Chargers Not Impressed With New Stadium Proposal

Major flaws still exist in the team's eyes

The San Diego government and the San Diego Chargers called a cease-fire for the Hall of Fame induction ceremony. On Monday, it was back to the firing line again. While San Diego political leaders are trumpeting what they call a “real path to success” the local professional football franchise sees it more as a path to nowhere but Trouble Town.

One of many sticking points is the idea of using $350 million from the General Fund (split between the city and county).

“Both history and current polling show it will be extraordinarily difficult to persuade voters to devote hundreds of millions of General Fund tax dollars to a stadium,” said Chargers Special Counsel Mark Fabiani on Monday afternoon. “In the end any funding plan is going to be dragged down into the quicksand of the City's legally inadequate environmental review process -- a process that will be bogged down in court for years before it is eventually declared illegal.”

And, once again, the Chargers are unimpressed (if not outright upset) with the city’s proposed expedited Environmental Impact Report (EIR).

“Never before in California history has a controversial, billion dollar project relied on environmental review documents hastily prepared in three weeks,” said Fabiani. “The Chargers have been clear from the start that the franchise will not be the City's guinea pig for this inevitably ill-fated legal experiment.”

If this all sounds like stuff you’ve heard before, it’s because this is all stuff you’ve heard before.  The Chargers seem uninterested in listening to anything until the Mayor and his team change their approach to the EIR.

“Remember, these are the same politicians who told us, with disastrous results in court, that the convention center expansion could be financed by a vote of the hoteliers rather than a vote of the people,” said Fabiani.

After that there are still plenty of other sticking points from the team’s point of view, not the least of which is the $360-plus million the city is asking the franchise to kick in which, when added to stadium maintenance costs, is a number that far outweighs the financial input of any other team in a similar-sized market, and that is a big concern for the Chargers.

The bottom line here is there is no trust between the parties involved. On a hunch I asked Fabiani if the Chargers would classify the city’s announcements today as public posturing. In the team’s estimation, is the local government simply trying to make it look like they’re really trying to move forward with a stadium plan, thereby laying the foundation to put all the blame on the team and Spanos family if the team does move?

Fabiani once again did not mince words.

“Yes that's exactly right.”

It is important to note the city has pledged more than $2 million to work on this project. On Tuesday the NFL owners meeting in Chicago will conclude and we will know if the September 11 deadline for the city and county to negotiate with the team stands firm or they did enough in the eyes of the NFL to warrant an extension.

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