View Blog Posts About: This & That about San Diego

Are There Any Natives in San Diego?

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I moved to San Diego 12 years ago and it seemed to take a year before I finally met a native San Diegan.

When I arrived in town not knowing a soul, I went to work with a big company, played volleyball on South Mission a couple times a week, and spent a lot of time making new friends and acquaintances.

Time after time, each conversation turned into stories about similar experiences growing up or going to college on the East Coast or in the Midwest and eventually finding our way to paradise. Almost everyone I met had ‘just’ moved to San Diego. The rest had moved to San Diego maybe 5 – 10 years earlier. We referred to them as ‘San Diego natives’ since they had a lot more local experience than the rest of us.

Twelve years later, one of my first questions to a new person I meet in San Diego is still, “Where are you from originally?”.  Nine times out of ten, they’re from someplace else and once again the conversation turns into stories about how we found our way to San Diego.

On the rare chance the person says they were born and raised in San Diego, that too turns into quite a conversation. The natives seem to be used to the surprise and take pride when someone is in shock they’ve met a ‘real native’.

Well, a recent study on California demographics addressed that very issue. You can see in an age-sorted chart that the number of adult Californians born in foreign countries and other states has far exceeded the number of those born in the Golden State.

But, the tide has been changing. In 1980, the number of San Diegans born in California was just over 35%. Now, the figure is approaching 50%. (Keep in mind, many California-born San Diegans are from the Bay Area and L.A. so the number of San Diego-born locals is still in the minority.)

If this trend continues, my favorite ice-breaker may become less relevant but until then, I look forward to asking you, “Where are you from originally?”.

Do you have the perfect ‘Dirty Job’ to be featured on Discovery Channel?

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Did you see the San Diego Maritime Museum’s Star of India featured on tonight’s episode of ‘Dirty Jobs‘?

The host of the show on Discovery Channel, Mike Rowe, is becoming a household name among TV viewers as he takes on the dirtiest jobs in America.

Four more ‘Dirty Job’ ideas for San Diego have been submitted to the show in recent days. Check them out. If you think they are worthy, add your comment supporting the idea and let’s get the cameras back out to San Diego. Maybe you have your own ‘Dirt Job’ idea you would like to submit.

Raising Live Bait in San Diego Bay for Fishing

Cleaning Oceanside Ale Works Brewery

Cleaning the Ballast and Mud Tanks of a Navy Submarine

Cleaning the Air Handlers at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot

Christmas Inspiration for Your Home

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I hope the wife doesn’t mind I’m posting pics of her Christmas displays. They are too nice for me to be the only one to enjoy them. Happy Holidays!

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I Finally Understand Why the Chargers Want a New Stadium

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Qualcomm StadiumI was proud when San Diego served as a great host for Super Bowl XXXVII on Sunday, January 26, 2003. (Mother nature helped by providing perfect weather for the two weeks leading up to the game.) Announcer John Madden commented during the ABC Broadcast that the Super Bowl should be held in San Diego every year.

So, I started scratching my head when the Chargers started their quest to build a new stadium.  Qualcomm Stadium, which opened in 1967, had just hosted an amazing Super Bowl. What was wrong with it? Couldn’t a few modifications fix any imperfections?

I kept searching for a satisfactory answer in the ensuing years, reading news stories about the search and even attending a community presentation in Mira Mesa by the Chargers organization on why they needed a new stadium. The main argument I heard (beyond fixing up the locker rooms and normal wear & tear of an aging stadium) was the desire to build luxury suites and attract more corporate clients. To do so, studies showed that it would be cheaper to build a new stadium than it would be to renovate Qualcomm Stadium.

Considering San Diego is headquarters for only a few Fortune 500 companies, it was hard for me to see where all the well-heeled corporate clients were going to come from to make it worth the effort and community cost to build a new stadium. Granted, the Chargers want to make this a privately funded stadium so it would be their risk on whether the corporate clients opened up their wallets.

From the community perspective, even if the stadium is privately funded, there is the concern on whether taxpayer owned land would be given up for free or at a discount to help support a new stadium.  To resolve this concern, proposals have recommended the development of land surrounding a stadium to generate new tax revenues. But, in turn, that would burden the local infrastructure, which would need to be upgraded and hopefully paid for by new tax revenues generated by the project. In the end, nearby citizens would be upset with the additional crowding of their communities. So, this returned me to the questions of ‘Why do the Chargers really need a new stadium?’ and ‘Is it really worth the community impacts?’.

