Dear NFL: Save Our Bolts

On Saturday, while San Diego’s football team is in Cleveland preparing to take the field, fans of the team will gather for a desperation protest to save their team from possible relocation.

“This year on Christmas Eve our Bolts are in Cleveland, a city all too aware of what it is like to lose their team. Casual fans might not realize this but the Cleveland Browns team we face is not the franchise that played in the city most of its history. Cleveland got a new team but, they felt the pain and heartbreak of losing a team in 1996. This left a void for years until the NFL expanded and gave Cleveland a new team. San Diego city leaders and its general public need to understand that unlike Cleveland, we will not get another chance.” said David Agranoff of Save Our Bolts

The organizers of Save Our Bolts, the fan activist and volunteer organization, have written a letter ad-dressed to each of the 31 NFL owners asking them to give the Chargers and the city more time to solve our stadium problem. The group is gathering on the morning of the Chargers game to send off these letters to not only communicate with NFL owners but to put City leaders on notice that action is needed to protect the fifty-six year legacy of Chargers football that is woven into the fabric of our region.

“There are lots of ways you can help, writing letters to your local reps whether it is city council, county supervisor or the Mayor please do. Let them know that you’ll remember what they did or didn’t do next time you vote. You can call or write the NFL the information on saveourbolts.org it only takes a few minutes.” said Shawn Walchef, owner of Cali Comfort BBQ and Save Our Bolts organizer.

Save Our Bolts will gather at the Hillcrest post office (3911 Cleveland Ave, San Diego, CA 92103) Saturday, December 24 at 8am to mail the letters and speak to the media.  For more information, please reach out to David Agranoff or Thomas Powell on Twitter.

As Fans We Ask You for More Time

As the NFL owners met in Dallas yesterday, we as the voice of Chargers fans are calling on the team, the mayor, City Council, and the NFL to come back to the table with serious efforts. We had the City’s plan last year and the team’s plan this year, but, now we’re left with no real, solid plan that can prevent relocation.

We know it is easy to think of the franchises in California as chess pieces, in this high stakes games sometimes the NFL owners miss the core fuel that lights the fire of the league – fan passion. With almost six decades of loyalty, San Diego should not lose its team and deserves true leadership from the team and our elected officials.

We feel the fans concerns are being ignored. We know The NFL is a private corporation but we drive the NFL. We make the NFL work. We are merchandise sales. We are the ticket sales. We are the ratings that generate the massive TV deals.

We are pleading with the owners to extend the Chargers LA offer at least one more year to give our city a chance to close the deal. You may be familiar with our friends in Crown Downtown, it took them 3 tries to get an arena built. We ask that the NFL give us the same time frame to do the same. We understand the perception after the failed C vote and how that may seem like the last ditch effort. We thank the Spanos family for their efforts on Measure C, but, it was doomed to fail. San Diego County outside of the City limits is home to the largest population of local fans and they were not included in the vote. The high threshold for a tax increase was not a realistic possibility and should not seal the fate of professional football in this community who has been loyal to the Chargers for decades – even before the Spanos family even bought the team.

We have a unique natural environment that makes it ideal for championship games. We believe the value of the market is worth the long fight.

The Chargers in LA might solve the problem of where the team plays but will doom the franchise to try and build a fan base in a city already struggling to support one team. It will crush the existing fan base many of whom with not follow the team. We understand outside of California it seems like a short drive – what is the big deal? Imagine asking Yankees fans to follow the team to Boston or Philadelphia.

Granting relocation at this time and refusing an extension will only serve to hurt the fans that make the NFL Sundays so special. Many local businesses that thrive on their relationship with the team will also fail. We represent and support them too.

As Save Our Bolts, we call on City Leaders to act now and the NFL to give us the time finish what we have started.

Thank you kindly,
Save Our Bolts

Chargers To Honor Fan Activists on Sunday

Looking back to early 2015, the first Save Our Bolts meeting had less than 10 fans show up to a Mission Valley Starbucks and discuss how to save the team they were devoted to. Before the battle for Los Angeles, Carson2gether madness, CSAG forums or measure C, it was just a couple of fans trying to do what they could to build bridges.


