By Dan Jauregui
I am Boltman.
I’ve supported the Chargers franchise for more than 22 years. During that time, I’ve given 100 percent of my commitment, passion and dedication to the blue, white and gold — whether the Chargers are at home or away.
I’m not upset that the Chargers suck.
I’m troubled because the Chargers belong in San Diego.
Watching the Chargers lose in Los Angeles has tested my resolve. On one hand, I want to cheer for them. On the other, I want them to get crushed to get back at Dean Spanos for what he did to San Diegans. It’s a constant battle between my love for the team and my disdain for ownership.
But who am I kidding to think anything less than my Chargers winning the NFL’s championship title and in San Diego no less? I’m Boltman — my allegiance is to the Chargers brand that is deeply embedded right here in America’s Finest city, San Diego.
For 56 years, the Chargers played a game that brought San Diego families closer and new friends together. Every game had two things to love: the Chargers and San Diego.
Sure, Dean Spanos may “own” the Chargers, but those same Chargers belong to San Diego. Without us, they’re a team without an identity, playing before a half-filled soccer stadium with Mr. Burns as the owner.
The Green Bay Packers, one of America’s most successful and respected franchises, has a publicly owned, not-for profit football team. The community has controlled the franchise since 1923, when the team was failing and going bankrupt. That’s when the city banded together and, as a New Yorker piece put it, this is why the Packers sell out every game:
The Packers’ unique setup has created a relationship between team and community unlike any in the N.F.L. Wisconsin fans get to enjoy the team with the confidence that their owner won’t threaten to move to Los Angeles unless the team gets a new mega-dome. Volunteers work concessions, with sixty per cent of the proceeds going to local charities. Even the beer is cheaper than at a typical N.F.L. stadium.
As for the Bolts and the NFL, it’s fair to say there has never been as much bad will as exists today. The team can’t even sell out a soccer stadium.
The Chargers belong to San Diego. Isn’t it time for America’s Finest City to think more like Green Bay and less like Washington, DC?
As former City Attorney Jan Goldsmith admitted a few months ago, the City of San Diego is in good position to file a lawsuit demanding the team relocate back to San Diego. Article 8.5 section 4.3 of the NFL Constitution clearly states a team must have “diligently engaged in good faith efforts” to “obtain and to maintain suitable stadium facilities in their home territories” in order to qualify for relocation.
Fact is, the Chargers put a “citizens” initiative before the people — an initiative that was not about the citizens of San Diego, nor the Chargers. It was about Dean Spanos failing to understand the power of the special interests that have controlled the city for almost as long as the Chargers called it home.
True, the politicians are also to blame for the failed Chargers negotiations. But are we going to punish the people of San Diego because we have, at best, politicians who are so easily manipulated by the special interests?
I mean, did Spanos or Faulconer really think the hoteliers would give up control of the convention center expansion for a football team? There is no way in good faith either man would answer in the affirmative.
The Chargers had a decade to offer a deal that would benefit the Chargers and the city. Instead, they spent the last decade or so simply rejecting deals that weren’t good for the Chargers while the mayor was negotiating behind closed doors with FS investors for an alternative plan to use soccer as a front for pushing high-density development in Mission Valley.
Only at the last minute did the Chargers rush out a poorly planned initiative with the “support” of a mayor who had done everything he could to make the Chargers part of a Mission Valley-hotelier development project. The mayor continues to support a bayside convention center expansion, and is currently spending his time trying to clean up a Hepatitis A epidemic he allowed, with county officials, to let loose.
The Chargers never really asked the people of San Diego how we could work together. In failing to do so, they didn’t explore the creative and forward-thinking ways they could get around the politicians to hatch a workable deal with the people.
The team could have run a real “citizens” initiative by engaging the community in the negotiating process. Instead, they chose, on purpose or through ignorance, to hold their negotiations with politicians in private rooms.
By this standard, the Chargers either negotiated in bad faith, or they didn’t do their due diligence. Either way, our current city attorney, Mara Elliott, should file a lawsuit and demand that the Chargers engage in the good-faith negotiations the NFL’s constitution requires.
Let’s be more like Green Bay fans and less like San Diego politicians and bring them back home!
Speak your voice. Contact City Attorney Elliott to do what’s right for the city and Chargers fans and file a lawsuit: City Attorney Elliott at (619) 236-6220 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Go San Diego Chargers!