Everyone loves a relationship analogy. And everyone especially loves a relationship analogy when it comes to the Mission Valley location on which Qualcomm Stadium currently sits. How about this?
That 166 acres of highly coveted land that some are calling the most desirable piece of development property in the country is an incredibly attractive middle-aged woman. From a distance, she has everything going for her. She’s kept herself in great shape. She has a beautiful head of California sun-soaked blonde hair. Her face doesn’t look an day over 30, yet it’s clear she’s had some cosmetic repairs. It’s obvious she loves working out and maintains a routine physical regiment. Yet, as those close to her will testify, this beautiful woman is damaged goods. She’s got a ton of baggage. For one, she has “Daddy Issues” that will always leave her with an emotional void. Yes. I’m talking about the Chargers. Secondly, she comes with a couple of kids that are approaching college age. That would be San Diego State and the Riverfront Park. And underneath that beautiful facade, she has some underlying health issues. The Soil that may or may not be contaminated from the gas tanks leakage.
We, San Diego, are the ex-husband to this beautiful woman strutting her tail all over town. We’re currently paying a stupid amount of alimony and child support for this woman. There’s the $12M a year and $100M in deferred maintenance cost the city owes on Qualcomm Stadium itself and there’s still nearly $30M of bonds that need to be paid off.
The FS Investors are the guy who is going to come in and change this woman. They see her for who she is. They’re no dummies. They are going to protect themselves by having her sign a prenuptial agreement that says if she gives them too much trouble with her tear down and rebuild, then she is only going to get $10,000 for her troubles. Sorry. Don’t be a pain in the butt. Along with being willing to give her a chance, the FS Investors are willing to take on her kids and give them a chance at a bright future. One of the kids is going to go along with the program, no matter who the suitor may be. The Water District is just a good kid and does what mom says. Mommas going to get her baby a Park! The other kid has tons of potential, but is a bit of a pain. Yes. That’s you SDSU. SDSU wants mom to marry the richest guy possible, take all of his money and build her a mansion on a cliff somewhere overlooking the ocean so he or she doesn’t have work a day in their life. The new guy has tried to include this troubled kid in the process, but the kid is continuing to be standoffish. He wants to build him a nice, modestly-sized home on their comfortable property for their use and is essentially buying him a business to run at the same time, giving up game day profits. But, nothing is good enough for this kid. This new suitor sees the potential in mom. He sees how good of a heart she has. He sees that with some tenderness, vision, and leadership, she could be something special. Will it be the absolute most perfect woman that’s ever graced this world; no. But, she will be his special woman.
We, San Diegans, as the ex-husband, need to realize what is about to happen here. We need to understand that we couldn’t turn her into the woman that we wanted and we grew apart. We love her and the memories we made together. It was an amicable breakup. It was a mutual understanding. And, as much as the kids were part of what split us up in the first place, we love them. We want the best for them. And this new guy can give her and them a new life that we were unable to provide. For God’s sake, if you’ve ever met anyone who’s been divorced, and I know you have, one of them most likely has been stuck with the payment to the former wife and kids, and it drives them broke and towards madness at the same time. This guy wants to come in and relieve us of that financial burden? We should be telling him, “By all means! Have at it, and good luck!” I don’t care if you pay $10K or $100M. If you want to remove me of debt to an ex-spouse, remove my children’s college expenses, build them all houses to live in, provide them with job opportunities, and potentially take the three people that I love so much and make their lives better than it currently appears to be headed, and pay me a tax on a yearly basis (property tax) to boot? This is when Will Ferrell comes staggering in with a dart in his neck and says, “You’re crazy man! I like you. But you’re crazy!”
It’s taken me a little bit to come to this realization. I’ve run through all of the thoughts associated with the FS Investors from “bring them” to “get the hell out of here”. But here’s the deal. We could chase our tail around here in San Diego for the next 20 years determining who and what is the best suitor for our beautiful piece of property and never getting anything done, because we don’t agree on anything. Or, we could realize that our “little gem” comes with a lot of baggage and we may in fact be lucky to get rid of that burden while we can.
Let’s wipe our hands clean of this hot mess and cut ourselves free of our past. We need to move forward, progress, and grow.
Who knows? Maybe the FS Investors are a better man than we were for her. If he is, good for him. And good for us.