Don't get us wrong—we do enjoy the increasingly acrimonious talk flying back and forth between the San Diego City Council and the Chargers. There's nothing quite like a major-league conflict between a city and its sports team for fun political hijinks. But we think both sides should give it a rest. The whole damn mess will probably end up in court, and words spoken now will likely be rendered meaningless.
This past Sunday, Dec. 1, was the first day the Chargers were legally allowed to pull their precious “trigger,” the mechanism built into their contract with the city that could pave the way for their departure from America's Goofiest City. For the trigger to be pull-able, there must exist a certain economic formula involving player payroll and average NFL revenue.
The Chargers have two months now to pull the trigger, if indeed the formula allows it, or wait till next winter for the window of opportunity to come back around. If the Chargers pull the trigger, which tells the city the team wants to renegotiate their contract, the city has 90 days to satisfy the Chargers with a new deal (the Chargers consider a new deal a new stadium).
Of course, there's no way the city can work such magic in 90 days. So then the Chargers would enjoy a year and a half's worth of searching the countryside for a new suitor elsewhere. If they find romance in another city-like Los Angeles-San Diego has another immense 90-day period to match the “financial and overall economic terms of the other city.”
Someone help us out-we weren't here back in 1995. Were the city's negotiators drinking rubbing alcohol when they agreed to those three-month windows of time?
If San Diego can't match the offer, the Chargers get to escape their Qualcomm imprisonment and skip happily-“tra-lala-lala”-north to L.A.
Problem for the city is that the calendar set forth in the contract doesn't exactly jibe with the schedule for the mayor's Chargers task force, which has been working-very diligently and responsibly, we might add-on figuring out how to advise the City Council in this brouhaha. The task force won't be done with its work until early spring. Wasn't there a 2003 calendar available anywhere in City Hall? Couldn't the mayor see that his task force timing was all wrong?
So both sides are talking tough now. Some members of City Council, fuming over things like ticket guarantees and phantom seats, sound like they wouldn't mind at all seeing the back of the Chargers' U-Haul heading north on I-5. Meanwhile, the Chargers are saying they're not interested in taking a meeting at City Hall unless the city is willing to give up the store. You can't blame them for trying-the city has a habit of doing just that.
We're intrigued by talk coming from the task force that suggests it might not be all that simple for the Chargers to leave town. The city should stop asking the Chargers to delay the trigger. The Chargers should stop asking the city to sit down and talk about contract amendments.
Let the Chargers pull their trigger. Let all the 90-day time periods elapse. Let the Chargers make passionate love to L.A. And let's just see what happens.
We at CityBeat were saddened by the news that poet Quincy Troupe has decided to resign from his UCSD teaching job because of the controversy over his inaccurate résumé. We respect his right to make his own decisions, but we wish had decided differently.
Yes, lying is bad. Shame on you-blah, blah, blah. But what do we have now? We have a university missing one talented instructor. We have future students who will miss out on having one of the nation's most vibrant poets and charismatic visionaries in front of them in the classroom. And what is the tradeoff? An image of a fallen man to hold up as a warning against lying? Bad trade, we think.
Maybe Troupe anticipated being fired by university officials. We wanted Troupe to force them to make that difficult decision.