What Would It Mean if the Chargers Leave?

Derek Togerson, of NBC 7 San Diego, reflects on the impact to the City and County of San Diego if the Chargers were to leave town. With the San Diego Chargers being a strong force in the community, what organization could replace that? As most of us know, the impact of losing the team would be enormouse. Here is just a small sample of the organizations that the Chargers are actively involved with locally.

• San Diego Unified Schools, largely in Physical Fitness and Athletics for K-12
• San Diego Blood Bank
• StarPal
• Susan G Komen
• Marines/Military, including the Armed Services
• SD County Adoptions Calendar Project
• Make-a-Wish Foundation
• Youth Football Organizations Across San Diego
In addition to the emotional impact for fans and those who are directly related to the team’s outreach programs, is the City ready to lose guaranteed revenue for the next 50 years? Click here to read more on how the Colts leaving Baltimore in 1984 affected their city.

Opinion: Let’s Not Play The Blame Game

Opinion

This is a scary time for Chargers fans here in San Diego. We at Save Our Bolts are doing everything we can to keep the team here in San Diego where they built their history. As an activist with twenty years experience working on campaigns, I have run lots of grassroots efforts in my time. I have developed strategies that have worked and some that have failed, one of the most difficult things facing us at Save Our Bolts is our need to develop a clear strategy.

Since the Rams put pressure on Chargers by announcing the Inglewood project, this issue has become like a runaway freight train. Save Our Bolts is no different from the San Diego Stadium Coalition, Mayor Faulconer’s office or the CSAG (Citizen Stadium Advisory Group). We are all trying to grab a hold of this train, it is speeding so far and fast down the tracks it is hard to catch your breath. Something as simple as a rally becomes difficult to organize when the issue changes so fast – it is hard to form a reaction before the issue changes again. I have to remind our organizers over and over that we are volunteers and there is only so much we can do between our jobs, family duties and the like. Planning for a campaign in this rapidly changing environment is like target shooting with a constantly moving target.

This is difficult for everyone involved from the city, the fans, the media and the team. The team has not even left and I have heard the media starting the debate over blame. I want to talk about blame. Like many sports fans in San Diego I get ready for work every morning flipping between the three sports radio stations in town. On March 12th the hosts on AM 1360 Jeff Dotseth and Dave Palet were debating who is to blame if the Chargers leave? I don’t think we can blame the fans. When Bud Adams was threatening to move the Houston Oilers to Nashville, the fans held a rally that was attended by single digit number of supporters. That didn’t happen here. March 2nd YOU showed up in huge numbers for the fan forum. We will see how Spirit Day goes this upcoming week, but we can’t blame the fans. Dave Palet seemed to take the position that he would blame the CSAG if the Chargers were to move up to the dump in Carson. (The land is a former landfill it is not subjective statement to call it a dump, it is a fact) The argument is that the Chargers don’t want Mission Valley, so why the hell did the CSAG suggest something the Chargers are against?

There is no doubt the stadium situation is huge mess with lots of blame to go around. We need to put some things on the table and make sure that as a concerned citizen or devoted Chargers fan that you know before you blame anyone.

The CSAG:
1. The CSAG are 100% unpaid volunteers, many turning down high paying opportunities to work on solving this problem.
2. You might think the city paid for the fan forum on March 2nd. However, we received word that the CSAG members paid for this event out of their own pockets. Unlike any taskforce or group working on the issue in 14 years the CSAG sought community opinions. That’s MAJOR (quoting Jahleel Addae here).
3. The CSAG’s job is to come up with the best solution for the city. They can’t just give the answers the Chargers want to hear. If they just give the Chargers a downtown site and it ends up taking too long, or blocked then that is also a failure. They need to try to solve the problem, in a way that works for the city as well as the team. Both sides will need to compromise.
4. The Chargers/ Raiders Carson stadium unholy union forced the CSAG to move quickly. Mission Valley is the logical choice at this time, even though personally I was in favor of downtown throughout the process. The CSAG were given this job to be done by fall. They already have the site determined by March 12th and are promising a financial plan by May. How can you blame a group that worked that fast? You could blame the Inglewood project and the Rams but the result is the same. If the CSAG had more time it is possible that they could have found more solutions to the Downtown problem. They however are working with the timeline forced by LA movement.

