Thursday, January 5, 2012

Local Republican Crony Capitalism

Mayor Sanders performs a nice little feat of local crony capitalism, as first reported by the San Diego Reader. From the U-T.

San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders allowed Qualcomm Stadium to be temporarily renamed Snapdragon Stadium to promote the wireless chip giant’s smartphone processor during three nationally televised football games despite advice from the City Attorney’s Office that the move wasn’t legally permissible and amounted to free advertising.

The Dec. 7 memo from City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said the terms of the naming rights agreement with Qualcomm don’t allow the company to make any changes, even on a temporary basis, without written consent authorized by the City Council, which never happened. The change also appears to have violated the city’s sign ordinance which generally prohibits off-site advertising, such as billboards and signs, for products that aren’t sold on the premises.

“Qualcomm’s proposal seeks to use the identifying signage to promote its new product without paying any additional consideration to which the city would otherwise be entitled,” the memo said. “Qualcomm does not have that right under the agreement. Per the agreement, the content of the identifying signs is clearly limited to the name of the stadium as ‘Qualcomm Stadium’ and not subject to use for advertising.”

The temporary name change of Jack Murphy Qualcomm Stadium to Snapdragon, despite a memo from City Attorney Jan Goldsmith that the name change was not authorized unless approved by the City Council just disgusts me. The city loses money every year on the stadium, undermining public support for everything else that Mayor Sanders has proposed, including a new City Hall. Why would the mayor engage in such an egregious display of crony capitalism, in effect donating millions of dollars of free advertising revenue to Qualcomm? What is the value of exposure to the approximately 30 million viewers that watched the three games during the temporary name change? The mayor seems totally insensitive to taxpayer sentiment, his false claims of calamity in support of Prop D come to mind. Why elect Republicans if they are just going to gouge taxpayers on behalf of big business, as opposed to Democrats gouging the taxpayers on behalf of the employees unions. This is an example of why we shouldn't put government in charge of anything intended to make money. It's also why I plan to vote for Carl DeMaio, because I believe he is the Republican least likely to engage in such shenanigans in the future.


  1. What a dirt bag. And any GOP candidate had better pray he doesn't endorse them.

  2. Well, I am pretty sure Carl DeMaio won't be getting Jerry Sanders endorsement until Carl is the only Republican in the race, if then.