Measure C Fails … So What Happens Now?

The Chargers have multiple options to choose from moving forward

Measure C was soundly defeated by San Diego voters. The Chargers still don’t have the new stadium they desperately want. Instead of wondering what went wrong and why “The Convadium Plan” only received 43% of the vote (it needed 66% to pass) let us ask a more pressing question:

Where do we go from here? Los Angeles … or stay in San Diego and try again?

Chargers Chairman Dean Spanos refused to answer questions on Wednesday, instead issuing a statement. After thanking the people who worked on the citizen’s initiative Spanos gave the only information he wants to give about whether or not the team will stay in San Diego:

“I’m going to put aside any discussion of our possible next steps until after the season, to allow everyone to focus on football and to give my family and me time to think carefully about what is best for the future of our franchise. Over the coming weeks you may hear news about steps that we must take to preserve all of our options. But please know that I don’t intend to make any decisions until after the regular season ends.”

So we are right back where we were in mid-January after NFL owners voted to allow the Rams to move to L.A. instead of the Chargers and Raiders, with Spanos saying he will weigh his options and make a decision later.

But most people who have been around this situation believe, if Spanos has it his way, the Chargers will say in SD.

“I think that’s where his heart is and I think that’s where he’ll remain, at least for the next year, trying to get it right there” says Vincent Bonsignore of the Los Angeles Daily News, who is one of the few experts on all things stadium from San Diego to Oakland.

The Chargers have an option to ask the National Football League for an extension on Los Angeles, meaning they can try and work something out in their current home in 2017 and keep the Raiders from moving to L.A. That option expires in mid-January.

If they decide to exercise it, they will have to compensate the Raiders, meaning Dean Spanos will have to work out a compensation deal with Raiders owner Mark Davis. Bonsignore believes the Bolts will try to put something together to remain in San Diego within the next calendar year.

“They can always go back now on a different proposal and turn back to Mayor Faulconer and bring in the NFL and get together on a plan that works for everybody. Then they can present the unified front to the people and hopefully that works.”

The Chargers have seen now the voting public is leery of a plan they try and come up with on their own. There is too much distrust between the ownership group and the community. They’re going to need some help, and that help is very likely going to have to come from the very people the football club has been engaging with hostilities in for years.

“It has to be something that everybody in a position of leadership … or the majority, you’re never going to get everybody … something that enough people in leadership are OK with and satisfied with along with the club itself that they can take to the people so there won’t be the divisiveness as we saw for Measure C.”

Many people believe something else can be done, including many of the people who opposed Measure C. They say the failed vote is not, as the Chargers suggested in their campaign, a vote against the team staying in San Diego.

“This wasn’t an indictment on the Chargers,” says Tony Manolatos, spokesman for the No on C Coalition. “This was an indictment on a tax increase that was a one-sided deal. It was put together by the Chargers to benefit the Chargers. There is a better plan out there. We just all have to get together and put it together.”

If the Chargers are willing to work with the local government and the local government is willing to work with the Chargers look for that plan then there is a very good chance a stadium deal can get done without the kind of opposition that can kill an initiative. If not, this situation will inevitably hit a tipping point somewhere down the line.

“There will come a point in time where there are no options in San Diego,” says Bonsignore. “I don’t believe these are idle threats when it comes to Los Angeles. I know his heart is in San Diego and he wants it to work there but there’s an expiration date on that. I think he’s going to have to make a hard decision if it’s not working in San Diego to seriously look at Los Angeles.”

When exactly that happens … or if it ever happens … is now the big question.

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