A day after Chargers' special counsel nixed the idea of a December ballot measure for the stadium, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer called on the team to "prove they want to stay in their hometown."
At a press conference Wednesday, City and County leaders said their door was wide open for discussion, even as the Chargers appeared to criticize current stadium plans.
"If San Diego if their first choice, we need them to reengage," Faulconer said. "It's time for Chargers ownership to show San Diego they want to stay in their hometown."
The remarks come a day after Chargers' special counsel Mark Fabiani's claim that a "legally defensible" stadium measure on a December ballot would be impossible, comments made after Faulconer called a two-hour meeting with the Chargers Tuesday morning "a productive exchange."
Officials also laid out a timeline for environmental approval for the stadium in Mission Valley that would put the issue to an anticipated special election on January 12, 2016. A downtown stadium is not off the table, officials said, but if the Chargers do decide to go with the idea, the timeline would increase and the costs would increase by at least $150 million.
"The Ownership of the Chargers wants to stay here, but we won't be part of a half-baked legal strategy put together by the city," Fabiani said in response to the city Wednesday. "They can criticize us all they want."
"They tell us we'd be nuts to go along with this,"Fabiani said.
Faulconer also said the Chargers have declined to discuss financial terms and accused them of working on a plan to move to Los Angeles while San Diego officials worked to keep them here. Jason Roe, the mayor's political consultant, issued a statement voicing frustration with the matter.
"For the first time in seven months of incredibly hard work from the City, County, and CSAG, the Chargers did something honest - walk away from the table," said Roe. "The truth is, they never were at the table. They’ve mislead the fans and our elected and civic leaders by saying they wanted to remain in San Diego when in fact they initiated the process of relocation to LA a year ago. And throughout this process they’ve not done one single tangible thing toward a solution but instead put up phony roadblocks to success. Charger fans deserve better."
Goldsmith said environmental approval would be possible so quickly because they do not have to reinvent the wheel and the experts know the environmental impact because it is a replacement stadium.
While Fabiani thanked the city and county team for their work Tuesday in trying to get the stadium ballot measure before voters this year, he went on to say it can't happen.
"Based on all of this work and discussion, the Chargers have concluded that it is not possible to place a ballot measure before voters in December 2015 in a legally defensible manner given the requirements of the State’s election law and the California Environmental Quality Act," said Fabiani's statement. "The various options that we have explored with the City’s experts all lead to the same result: Significant time-consuming litigation founded on multiple legal challenges, followed by a high risk of eventual defeat in the courts."
Fabiani wrote that the team is still committed to maintaining an open line of communication with the local government negotiators leading up to the NFL owners' special meeting in August. "That meeting may provide important information about what is likely to occur during the remainder of 2015," the counsel said.