As a football fan, I want the Chargers to stay in San Diego. Not only does it help tie a large part of the community together with a common interest, but it is also a huge boon for our third largest industry, tourism. Friends and family back East and in the Midwest are always reminded of the great Southern California weather and lifestyle when the national TV networks broadcast the Chargers games. The networks show clips of surfers riding the waves of the Pacific, bathers frolicking on the beaches, and kids enjoying themselves at the local theme parks. There is no better time for San Diego to receive this free advertising than during football season when the rest of the country is stuck inside their homes with howling winds outside and ice pellets hitting their windows.

So, why can’t things continue to be the way they are with the Chargers staying in San Diego and continuing to play at Qualcomm Stadium?

I finally found my answers reading Friday’s (October 9, 2009) transcript of an online chat hosted by the Chargers point-man on the search for a new stadium, Mark Fabiani. Here, in my words, are the points that stuck out for me in helping to understand why things can’t stay the way they are.

Why the Chargers need to attempt to attract more corporate clients: I had heard the argument over the years that the Chargers needed a new stadium to remain competitive with the other teams in the NFL. I never appreciated what that meant in real dollars until Fabiani explained the salary cap in detail. For those who don’t know, it’s the salary cap that provides parity in the NFL.  No team can just outspend all the others to attract the best players. (Think about the Yankees in baseball, which draw big revenues from its huge New York fan base and far outspends all other teams for the best players.) The NFL has revenue sharing and a spending cap so all teams can remain competitive.

The problem is, “The salary cap is determined by overall League revenues, so when new stadiums come on line, League revenues go up, and the salary cap goes up.” “With new stadiums opening for Dallas, New York Jets and New York Giants, the salary cap will increase — because of the new stadiums alone — by $10 million.” Thus, the Chargers hope that when they build a new stadium and attract more corporate clients, they too will earn additional revenues and continue to have enough money to meet the rising spending cap figure allowed for all NFL teams.

Doing some research, I found that by next year, 23 of the 32 NFL teams will be playing in stadiums that have been built since 1992. Only four teams have older stadiums than the Chargers.  However, two of the four, Green Bay’s Lambeau Field and Chicago’s Soldier Field, underwent several-hundred million dollar renovations in recent years. The other two are the stadiums for San Francisco and Oakland.

Thus, the Chargers are at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to stadium revenues. I now appreciate their argument of why they can’t just maintain the status quo with Qualcomm Stadium.  I’ll also respect their decision that based on extensive studies, building a new stadium is more cost effective than renovating Qualcomm Stadium.

Can the Chargers attract corporate clients?: As I noted earlier, relative to its size, San Diego is the headquarters to very few large companies. Assuming the stadium is privately funded, it is their risk on whether the plethora of smaller companies and professional service firms in San Diego will spend more money at a new stadium. Fabiani and the Chargers believe they will. I’m a little skeptical about the luxury suites but then again, a lot of new razzle dazzle technology features and creature comforts may just get them over the top. One thing San Diego does have going for it from the corporate side is that it serves as a corporate home for consumer technology divisions of major corporations like Sony and HP. Hopefully they’ll want to show off their newest stuff just like Sony did with their flat screen TVs when the Padres opened Petco Park.

One thing Fabiani pointed out in his chat that I think will work to attract corporate dollars is digital advertising. “If all of the signage in a new stadium were electronic, would a company be willing to pay more to have its name flashed on all of the signs at once for a minute?”

Should San Diego keep the Chargers?: Now that I can appreciate, and hopefully you do too, that the Chargers need a new stadium to continue to pay for a competitive team and that the Chargers are willing to take the risk to attract more corporate dollars, the question is whether or not they are still a good fit for San Diego. As a football fan and knowing how much free advertising San Diego gets for its tourism industry, I say yes. For those who are not football fans, I’m curious what you think. If you were against a new stadium, are you now more indifferent as to whether one gets built when you understand why they want a new stadium? Would you rather have the Chargers move to another city and lose the tourism dollars that come with visiting team fans? Would you prefer to have the free tourism advertising that gets broadcast nationally and the resulting tourism dollars go to another city? Would you reconsider if you read that “a study by the Federal Reserve Bank in Philadelphia showed that NFL stadiums generate more for their cities in property tax revenues than the cities put into the stadiums.” Fabiani also noted, “Interestingly, the study did not find that baseball parks or basketball/hockey arenas had any correlation to increases in property taxes.” You can email Fabiani at mdf@markfabiani.com to get a copy of the report.

