Letter to the Editor on Snapdragon Scam
Union Tribune (2012-01-15)
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By U-T San Diego
Sunday, January 15, 2012
I read with great dismay and disappointment that San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders tried to justify his actions that went counter to a legal opinion from the city attorney and then bypassed the City Council to grant permission for Qualcomm to make a temporary name change to our football stadium (“Mayor defends ‘Q’ name change,” Local, Jan. 7). He claims the decision was a “no-brainer” and made “for the greater good of our community.”
The sad truth is that one might also conclude that the decision was payback for past political contributions, lack of courage to stand up to a powerful corporation or just smoothing a pathway from elected official to future corporate employment.
For me, the greater good of our community will be achieved when our political leaders demonstrate transparency and follow the rule of law and established processes for making a decision in matters such as this. Yes, we have a strong-mayor form of city government, but that doesn’t grant the mayor the authority to disregard the other city officials when it suits his own interests. – John Stevenson, San Diego
Kudos to Sanders for doing the right thing permitting Qualcomm to change the name of the stadium. Do we really have to read the debate and red tape necessary to do the right thing?
The fact that this is even a discussion is absurd. Those who have an issue with this should be reminded about the millions of dollars Qualcomm has poured into our city in charitable contributions, taxes and the library, just to name a few. I’m not against policy, but at times people just need to realize that the benefit way outweighs the reasoning behind doing something different.
If it weren’t for Qualcomm, think of the things this city wouldn’t have. We need more companies like Qualcomm and people like Sanders who know at times the right thing is just that. – Tim Young, Point Loma
Is it any wonder why ordinary citizens feel that politicians are not looking out for them, but rather for the rich and influential?
The deal that Sanders signed off on with Qualcomm regarding the temporary renaming of the stadium in apparent contravention of city law, at least as interpreted by the city attorney’s office, shows that if you are capable of throwing enough money around, politicians like the mayor will bend over backward to do favors for you. Irwin Jacobs, unquestionably a valuable philanthropist to this community, also has supported the mayor with contributions to the mayor’s favorite projects like the central library and the proposed Balboa Park makeover. The mayor, in return, will hide behind the excuse of “more jobs” to ignore his legal responsibilities of office to grant a favor to a benefactor. Not too many of the rest of us would get such treatment from him.
You would think that a former police chief would have a little more respect for the proper processes of government and to to his duty in a transparent way with favoritism to none. – Rob Cohen, Kensington
“In a snap,” Sanders demonstrated why the public doesn’t trust politicians. His failure to follow the law on signing at a publicly owned facility shows that his efforts are for sale to the highest bidder. – Greg Finley, San Diego
So Mayor Jerry Sanders allows Qualcomm to circumvent its contract and receive free advertising without incurring any costs. Can someone explain to this simple citizen the difference between his actions and those of the Sweetwater school board members? When can we expect to see Bonnie Dumanis at the podium announcing an investigation into this obvious “pay to play” quid pro quo? – Michael E. Nelson, Bonita
I was so happy to learn that the city of San Diego has settled all of its lawsuits, pension problems, budget deficits, etc., so now it can deal with the really big issues such as having Qualcomm Stadium called Snapdragon Stadium for three days. What an awful thing for one of San Diego’s largest and most prestigious companies to do.
The City Attorney’s Office said the agreement did not permit advertising. When the city sold the naming rights to Qualcomm for $18 million, wasn’t this for advertising? What a bunch of hypocrites.
In an effort to make this seem like some nefarious plot between Irwin Jacobs and Sanders, it was mentioned that Jacobs had donated $30 million for the new San Diego library. The nerve of this man. He and his wife donated over $5 million to build a three-story annex to the La Jolla library several years ago, but we poor rubes in La Jolla didn’t see any plot involved.
The city should be happy to help one of our most successful companies grow instead of throwing nitpicking bureaucratic regulations in their path. Who got hurt by the three-day name change – the workmen who were hired to construct, paint, erected and then removed the signs, or the city, which gave a boost to a local business? Answer: Neither of the above.
Maybe things will go smoother in the future if Irwin Jacobs donates to the campaign funds of other officials instead of just the mayor’s. – Nancy Shields, La Jolla