For those of us who have been a part of the conversation for nearly 10 years knew this was coming; it was only a question of when.
On Monday, the San Diego Stadium Coalition, Save Our Bolts and other civic and fan groups came together in support of a national boycott against several San Diego hotels that are owned and/or operated by the Hotelier Cabal.
The hoteliers identified in the boycott are financially influencing local politicians who are collectively opposing the development of a downtown mixed-use facility. This isn’t necessarily an attack aimed at Mayor Kevin Faulconer and the Republican establishment as this “Cabal” has been dictating the future of san Diego for decades. The most recent negotiations with the Chargers only demonstrates how the current administration is unable to stand up to them.
I’m Jason Riggs, the Founder of the San Diego Stadium Coalition and whether you feel strongly about the Chargers and their quest for a new stadium or not, the influence that the hotel industry wields over local officials has created a dysfunctional political ecosystem where voter and taxpayer interests are being mortgaged to the highest bidder.
In 2008 we started working with various civic groups to find a stadium solution in San Diego. During that time one roadblock has remained consistent; the hotel industry’s opposition to a downtown multi-use facility. Until these hoteliers and the politicians that represent them come forward to discuss and negotiate the Chargers’ downtown convention center/stadium solution, we are asking everyone to not patronize their hotels.
Save Our Bolts joined the San Diego Stadium Coalition in taking a hard-line stance against the Hotelier Cabal. Co-Founder David Agranoff said,“Despite a downtown plan that includes a significant investment from the Chargers and zero general fund dollars, we have been surprised at the lack of support from local politicians and outright characterizations in campaign materials.” Agranoff continued, “We fear that a group of powerful San Diego hoteliers are influencing local politicians and creating a united political front against the Chargers. Follow the trail of donations and it is shameful that these hotels are using politicians to pit neighborhoods against millions of Chargers fans. It is time to hold them accountable. And our national fan base is ready to make sure when friends and family come to visit they know where NOT to book a room.”
Evidence of hotelier obstructionism has been present throughout the search for a stadium solution. Days before the Citizen Stadium Advisory Group (CSAG) announced they would focus on Mission Valley for a new stadium, a few of their members met with stadium activists, including the leadership of the San Diego Stadium Coalition and Save Our Bolts. In that meeting, when faced with the question of what were the real obstacles to downtown, a CSAG representative admitted that it was the hoteliers.
Steve Cushman has been a particularly outspoken critic against the Chargers efforts downtown. In an San Diego Union-Tribune article last year, Chargers Special Counsel Mark Fabiani said, “If you were going to line up the people in San Diego who have done the most to block a new stadium over the years, there is no doubt that Steve Cushman would be near the head of that line.”
Steve Cushman was re-appointed to the San Diego Convention Corporation Board of Directors in October of 2015, despite his obvious conflict of interest.
The boycott is being supported by other NFL fan groups, including the Dolphins, Rams (article), Raiders (article) and Buffalo Bills. Each of these fan groups understands what it’s like to battle the financial interests that have a stranglehold over the political establishment. The various Chargers groups have transformed from sports fans to community advocates, as they come to the realization that the political class has been using them rather than working with them.
The hoteliers denied comment on the action taken.
We know it’s going to take some real financial pressure on these hoteliers before they’ll negotiate in good faith to resolve our lingering Convention Center and stadium issues. We feel this is a good start.
The hotels identified in the boycott include:
- Lodge at Torrey Pines
Town and Country Hotel
- Town and Country Hotel
- Pacific Terrace Hotel
- Humphrey’s Half Moon Inn & Suites
- The Dana on Mission Bay
- Sheraton La Jolla
- Hilton Harbor Island
- Best Western Island Palms Hotel and Marina
- Holiday Inn San Diego Bayside
- Days Inn San Diego Hotel Circle (near Sea World)
For info on the political influence of San Diego Hoteliers, visit http://www.hoteliercabal.com
Jason Riggs is the Founder and President of the San Diego Stadium Coalition.