Another Post-Election Result …


I got an email over the weekend with a great offer.  If I wanted to buy “genuine” NBA gear at 50% off – or more – all I had to do was to click on a link and go to some website that I will not reproduce here for reasons that will become obvious in a moment.  One of the jerseys pictured in the email was #24 from the LA Lakers.  The email sender identified it as the jersey of “Colby Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakes”.  At that point, I figured there were two explanations:

I chose #2 and deleted the email.  When you get one in your inbox, I suggest you do the same…

In addition to the country electing a President last week, the good folks of San Diego spoke clearly with regard to public financing for a new stadium for the Chargers.  I do not pretend to understand what provision of law in either California or San Diego – or both – required a ballot initiative prior to the city fathers striking a deal with the team owner.  Nevertheless, I think that is a great provision of law and that other jurisdictions would do well to replicate it in other jurisdictions.  The deal was supposedly going to be financed by a rise in the hotel tax allowing proponents to say that out-of-towners would be paying for the stadium.  The people did not buy that.

The new stadium financing proposal only got 43% of the vote.  In electoral politics, a vote of 52% – 48% is considered a “landslide win”; I do not know if there is a word that makes “landslide win” seem like a trivial matter; if there is such a word, I think it might apply to the stadium funding initiative in San Diego.

So, where does this leave the Chargers and the NFL?  Here are some possible pathways to the future:

  1. Stasis. The Chargers stay in San Diego and continue to play in Qualcomm Stadium even though ownership – and others – say it is outdated and sub-standard.  [Full disclosure:  I have never been to that stadium to see a game.  I have driven by it and seen it from the road.  That is the full extent of my personal expertise here.]  In such a circumstance, the Chargers would continue to make money year after year after year – albeit not as much as they might make in a new playpen.  For an NFL team actually to lose money these days, it would have to be operated by a lobotomized garden slug.
  2. The Chargers have an option – I believe it expires next February – to move to LA and be a “junior partner” in the new stadium complex that Stan Kroenke and others are building there. I have to imagine that Kroenke would prefer not to have such a “partner” and will drive a hard bargain in whatever partnership agreement would be forthcoming.  However, as I understand it, his approval to move the Rams to LA last year by the NFL had that contingency in the approval.  I think the Chargers would be destined to exist as “junior partners” in this arrangement for eternity – – with particular emphasis on the word “junior”.
  3. The Chargers might cast a loving glance in the direction of Las Vegas NV where the State money for a new stadium ($700M) has already been approved by the legislature and signed by the governor. [Aside:  Interestingly, Nevada will pay for the stadium bonds with an increased hotel tax levied in the city/county of Las Vegas.  No referendum was required.]  A team moving to Las Vegas will have to deal with Sheldon Adelson who is also putting up a reported $650M for the project; perhaps, the Chargers can get a better deal from Messr. Adelson than they can get from Messr. Kroenke?
  4. Recall that the Chargers and the Raiders had a “partnership proposal” in front of the NFL owners last year where they would build a stadium in Carson, CA and both teams would move there. Is there another deal to be made between those two clubs?  I doubt that the NFL would approve of 2 teams moving to Las Vegas…
  5. The NFL continues to say that they want a team in London…

I do not do a lot of commentary here on NHL happenings for the simple reason that I do not follow the NHL nearly as closely as I follow other sports – particularly in the regular season.  A friend who tracks the NHL much more closely told me to go and look at the following data and to think about an explanation.

  • The Montreal Canadiens have played 16 games so far this year and have won 13 of them.
  • At one point, they had an 8-game win streak going for them as they went to Columbus, OH to play the Columbus Blue Jackets.  As of this morning the Blue Jackets have won 7 of their 13 outings.
  • In that game in Columbus, the Canadiens lost by a score of 10-0.  In their 16 games so far this season, the Canadiens have only allowed 34 goals.  Other than this debacle of a game, the team gives up an average of 1.6 goals per game; in that game, they gave up 10 goals.

I have thought about this; I have no explanation…

Finally, Brad Dickson of the Omaha World-Herald demonstrated great insight with this comment on college football:

“In Thailand, a tortoise raced a hare. This is the Thai version of Michigan playing Rutgers in college football.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………

4 thoughts on “Another Post-Election Result …”

  1. As a “public service”, let me aid in your understanding of the stadium – the so-called “convadium” since the venue was to serve as an addition to the Convention Center as well as a new home to the Chargers – issue out here in San Diego: The Voter Initiative in question required a tax increase (Hotel Occupancy Tax) to provide the additional funding required by the project. Prop. 13 (passed back in ’78) did a bunch of things wrt taxes but of import here, it amended the Cal. Constitution to require that ANY tax (with limited exceptions) must be approved by a vote of the people and must pass with a 2/3 super-majority. There was some debate (caused by a relatively-recent Appellate Court ruling) as to whether this tax would actually qualify under a provision that allows passage with a simple majority (50%+1). As far as I know, that debate/question was not resolved by the time of the vote. But in any case, as revealed by the percentages you cited, that question is now moot with the Yes vote only garnering ~43%. Assuming that the required percentage was in fact 66%, “landslide” hardly does the results here justice! These results are more akin to what would happen if Alabama got paired-up against one of your SHOE tournament teams… I suspect Mr. Spanos got the message.

    1. Pete Murray:

      Good to hear from you again; do not be a stranger to the comments here…

      I was unaware that the requirement for a ballot initiative was required per Prop 13 from so long ago. I recall the debate surrounding that issue but – not living in CA – I had no sens that it had any impact on anything almost 40 years after the fact. As you point out, even with only a majority vote needed here, the stadium funding vote was not remotely close; if it needed a 2/3 vote to pass, then it was farcical ever to consider that it might pass.

      Thanks for the clarification.

    2. To be specific, any tax with a purpose identified (library, stadium, etc.) must get 2/3 majority to raise it. Any general (non-specified) tax just needs a 50% + 1 majority, so what has been done to make more dubious ideas go through is to float two linked ballot questions: first the “general” tax and second the explanation / target. I don’t know how much the courts have weighed in on this rope-a-dope but we see it a lot in the Bay Area on projects. It doesn’t help the Bolts since they lost outright.

      Qualcomm is the ex-Jack Murphy and is one of those stadiums like Three Rivers that rotated a section to go from baseball to football mode. That should give you an idea about the infrastructure, but I have no idea what the current amenities are.

      1. rugger9:

        Thanks for the information. I did know that Qualcomm had its roots in the previously popular architectural design as a “dual use stadium”. Thank Heaven that idea went the way of all flesh…

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