I hope you will take all of this into consideration as you decide whether to support, oppose, or be indifferent on the effort of the Chargers to build a new stadium in San Diego.

Slowing Economy is a Boon for San Diego Cruise Ship Industry

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San Diego is the perfect place to ride out any type of storm.  Obviously, the weather here is near perfect.  But, did you know San Diego is also a great place to ride out an economic storm?

Tourism nationwide fell dramatically after 9/11 as people reacted by staying closer to family and avoiding planes. As a result, people throughout the Southwestern part of the United States turned to San Diego as their vacation hot spot.  We served as the getaway vacation capital for the 10 million residents of Los Angeles and the nearly 5 million residents in the Phoenix metro area. These two cities are the largest in the Western United States and San Diego is within easy driving distance of both.  That helped to prop up our tourism industry during the weak economy at that time.

Now that our nation’s economy is going through another rought spot, here is another sign that San Diego’s tourism business will get a boost.  The Cruise Log Blog at USA Today reports Royal Caribbean Cruises is moving their 2,501 passenger Randiance of the Seas ship from the Caribbean to San Diego to ride out the current economic storm.  The theory is a lot more people will be willing to drive to San Diego rather than fly to the Caribbean during the economic downturn.  An additional 24 trips will originate out of San Diego, bringing up to 60,000 more visitors through San Diego.

It is always nice to see a bright spot in every storm.  This is just another one of the benefits of living in San Diego. If you want to see the cruise ships up close, check out my post about the San Diego Cruise Ship Terminal I made earlier in the year.

Do You Want to Share Your Thoughts & Experiences with Others?

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I started this blog back in February after a two week visit to the hospital for heart surgery. (A word to the wise: Wash your hands frequently and do whatever it takes to avoid random viruses, a few of whom like to attack the heart. I was one of the lucky ones to recover and am back to running several miles each week.)

I could have created a blog to share my thoughts and experiences on overcoming the challenges of being knocked off ones feet, adapting to circumstances, and then ultimately fighting for recovery. However, I personally was more moved by the appreciation I re-established during my two-week hospital stay for the great fortune we have for living in San Diego.

It dawned on me there are very few places in our country, if any, that enjoy many of the privileges we have living here in America’s Finest City. I wrote in my first blog entry that I had the great fortune of spending two weeks in probably one of the best hospital rooms in the country. I stayed in the same room Mother Theresa had stayed in when she had heart surgery. Every evening I enjoyed watching the sun set over the Pacific, with a view of the Torrey Pines Golf Course, home of the 2008 PGA U.S. Open Championship, in the foreground. Now, how many hospital rooms in the world can you think of that offer a view of a golf course, ocean, and beautiful sunsets?

Looking back on my 10 years in San Diego, I began to remember all of the great attributes that attracted me to San Diego in the first place. Hoping that others do not have to go through the challenging experience I endured to re-appreciate all of the great things about San Diego, I decided to create this blog to remind people what a great place we live in. I aim to write each post about something that makes San Diego unique or at least makes it stand out from other cities. So far, I have thoroughly enjoyed sharing my findings with others.

That brings me back to the question I asked in the title of this post. What about yourself. Do you have thoughts or experiences you would like to share with others? Do you tell your friends and family about things that you think others might have an interest in as well? Chances are, there are other people out there who can benefit from hearing about your experiences or who can learn from your knowledge.

Blogging has become mainstream. You hear every TV and radio personality telling you to check out their blog. If you think there must be too many blogs now that everyone is talking about them and thus yours will get lost in the shuffle, think again. People are always yearning to learn more or find someone else they can relate to. You might just be the person they are looking for.

Here in San Diego, there are blogs about communities (such as San Elijo Life or La Mesa Real Estate), moms (Mel, A Dramatic Mom in La Costa), food (places to eat out and easy recipes), dealing with life in one’s 20s (Girlola) and much more.

What do you have to share? — Viewpoints on politics? Knowledge on economics? Advice on dating? Experiences as a Taxi Driver? (There’s actually a San Diego Taxi Blog.)

If I’ve wet your appetite at all to start your own blog, why don’t you start by meeting some of the local bloggers. The San Diego Meetup group for bloggers, SD Bloggers, is getting together on Tuesday, October 28th in downtown San Diego. Over 225 members have joined since its inception a year ago. You will meet about a 100 of them on Tuesday. They are a friendly group and drinks are free for the first hour courtesy of Integral Impressions, owned by one of our fellow bloggers. Sign up to attend the SD Bloggers meet-up and get some inspiration to start your own blog!