Over the last two seasons, Save Our Bolts has become the voice for Chargers fans in the fight to keep the team in San Diego. It has molded into a strong civic-minded all-volunteer group that wants the team in San Diego for the future. The relationship between the fan groups and the team was at times contentious but now, the team is thanking the volunteers by honoring them on the field.

“This is a huge honor. The Chargers have not picked these twenty-five fan activists for this honor lightly. The people honored worked hard going to public meetings, going door-to-door, writing press releases, including some drafts that never made the cut, endless social media posts, gathering signatures and working campaign booths. They all did hard work behind the scenes for no money or glory,” said David Agranoff, co-founder of Save Our Bolts

Before the December 4th San Diego Chargers home game twenty-five members of Save Our Bolts, San Diego Stadium Coalition, and the Chargers Backers will be honored on the field before the game.

“For a football fan there is no bigger honor, we hope fans will get in the stadium early and cheer loud and proud for the activists who fought for them. The key is that it can be you next time. Anyone can get involved,” said Shawn Walchef of Save Our Bolts and owner of Cali Comfort BBQ.

For more information or media inquiries, please contact Thomas Powell (@tpowell619) or email info@saveourbolts.org

Save Our Bolts Reaction to Election Results: Election Day Another Tough Loss for Chargers Fans

The agony of defeat being a part of sports is a reality all to normal for Chargers fan across the region. November 8th represents a defeat for the entire fan base.

“In a season of heartbreaks this is the worst loss of all but we expect our team to have short memory and fight. That is exactly what we will do. Save Our Bolts is a group of fans who love this team on the best and worst days. The numbers are disheartening but it shows that resources don’t mean anything when the opponents determined to fight this measure were willing to spread misinformation.” said David Agranoff co-founder of Save Our Bolts. “The opposition to the measure constantly used numbers and talking points that didn’t match reality ignoring, for example, the significant portion of the price tag paid by the NFL and the Spanos family. It is hard to overcome such falsehoods.”

Save Our Bolts will continue to work on its mission to keep the Chargers where they belong in San Diego. The fight is not over.

“It has been a tough season, sure winning on the field would have helped, but we are not giving up on the Chargers and we are asking the Spanos family to not give up on us. A great majority of the Chargers fans live in the county and they didn’t have a vote. The vote in no way reflects the true passion for the team in the region.” said Shawn Walchef, owner of Cali Comfort BBQ and Save Our Bolts organizer.

 

Showcase San Diego To The World

Now that the dust has settled on MLB showcasing San Diego to the world, let’s sit back and see how a major sporting event impacted us individually and our city.

The Chargers know that building a multi-use facility in downtown is the best path for all parties. Downtown is the one area in San Diego that will allow event organizers to occupy nearby outdoor areas and promote massive sports and entertainment events – just like the one that we observed here a couple weeks ago.

We got a preview to their vision the second week of July when MLB brought the Mid-Summer Classic to America’s Finest City.  Downtown was packed, restaurants were booming and there was a buzz around town.

Opponents of the stadium are quick to bring up the argument that parking and the crowds in Downtown  would be too overwhelming. Well, during the 6-day festivities during the All-Star Game Week there were no complaints from the people who went down there. Public transportation was not an issue for some. Also, Uber and Lyft drivers were receiving messages about a high-demand of ride requests. San Diegans and tourists in town for the festivities found a way.

Surely, things on the surface seem to be a hurdle but when everyone comes together looking for solutions ideas and compromises are born. That is when progress is made.

Our city was showcased to the world with all our beaches, scenery, and all things that make this America’s Finest City – we were all a witness. There were no chants of “We can’t do this, This won’t work, That won’t do.” We all came together and were excited to show our city to the masses. Some marveled at what San Diego had to offer. And at what could be if we could dare to think bigger!

Like the cities that dreamed big before us , now with a new facility on the horizon, our city could profit millions with the city, hotels, restaurants, bars, and other establishments all sharing in the wealth. That’s what comes with hosting a mega sporting event over six days in beautiful Downtown San Diego.

Cities that have hosted the All-Star Game previously have generated millions to their city as well as to some of the  charities in those cities.

