Chargers, Comic-Con exit won’t sink Faulconer – The San Diego Union-Tribune
Judging from all the attention theyâ€™ve received this summer, youâ€™d think the Chargers â€” who werenâ€™t even playing â€” and Comic-Con are two of the most important things in San Diego.
What if Kevin Faulconer became the mayor to â€œloseâ€ both?
Itâ€™s certainly possible. That wouldnâ€™t be great for the resume or legacy, but would he pay a political price? Maybe not. Thatâ€™s due to his political positioning, timing and a variety of villains he could blame. And some would venture that maybe the Chargers and Comic-Con arenâ€™t as important to the public as they are to their hard-core fans and civic leaders.
Letâ€™s start with the stadium. Itâ€™s been quiet, but this will get white hot again in the fall with NFL meetings and a potential decision in January as to which team(s) win the Los Angeles lottery. Polls consistently show San Diegans think the Chargers will head north, so while people will be mournful, they wonâ€™t be surprised.
And they probably wonâ€™t blame the mayor too much, as heâ€™s done an adequate job inoculating himself politically, whether you agree with his approach or not. Sure, some will say he wasted a couple-few million on an environmental impact report and other efforts. But most think he has to try, and the critics who suggest he is mostly doing this solely for political cover are few.
Besides, if the Chargers leave, he wonâ€™t be spending the $200 million that heâ€™s offered in city taxpayer funds (along with $150 million from the county).
A single-issue stadium candidate isnâ€™t worth discussing. Letâ€™s face it, Chargers President Dean Spanos and his aide-de-camp Mark Fabiani will be the focus of public anger. Polls already suggest that. Should attorney Cory Briggs attempt to block a stadium deal he could also be painted as culpable by some (and heroic by others).
So that gets the mayor to the June primary, where now it looks like he will win re-election outright without a November runoff. He has no real opponent or seemingly the prospects of one.
Thatâ€™s remarkable for a Republican mayor in a city where Democrats have an overwhelming voter-registration advantage and a muscular labor political operation.
Thatâ€™s not to say things canâ€™t change, but it seems something pretty bad would need to happen for Faulconer to become vulnerable.
As for Comic-Con, that wildly popular campy confab has committed to being here through 2018, even though the organizers say the convention center is too small. Faulconer recently supported a recommendation to pursue a hotel-tax increase that requires two-thirds voter approval for a waterfront expansion. Weâ€™d be talking November 2016 at the earliest.
Nobody thinks that will pass, and many believe the expansion will never happen on the waterfront. But 2018 is halfway through Faulconerâ€™s second and final term, so when the expansion doesnâ€™t happen and Comic-Con takes off, he can shrug and move on.
Where to, of course, will be a matter of great speculation by then. But whatever new political ground he seeks to take, maybe there will be less focus on the big rages of the day and more on, say, how he addressed our sorry roads and infrastructure and underserved neighborhoods and whether heâ€™s leaving San Diego a well-run city.
Tweet of the Week
Goes to the Voice of San Diegoâ€™s Liam Dillon (@dillonliam) in response to Toni Atkinsâ€™ communications consultant (and former CityBeat editor) David Rollandâ€™s insistence that the Assembly speakership change was pretty much on Atkinsâ€™ timeline: