As the political leadership in San Diego continues to provide their version of fiscal and civic guidance (or lack thereof) to San Diegans, we would like to point out the current lack of foresight regarding what is the growing potential loss of the Chargers to the San Diego region. While we agree that in the big picture, sports is not as important as the well being of the city and its citizens, or, feeding hungry people, it has long been recognized as one of many important contributors to unifying people of diverse ideas and backgrounds. It serves as a common denominator for all socio-economic groups where labor, business, non-profit, or, any other category of people, come to share in the excitement or the disappointment of a season, and, ends in a common bond of civic participation that helps define us as a region. There are good seasons and unfortunate seasons, but, we go on year after year and reminisce about both, and, feel a certain amount of pride that is associated with the continuity of a civic tradition. For the politicians who do not find it important to pay attention now, we remind you of the following: * No one asked you to keep them here at all costs, only that you engage in reasonable discussion to see if there is a financially responsible way to achieve that. To not even engage in the conversation in an attempt to determine a solution is unfathomable. * That little voter who you court with abandon, with future unkept promises of every sort, do in fact care about many things you choose to later disregard, one is keeping the Chargers in the region, or at least a good faith effort to do so. * The sin is not in trying and failing, the sin is to not even try, but, later attempt to make the voter believe you did. * In a world where a 500 person poll can be the basis for major political decisions, it would seem that something as large as the local Neilson ratings would get your attention. * In good season and bad, the Chargers are the most watched television event each and every year in San Diego. Below is a 4 win 12 loss season (2003) vs. an 11 win 5 loss season (2007): http://www.ftballiance.org/chargers-tv-ratings.php * The political leadership of three of the last four cities to lose their NFL teams was wiped out due to voter outrage (Cleveland, Baltimore, Houston and St. Louis – Cleveland’s mayor was spared as he immediately got a commitment from the NFL for an expansion team). * All four cities then spent hundreds of millions of dollars unnecessarily to bring back teams over the following 10+ years when they could have been salvaged if anyone was paying attention in the first place. * Everyone, citizens as well as politicians, believe “it can’t happen to us” - “they’ll never leave”- “someone else will solve the problem”. * Realities are ignored; there are no magic wands, the ten second sound bites which seem to be the genius that defines our region will not be enough to overcome the business realities that will ultimately determine what happens to the Chargers. WHAT CAN BE DONE? - The City of San Diego can support the efforts of Chula Vista to keep the Chargers in the region. * The city should get its collective head out of the sand and see if they can help in any way. * This is a regional issue, not just a Chula Vista issue. * The Mayor of San Diego can stop hiding behind the skirt of “I don’t have the time or money”. Mr. Mayor, you were elected to attempt to solve all issues, not pick and choose the ones of your personal liking. * Politicians are elected to keep many balls in the air, especially where so many citizens are interested (hint – if they weren’t interested, the Neilson ratings would reflect that). * The Chargers are not asking for cash participation from the city of San Diego, they have asked to consider “underutilized land” that might be put to a higher and better use, however, absent any meaningful discussion, it can’t really be determined if this works for the city. - The County of San Diego can support the efforts of Chula Vista to keep the Chargers in the region. * The County can have discussions with Chula Vista to see what kind of help might be needed. After all, this is a regional issue. * Perhaps the County can lead the effort to form a Joint Powers Authority (JPA) which might provide more firepower to the city of Chula Vista in their efforts. - Collectively: * Have some open and ongoing discussion among all the players in the region, something that is not happening right now. Chula Vista appears to be the last viable site in San Diego County, they should be applauded for attempting to establish a viable stadium effort, and, they should be assisted in their endeavor to do so. WHAT CAN YOU DO? No matter what side of the issue you are on, it is important to let the political leadership know what you think. Be sure to log onto www.ftballiance.org to contact your elected officials or send a letter to the Union-Tribune, Voice of San Diego or Chula Vista Star-News.