San Diego

DeMaio Tax-Free Stadium Scheme Gets Cold Shoulder from Bolts Nation

The proposal calls for no taxpayer money to be spent.

With two citizens' initiatives involving a Chargers stadium aimed at the November election, San Diego voters may see a third measure on mail ballots, not long after.

The proposal calls for no taxpayer money to be spent.

The team has nothing to say about it publicly.

But the plan’s release Thursday by former city councilman and mayoral candidate Carl DeMaio prompted no immediate expectations that it will get traction at Chargers Park.

Or at 345 Park Avenue, New York, N.Y. -- home office of the National Football League.

"The ball's now in the court of the mayor and City Council,” DeMaio told a media scrum outside the Registrar of Voters office in Kearny Mesa. “It's time that they 'Bolt Up', take to the field, and provide some leadership."

DeMaio and several real estate investors are touting a private-money-only approach to a new stadium and hotel, anchoring a $1.5 billion retail and entertainment center in East Village or on the Qualcomm Stadium site in Mission Valley.

Fans, citizens, and business firms would be offered "equity" investment opportunities.

The Sydney Opera House is the visual concept here.

“We want to build an iconic piece of art, so that it stands the test of time and only needs to be refreshed,” said Richard Neal McCay, a Newport Beach realty financier.

But the Chargers and NFL would be on the hook for nearly a third of the cost, with no seat license or naming rights income.

Bolts fan groups say the team's ownership, already invested in a well-researched project , won't take a flyer on DeMaio's scheme.

“It's just Looney Tunes,” said David Agranoff, a schoolteacher and co-founder of the “Save Our Bolts” organization. “The Spanos family, they still have L.A. on the table ... and if you think they're going turn down all this money in L.A. for a concept that takes money out of their pockets, it's just not realistic.”

So far, Councilman Scott Sherman is the city's only elected official sticking his neck out for the plan.

It also calls for money from the Port, San Diego State and U-C San Diego -- public entities that don't figure to make speculative investment decisions in a five-month time frame.

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