Thursday, October 20, 2016

Hey Tony Hawk, I'm Voting Yes on Prop C, So Should You!

The proposed San Diego Chargers Stadium/Convention Center
I see that skateboarding legend Tony "The Birdman" Hawk this week declared his disdain for the so-called "Convadium" project (left), which would bring a new National Football League stadium and convention center in one neat package to Downtown San Diego's East Village without costing San Diegans a dime.

“I love the Chargers, but if they go, we still have the beach, the zoo, Blink-182, Mexico, sunshine, Nick Cannon, Comic-Con and me, Tony Hawk,” he said this week in a lame video rant.  

I don't want to ruffle Hawk's feathers, but I frankly don't give a flying frig' what the multi-millionaire man-child thinks about a project that will keep the Chargers in San Diego, provide jobs and be a source of great pride for this city for the next half century-plus.

San Diego, the nation's eighth largest city, is my home and I love it. But this place is dangerously close to becoming a provincial national joke. We're looking a helluva lot like Bakersfield South (sorry, Bakersfield). San Diego is again looking to the world like a backwoods burg masquerading as a Metropolis.

And Tony, with his weak observations, isn't helping matters any. We already lost our NBA team. Sad. We don't have an NHL team. Ugh. We have a losing MLB team. Arrrgh. And, soon, we may not have an NFL team. Are you kidding me?

I'm gonna vote Yes on Prop C, the Chargers' stadium and convention center initiative on next month's ballot for San Diego voters.

And Tony, you should, too.

I'm a rabid patron of the arts. I'm educated. Yup, I read books and stuff. I love live theater, too, and live music. And I also love sports. Losing the Bolts would be a huge blow to this city. Because contrary to what some of you might think, sports teams are a vitally important part of a big city's identity and pride. 

Take your pick: Pittsburgh, New York, Denver, Seattle, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Detroit. Anyone who's resided in or visited any of these great American cities has witnessed how professional sports teams are simply a part of their DNA. They bring people in these cities of all socio-economic stripes together in ways that few other things can. It's just a fact.

It happens here in San Diego, too. When the Chargers are in the playoffs, this place is electric, and largely united.

In the Plaza section at the decaying Qualcomm Stadium where I had Chargers season tickets for more than 20 years, no one asked each other what our personal politics were. There were people of all income levels, races and religions in that section, and we cared about each other because we all loved the Chargers.

And that still goes on at the Q. Yes, you''ll see Trump fans and Hillary fans, in the same section giving each other high fives! If that is shallow, so be it. It's real.

I'm not a fan of the ownership, the Spanos family. Noop, not at all. But this project is so much bigger than one rich family. It's for all of us. I can support a company without liking the CEO. This team has been here for 55-plus years, long before Spanos arrived on the scene.

The Chargers are our team. They are as indelibly and warmly identified with our city as the world-famous San Diego Zoo or the Navy. The Chargers for six decades have been bringing San Diego families together. This new stadium and convention center will be enjoyed by our kids, grandkids and great grandkids. That's not hype. It's true.

And the whole shiny thing will be paid for by an increase in the city's hotel room tax, and by the Chargers and the NFL. It won't cost we locals a cent, and will not hurt tourism, it'll help it. When's the last time you checked the "hotel room tax" when you booked a vacation?

Obviously, I'm a diehard Chargers fan. I have been since I moved here in the 1980s to attend San Diego State. But this is not just about my love for football. It's about my love for this city and about what I've seen happen here when one of our teams is winning.

Pro sports teams transcend sport. Anyone who dismisses that, anyone who does not recognize the emotional and sociological significance of a pro sports team to the morale and well-being of the residents of any great American city, is just clueless. 

Saturday, October 8, 2016

ELECTION 2016: Sure Takes A Lot To Offend Mike Pence

You've undoubtedly heard by now that in 2005, while cruising on an “Access Hollywood” TV show bus with the former host of the show, Donald Trump congratulated himself for sexually assaulting a woman. “When you’re a star, you can do anything,” Trump said. “Grab them by the pussy.” 

Trump then talked about his effort to sleep with a married woman,  several months after he had married his third wife. “I moved on her, and I failed," he said. "I’ll admit it. I did try and fuck her. She was married."

The comments, which should come as no surprise to anyone who's been paying attention to Trump since he launched his presidential campaign more than a year ago, have generated a firestorm of outrage, even among many Republicans who had previously supported Trump.

Most significantly, Mike Pence, the Indiana Governor and Trump's vice presidential running mate and would be Defender-In-Chief, surprisingly joined the chorus. 

"As a husband and father, I was offended by the words and actions described by Donald Trump in the eleven-year-old video released yesterday," said Pence. "I do not condone his remarks and cannot defend them. I am grateful that he has expressed remorse and apologized to the American people. We pray for his family and look forward to the opportunity he has to show what is in his heart when he goes before the nation tomorrow night."

Pence later forgot he was a father and husband when he said that if Trump is elected next month, "we'll have a president who respects all of the American people." He added that this election is "about maintaining the highest level of integrity in the highest office of the land," and called Trump a "winner" and a man "who never backs down." 

So, Pence thinks a man who boasts about sexual assault is a man of integrity and a winner. What is most revealing and troubling about Pence's remarks, though, is the fact that he was evidently not offended by anything else Trump has said during this presidential campaign, the ugliest in my lifetime.  

Here's just a small collection of things Trump evidently can say and do without his smooth, even-keeled apologist from Indiana being offended:

* He can call immigrants rapists and insist that Mexico is sending them here. 

* He can say that veterans who have Post-Traumatic Stress (PTSD) aren't "strong."

* He can talk about how bad it is that we are shipping so many of our manufacturing jobs overseas but quietly get almost all of his company's products manufactured overseas.

* He can insult women over and over and over and over with sexist, mean-spirited remarks and call them pigs. 

* He can comment on former presidential candidate Carly Fiorina's looks and say during a primary debate, 'Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?!'"

* He can refer to Fox News host Megyn Kelly's menstrual cycle.

* He can subject a Latina Miss Universe winner to degrading comments about her weight and her heritage and force her to do a workout video in front of the media with a lecherous-faced Trump looking on.

* He can encourage followers to beat the hell out of innocent protestors at our rallies and say he would pay for the thugs' legal costs. 

* He can have no clue how the world works and call for the US to not support our NATO allies. 

* He can embrace a ruthless dictator like Vladimir Putin, say Putin is a better leader than Barack Obama, and encourage Putin to hack into one of our two great American political parties. 

* He can say he doesn't care if Saudi Arabia or countless other countries get nuclear weapons. 

* He can lie about almost every aspect of his life and business career and expect the American public to believe it. 

* He can boast about never paying taxes and how that makes him smart and call for huge tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans while out of the other end of his mouth say how much he wants to support the country's middle class. 

* He can get multiple deferments so he doesn't have to serve our country by paying a doctor to lie about a bogus foot injury.

* He can insult an American war hero like John McCain, who spent years in a prisoner of war camp, by stating he is not a hero at all because he got caught. 

* He can crow about his corporate acumen when in fact he is a repeatedly failed businessman whose companies have declared bankruptcy six times and whose rich father bailed him out multiple times.