The Mayor:
It is reasonable to defend the Chargers by saying that the city and politicians have failed to get anything done in 14 years. The critics of Mayor Kevin Falcouner often forget to mention that our current Mayor has been in office only one of those years. Sure he was on the City Council but I don’t feel it is fair to blame him.
1. Mayor Falcouner has shown great leadership. I could do a whole article on this subject. The Mayor has done many things to Save Our Bolts no mayor before him has done. He has shown an understanding of this community no Mayor in the last 14 years has shown. The Taskforce he put together was very strategically organized. With members that brought very important resources to the table. That is a sign of smart leadership. By inviting groups like the Chargers Legends(former players), Save Our Bolts, Bolt Pride and a fan favorite like Boltman to sit at the table with him in the mayor’s office he showed great vision. He understands that we are part of this struggle and play vital role.
2. The Mayor is more invested in this issue than anyone not named Spanos. No one wants to go down in history as the Mayor who lost the Chargers. No one has put more effort into this. This mayor has done more in the last month than the last four mayors combined. If he fails I have had time believing at the end of the day you could blame the Mayor.
3. This one is subjective. I can only say as a person who has sat at the Mayor’s table, looked him in the eye and talked with him about the issue that he is sincere. On the Friday after the Carson Announcement I was like many of you, I felt hopeless, as if everything we were doing with Save Our Bolts, if all my years of rooting for the Chargers would soon be for nothing. I spent the whole day at work upset. When I got home and checked my messages I had a voicemail from Kevin Faulconer. Not an aid, nothing canned. He said a few things but he started by saying “David, Don’t give up.”
The Chargers:
Dean Spanos has shown incredible patience since the NFL told us no more San Diego Super Bowls until you get a new stadium. Dean and the team have been great for the community as a whole. It is well documented that the Q is a dump. The Chargers Special Council Mark Fabiani always points out that Dean could have left at any time. We always hear that LA is financially speaking more lucrative. It is open to debate weather the possibility of a move to LA was ever viable before Carson. Certainly LA has shown through several polls that they want the Rams and the Raiders and not the Chargers.
That said if the CSAG and the Mayor fail to present a workable plan the reality is the Chargers have every right to go. This is a first time Mayor, who may not be prepared for some of the moves the team has made. The team has 14 years of experience to be skeptical.

1. We bleed blue and gold. We are emotionally tied to this team. At the end of the day for the Spanos family this is business. This is capitalism and you can only blame them so much. It makes no sense for this team to make less money than thirty-one other teams in the league, and if they do they will never compete.
2. Mark Fabiani is not a bad guy, he has a job to do. He has been playing the bad guy role lately, because we reinforced the tactic with our behavior as a city. After years of the Chargers special counsel playing nice and being upbeat on the Stadium issue the team didn’t get anywhere. After a month of Fabiani being brutally honest and at times negative, we have seen more progress than we have in fourteen years.
*
In the end blame doesn’t matter. If the team stays all will be forgiven, it is too early to assert blame to any party. I wanted to bring all this up for simple reason –  We have to remind all parties involved that we want the same thing. Blame doesn’t matter solutions do. If we are going to Save Our Bolts we need to have that focus and forget blame.
David Agranoff
Vice President
Save Our Bolts

Fan Spotlight: Benny Ambriz

Benny is a fan of the San Diego Chargers who lives in New York City. He recently sent this letter addressed to Mr. Spanos and the Chargers; he hoped that it would get to the right people. Thank you for the support all the way from the other side of the country.

Dear Sir:

Thank you for taking the time to read my letter in regards to saving our cherished San Diego Chargers.  I am 24 years old and currently live in Brooklyn, New York, however, was born in San Diego. I lived in National City and Chula Vista for the first 19 years of my life and grew up watching the Chargers.  San Diego will always be my home and my city.  My father is a long time season ticket holder and I would go with him to a couple games each season and those would be my fondest memories with my father.  I had the chance to meet the great LT, Junior Seau, Philip Rivers, Antonio Gates, and more at Qualcomm Stadium and the Boys and Girls Club.  The way the Chargers are involved with the city is truly special and even at a young age I was able to recognize it.  This cannot be taken away from the city.  It hurts that I am not able to be there for the rallies in San Diego since I am on the other side of the country.

A family of Chargers fans: LT with Benny's brother

A family of Chargers fans: LT with Benny’s brother

As a native San Diegan, however, I feel it is my duty to do what I can to keep our Bolts in San Diego.  I want to be a fan of the San Diego Chargers, not the Los Angeles Chargers and by the sound of social media and even people in New York, they do too.  No one wants to see the Chargers move.  Please be loyal to your loyal fans.  We will stick with the Chargers no matter what, but they will always be the San Diego Chargers.  I don’t expect this letter to change anyone’s mind, but I do want it to be known that its not just San Diego that wants the Chargers stay.  From the West Coast to the East Coast, we all want the Chargers to stay.

Thank you again for taking the time to read this letter.

A Die Hard Chargers Fan in NY,

B. Ambriz

 

Expected Guidelines Regarding Team Transfer

While the City of San Diego recently joined forces with the County to express their desire to get a stadium proposal and provide additional public resources to a new stadium effort, there are other key steps that need to be completed as well.

The application for club transfer that will need to be submitted to the NFL could be the beginning of the end of the Chargers in San Diego. The window for application is set between January 1 and February 15. These dates could be moved as these NFL rules are not law. In addition, the NFL will need to hold a public meeting here in San Diego in order for residents to provide their comments on the proposed transfer. Imagine that?

For more information, Beau from the Voice of San Diego provides an in-depth analysis of the steps involved and touches on the financial side of a potential team transfer.

Save Our Bolts Spreads Movement to Arizona

Save Our Bolts’ Johnny “Boltpride” Abundez, Donney Cummins and Trevis Thomas traveled to Arizona to represent for the movement. “We got a lot of support from the Arizona community….we had to let our presence be known,” said Johnny Abundez. Something can be said about the power of social media, but, this movement is proof that we can use our connections to spread the word. Despite the blazing Arizona sun, supporters of Save Our Bolts spent hours in front of the hotel where the NFL owners were meeting. The goal was to show their faces and let the owners know that San Diego WANTS their team to stay. There will be more events where you can get involved, so please stay tuned to our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for updates.

Click here to read more from Steve Fiorina at KGTV about the NFL Meetings That Got Underway in Arizona

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The views, opinions and positions expressed by the authors and those providing comments on these blogs are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions or positions of SaveOurBolts.org.