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Major League Baseball fans line up for tickets at Petco Park. REUTERS/Mike Blake

I often wonder what would have happened if the Chargers viewed San Diego as a major market instead of a replaceable small town. Why is San Diego not viewed as a desirable location for major sports teams? When will Fernando Tatis Jr. request a trade to leave the Padres

Will our fledgling Padres leave San Diego for Las Vegas? 

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It happens to small market teams all of the time. Aaron Rodgers wants to leave Green Bay, Kevin Durant left Oklahoma City, and even Eil Manning demanded a trade after being drafted by the Chargers. 

San Diego is the 8th largest city in the country and yet a lot of us act like it’s a suburb. This is a big concern for the long-term health of our city. When will San Diegans realize that the second largest city in the fifth largest economy in the world needs to grow up? Bad things happen to stagnant small-market cities and San Diego is at risk. 

It happens when the culture against modernity strikes. No new football stadium to keep the Chargers, no new homes to keep people from moving away, no new transit options where people actually live. When did the culture of naysayers take over San Diego? 

Why are the loudest voices always against keeping San Diego on the cutting edge? There are so many misguided and antiquated views about what San Diego is today and where San Diego will end up as it grows. But, that isn’t stopping local stakeholders from trying to keep San Diego relevant. 

Look around at all of the evidence that shows San Diego becoming a world class-city. Who is taking jobs from San Francisco, Austin, and Chicago? San Diego is. Who is getting another border crossing because the congestion calls for growth? We are. So why on earth would we want to stop the growth of jobs and resources in San Diego? 

That’s exactly what will happen if the expertly planned developments like NAVWAR Alternative 4 Proposal and the Midway redevelopment proposals are stopped. When change is inevitable, why would we not embrace change to help each other? It’s understandable that people are scared of change, but why cower in fear when we can grab change by the horns? 

There are a number of once-in-a-generation opportunities upon us that cannot be rejected. Imagine if Petco Park never got built? Imagine if Balboa Park “created too much traffic” and was turned into landfill? NAVWAR Alternative 4 and the Midway opportunities have the chance to be transformational on the scale of Balboa Park. 

We can strike a huge blow to the housing crisis, lower rent for middle-income families, reduce our carbon intensity as a city, create thousands of jobs, and avoid the issues that plague San Francisco and Los Angeles. All of this can be done with real proposals on the table today. These aren’t pie in the sky ideas — they’re real and they’re as intelligently designed as any plans you’ll find. 

There are full time jobs that are dedicated to making sure traffic gets better, making sure transit works efficiently, and making sure we’re growing in a responsible manner. 

But the naysayers and skeptics are not held to the same academic or professional standards. Their arguments are lazy and they fight for stagnation. Being afraid of change is a recipe for a dying city. Even those who have legitimate concerns about home value need to consider what happens when San Diego stagnates so much that property value tanks. 

Do we want to be known as the city formerly known as America’s Finest City? Because that’s where we’re headed. It’s a tale as old as time. It has happened in Detroit, St Louis and Cleveland. Businesses leave, sports teams leave, people leave — cities die. 

When Fernando Tatis Jr. asks to be traded to the Dodgers and the Padres pack up for Las Vegas, we’ll know who to blame. 

One of the greatest city builders, architect and urban planner Daniel Burnham, said over a century ago:

Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistency. Remember that our sons and our grandsons are going to do things that would stagger us. Let your watchword be order and your beacon beauty.”

No more little plans, San Diego. It’s time to grow up.

Andrew Terenzio works in the clean energy sector and lives in Pacific Beach.