The Chargers' downtown stadium campaign got even more intense Tuesday as a top team executive spoke out sharply in response to growing criticism from opponents, calling them "silly" and "misguided".
Taxpayer advocates have made a point of bashing the Chargers' so-called "ConVadium" project early and often.
While they can't hope to match the team's resources for political spending, they're sounding warnings that the city could wind on the hook of deficit spending.
"I don't think this passes the smell test,” says City Councilman Chris Cate, an activist with the “No Downtown Stadium” coalition. “ I think that voters are due a lot more information than they've been given thus far -- a lot more details. I hope it comes before November. We only have three short months before election day."
The Chargers need a two-thirds super-majority to authorize a $1.8 billion proposal for an East Village stadium and convention facility – which is lacking even simple-majority support in recent public opinion polls.
The team has rolled out an aggressive PR push, and gotten the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce on board.
But not the mayor or Padres, who worry about what'll happen to their Tailgate Park rights, and the Bolts' plans for traffic, infrastructure and promotional signage.
"A lot is going to fall and rest in the hands of both the mayor and this governing agency that's going to resolve a bunch of these issues – or not,” says Fred Maas, the Chargers’ special adviser on stadium issues.
In a Tuesday interview with NBC 7, Maas said the “No Downtown Stadium” campaign has grossly misrepresented the team’s citizens’ initiative, to the point of being “sophomoric, if not disingenuous.”
He insisted that voters aren’t being left in the dark, or asked for blank checks – that many unexplained details will be sorted out “after the fact”, through “enormous public processes”.
"It is misguided to somehow think that the day the voters vote -- even if we get two-thirds, should we be so lucky,” Maas declared, “that miraculously a stadium's going to appear in the East Village. It's not. That will be just the ticket to admission to begin the process to complete this."
Longtime observers of the Chargers' stadium chase say it seems that the goal line is getting farther and farther away -- at least under the team's current game plan.
"I think that what some of the groups that are supporting it are saying is, let's support the Chargers as they go through this, and get the best possible vote that we can get so they'll stay at the table,” suggests Voice of San Diego editor Scott Lewis. “Which brings up the question: What if it's a very poor performance at the election, and they don't want to come back to the table?"
The Chargers say they're ahead of schedule on the $10 million they originally vowed to spend in support of the measure.
But for now, there's no getting them to talk about a Plan B, or the "L.A. option".
Just what's in front them -- and they insist they're in it to win it.