I know Nick Canepa and he is no Dan Quail.
I knew Nick as a copy kid on the old Evening Tribune in San Diego where he now perches as one of the nation's best sports columnists at the new, revitalized San Diego Union-Tribune.
I thought Canepa, a San Diego native, lost his Italian navigation system when his column siren beckoned Tuesday for a new domed stadium for the San Diego Chargers and perhaps the San Diego State Aztecs.
A domed stadium in San Diego? That's equivalent to carrying an umbrella when the forecast calls for clear skies the rest of our lives. I snickered as I waded into his prose wondering how in the world he would ever step out of this sewer.
Wise old Nick hooked me with a sparkling lure and landed me in his boat, my dorsal fins flapping in agreement that a domed stadium is the best idea since the invention of the mouse trap.
For those of you unfamiliar with San Diego other than it is a beautiful city with stupendous weather, its city government is rather spineless, rudderless and pennyless. The city council several years ago informed the Chargers it will not renew its lease on money-losing rapidly deteriorating Qualcomm Stadium.
The Alex Spanos family, which owns the Chargers, remain loyal campers -- so far -- in trying to negotiate a deal with the city to build a new football stadium on the Embarcadero near the convention center and Petco Park, home of the baseball San Diego Padres. The alternative is to move elsewhere, as to arch enemy Los Angeles.
Canepa says a retractable tarped dome in a stadium large enough to attract a Super Bowl would provide endless revenue to the city during the off season for events too large to be held in the convention center. Among them would be a much needed Navy and Marine museum, American Medical Association annual meetings, automobile show (my idea) and sporting events such as the college basketball Final Four and soccer's World Cup games.
Of course, he quotes enthusiasts to support the idea such as Charger and officials which run the downtown redevelopment projects. The area has the infrastructure, parking, restaurants and road access. One official said fair weather domes come cheap, certainly not in the $200 million range costing other domes in inclement climates..
But, Canepa, ever the realist, knows San Diegans will need to vote for the project and ante up taxpayers dollars to build it in conjunction with the Chargers.
"Oh, but it will be opposed. Isn’t everything, as we’ve just seen with the rejection of plans to enhance the Embarcadero? We’re talking toddler steps here."
Nick Canepa knows sports. Nick Canepa knows San Diego politics. He doesn't know Dan Quail, I don't think.
Readers comments are welcome as long as they remain civil. We reserve the right to delete any comments that are vulgar, libelous and totally irrelevant to this posting. -- Jer