Councilman Ron Morrision, who wants to be the next mayor, this reflects a poor grasp on reality and a lack of leadership.

By the way slim just left the building!

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