Oh, no. Could this be the end for our intrepid columnists Ben and Faris? The gloves are off in their final Measure C face-off, with Faris slamming the Chargers and Ben remaining ever-encouraged for the future of football in San Diego.
Faris Tanyos: The Chargers operate under a very simple supposition: no matter how poorly we our treat our fans, they’ll come back for more, always more. Why? Because we’re holding them hostage by our beautiful, brutal game of football.
That’s why the Chargers engaged in a ridiculous contract stalemate with sensational rookie defensive end Joey Bosa; a stalemate that may have cost them enough early-season wins to keep them out of the playoffs, again.
That’s why they pulled a Mean Girls and posted Councilman Chris Cate’s phone number on social media. What? That’s why they hired the likes of Mark Fabiani to bully and scare San Diego’s politicians into endorsing their ridiculous proposals. That’s why, between 1997 and 2004, the Chargers fleeced San Diego to the tune of $36 million with their so-called ticket guarantee. The Bolts were guaranteed to sell-out every game. If they didn't, the city made up the difference by paying the Chargers for every unsold ticket.
The Chargers don’t respect you. They see you as nothing more than a dollar sign. That’s the damn truth.
Despising your customers is a strange way to run a business. Only airlines and internet providers have that kind of carte blanche. A carte blanche that stems from a complete lack of competition. They know YOU DON’T HAVE A CHOICE.
The NFL is only competing with itself and its safety net is infinite. That is scary.
But guess what Dean Spanos? San Diegans do have a choice. And on Nov. 8, they’ll use it to universally reject YOU. Your game isn’t as bulletproof as you thought. And your intimidation tactics have backfired.
I’m sure when Measure C gets pummeled, the Chargers will send out an acerbic, condescending news release blaming EVERYONE but themselves for its failure. Even though they planted those seeds for decades.
The truth is this: Their plan was riddled with holes. And if the Chargers want a new stadium, they should fund it themselves, with their own money. You know, like all Americans who takes out mortgages and spend 30 years of their lives paying them off.
But the Bolts won’t do that. Because Spanos has a shiny new home waiting for him in Los Angeles, one that’s mortgage-free. There’s no strings attached and no financial risk of any kind. He used every part of the buffalo that is San Diego. America’s Finest City has nothing left to give.
So, here’s what happens next: The Chargers take the 5 up to L.A., where they belong.
And good riddance.
Ben Higgins: I’ve spent far too much time analyzing Measure C.
Since the Chargers crafted the proposal, I really expected some secret provisions that left taxpayers on the hook for more money than we all thought – but those secret provisions just aren’t there.
Measure C is exactly what the Chargers advertised: a hotel tax increase to pay for two things that San Diego badly needs – a convention center expansion and a football stadium.
Unfortunately, too many people will hold the Chargers’ attempt to move to Carson against Spanos for the Measure to get a 67 percent majority (or maybe even 50 percent). That’s the right of voters, but as Spanos reminded me in an interview this week, San Diego would never have received an extra $100 million from the NFL had the Chargers not at least attempted to challenge the Rams and their quest for Inglewood.
I often hear fans say the Chargers should pay for their own stadium just like a regular person has to pay for their own house, but that only makes sense if you don't stop to think about it. The city of San Diego will own the stadium and Convention Center expansion and will pay nothing to the Chargers to use it over 97 percent of the time. Tell me, how big of a mortgage would you be willing to pay if you only got to use your house 10 days out of the year? The Chargers are willing to pay $650 million -- which is a lot more than 3 percent.
I’ll be sad when Measure C fails, because I guarantee that in five years, San Diego still won’t have any new convention space. There won’t be a stadium, downtown will still feature a giant eyesore of a bus yard and the Chargers could very well be playing football in Los Angeles.
I still have hope that last part won’t come true.
Spanos is looking for a reason to stay. He wants to see at least half of the voters acknowledge that keeping the Chargers in San Diego is important – and so is bringing in other big events like Super Bowls and college football national championship games.
My crystal ball says Measure C will fail, but the Chargers and Mayor Kevin Faulconer will sit down after the election on a new plan to try and address the stadium and convention center issues. And sometime in the next two years, we’ll be headed back to the ballot box with one more decision to make about the future of the Chargers in San Diego.