Last year, for instance, Cincinnati generated $65 million dollars, according to the Baseball Almanac.  Between 2002 and 2011, per MLB League Data, cities averaged $70.5 million dollars generated to the host cities. Everyone enjoyed a piece of the pie.

45,000 hotel rooms were rented out to visitors for the week. (Wonder how many paid attention to what their hotel tax was?)

One of the stadium loudest critics is Joe Terzi, President and CEO of San Diego Tourism Authority, who spoke about the exciting opportunities that comes with hosting a Downtown mega sporting event offered, “We are no longer a stranger to large events and we think this year’s All-Star Game  will be one of the best  ever”. Yes, Joe, It is wonderful to think what could be if we all came together to achieve a common goal isn’t it?

60,000 visitors, 2000 media members, 51 radio and TV outlets were in our city to broadcast San Diego in  13 different languages across 16 countries and territories. How much do we need to promote San Diego – A city that simply markets itself.

Petco has previously hosted the World Baseball Classic, soccer games, rugby tournaments, motorcross and even concerts such as the Rolling Stones, Billy Joel and Taylor Swift. But now was the time to showcase our jewel in Downtown to the Big Leagues of Sporting Events. So how did Petco Park  grade? Petco was emanating brightness like a sun shining off the Pacific Ocean. The visitors to Petco Park thought it was majestic. USA Today raved, calling it   the “Best Ballpark in  the Country.” Others touted the mixture of food and the aroma in the air from the food stands  in Petco as a one of a kind. The Grades were in from the debate of 1998 November Election. Petco got an A+ on the world’s stage. If there was to be one location to permanently host the Mid-Summer Classic then Petco Park and San Diego would be a fine home for the Mid-Summer Classic game and the week of festivities.

Businesses like Bubs at the Ballpark, a popular local bar in downtown, hired extra workers that week to handle the massive customers that were descending onto our city. That coupled with Comic Con, Pride Week, 4th of July, Del Mar Fair and Racetrack set a record in San Diego making July the biggest month in SD for tourism ever.

The expectations from the city before All-Star Week was that San Diego as a city would generate about  $80 million dollars back to the city. $1.2 million would be made in hotel room taxes from visitors visiting our city. $1 million in sales tax revenue alone and many charities would be benefiting from Major League Baseball donations as San Diego would be the  host city.  Petco Park was getting rave reviews from across the country. While final numbers have yet to be published, consumer spending and Tax revenue was generated in the city they loved for so long.

The Chargers stadium opponents say a stadium 10 days a year is not worth it. THEY ARE RIGHT! No one disagrees with that, But what could a multi-use entertainment facility that would bring the  NFL Super Bowls, Final Four, Political Conventions, WrestleMania’s and World Cups to our city do? Instead of just expanding a convention center using a TOT tax ( A tax that would only tax visitors that stay at a hotel) to 15.5% for a convention Center only expansion. How about  raising the TOT one additional percent to 16.5% on out of town visitors to expand the Conv Center and a Multi-Use Stadium with  money coming out of the General Fund for the stadium, That would be a no brainer right? An extra $8.00 a night on their hotel bill. Just like almost every other major city has done to accomplish these things.The opponents say conventions might go elsewhere? Do you honestly think even 1 person who visited our beloved city the week of the All-Star Game would rather go to 110 degree Las Vegas over $8.00 a night on a hotel bill? Yes, It is laughable

We have heard the arguments from the anti-downtown crowd for about five months now. In a couple of weeks, The Chargers will begin their campaign for the vote on Nov 8th. They are not going to take to Twitter or a political circuit station to make their argument using the lies and deceit as our opponents have. We don’t need to. We are confident that when you seriously look at the numbers and the facts as they show you. The answer is easy. The Chargers  are going to come to you. Every one of you has a chance to personally  discuss your concerns and questions either with the team or even the fan groups.

What we hope is when this campaign begins you look at the facts yourself. That you take this initiative seriously and maybe just maybe even think big at the possibilities as they did in 1998. Let us come together and discuss this issue instead of throwing dissent and lies on a wall that divides us.

I just hope in the next couple of months. Junior Seau and Tony Gwynn can look down at us and smile with that laugh we all love and miss the way they could have during All-Star Week. Take care my friends and see you soon at Chargers Park!