Why Is Actor Mario Lopez Promoting a Stadium Next to an Historic Barrio in San Diego?
Barrio Logan "is one of San Diego’s most historically significant and culturally important neighborhoods. . . [I]t has national prominence for its role in the Chicano / Mexican-American civil rights movement." Like many ethnic working class urban neighborhoods across the country in the second half of the twentieth century, it was bisected by a freeway and bridge construction in which thousands of residents were displaced. It was also rezoned for industrial uses, which impacted the health of its residents.
Barrio Logan residents would not accept these assaults as defeat. Residents and their allies fought off one assault after another, with acts of civil disobedience and occupations to stand-off authorities. Most famously, the neighborhood stopped bulldozers preparing a site for construction of a highway patrol station underneath the Coronado Bridge ramps and created one of most unique and artistically beautiful urban parks in the country. Chicano Park is adorned with murals on the bridge pylons which illustrate Mexican and Native American history, and the Chicano experience in the U.S. Started as an outlaw park, it is now designated a National Register Historic Site.
A threat of another assault on Barrio Logan has arrived at its doorstep. If approved, it’s likely to be the final crushing blow to the neighborhood. A National Football League stadium combined with a convention facility, without parking, may be placed at the edge of Barrio Logan. The “Convadium” is being placed on the ballot as “Measure C” in order to avoid community and environmental review in favor of a city-wide election based on the populist message of “keep the Chargers in San Diego.” The stadium will undoubtedly place huge pressures on the neighborhood to accommodate traffic and parking. This will likely translate into demolition of existing residences and businesses for surface parking, widened freeways, roads, bridges, and ramps. The neighborhood, already burdened with the city’s highest asthma and respiratory illness rates due to air pollution from the adjacent I-5 freeway, Coronado bridge, and shipyard industries, will now be expected to accommodate traffic for football games, conventions, concerts, and other events attended by as many as attended by 70,000 thousand people.
The Spanos family, owners of the NFL Chargers and proponents of the stadium, are aware of the sensitivity of the stadium location in the City's Latino community. Among other things, they have hired San Diego-raised celebrity Mario Lopez to promote the stadium ballot initiative in television advertisements.
On the other hand, HBO's Bill Simmons and famous San Diego skateboarder Tony Hawk filmed a segment ridiculing the Spanos / Chargers stadium proposal.
For more details about Barrio Logan's significance to the Chicano civil rights movement and the stadium proposal, please visit the source article.