During his State of the County address on Thursday night at the Hall of Champions, County Supervisor Ron Roberts shared his thoughts on the quest for a new football stadium in San Diego. However, if you were looking for specifics like how negotiations are going or what a facility might look like, this was not the speech for you.
“Then there’s that little matter of replacing that old stadium,” said Roberts, referring to Qualcomm Stadium in Mission Valley. “Yes, it has been a long, and at times, emotional, haul. But we are in the end game and will almost certainly know this year the future of the Chargers in San Diego.”
Instead of going with an update Roberts chose to play on the emotional aspect of having the Bolts in San Diego.
“Many of those Charger teams, and players, are celebrated on the walls surrounding you. Collectively, they have touched countless San Diegans. Not just at games or on television but at numerous – and I mean numerous – community events, often benefitting our non-profit organizations. Again, we are talking about connections. The majority of you in this room have your own sports memories, those connections. Our children, and grandchildren, deserve no less.”
Roberts also gave credit to San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer for his efforts, even invoking a photo from the movie The Revenant, with the massive bear snarling in the face of Leonardo DiCaprio, to symbolize the difficulties in trying to get a new stadium deal done.
“However this ends, Mayor Kevin Faulconer has led an open, sincere and comprehensive effort to bring San Diegans a fair stadium deal that would serve our community for decades to come. For that he deserves a round of applause.”
And that was really it. No mentions of any kind of plan or site that might be coming down the road. The lack of specifics was stark when compared with the detail in which Roberts discussed topics like technology and public health.
It makes you wonder, was that part of the speech altered in the 11th hour? Remember just a couple of days before the address the Chargers made public their intentions of pursuing a Downtown stadium site instead of working with the City/County group on the Mission Valley site. Might there have been more details available if that card had not been played?
Representatives from Roberts’ office say no.
“He talks so much about (the stadium) that he stayed away from it,” said Roberts Press Secretary Tim McClain. “The emotion part has been there for more than a month. He reworked it a couple of times and shortened it down. There was nothing in there of substance about negotiations or designs or photos.”
From the beginning Roberts had decided to highlight the struggle they’ve been through. The final piece to that part of the address fell in to place a few weeks ago.
“The only thing that changed the tenor of it was when they didn’t go to L.A.,” said McClain. “Once the decision was they were going to stay at least a year and possibly forever it became more of what you saw, the continued struggle with it.”
McClain says Roberts still believes there are ways to get a stadium deal done, maybe even at the Downtown site, although nobody has produced a workable plan for that idea yet.