We’re in for quite a month in the Chargers saga.
For his last piece for Voice of San Diego, Liam Dillon got a hold of a price tag for the Chargers’ vision of a joint stadium and convention center annex downtown.
A well-known stadium finance guru who had previously worked for the city put it together and gave it to the mayor’s office but the mayor’s staff disregarded it. And Dillon got the mayor’s chief of staff on the record about how unrealistic and impossible to pull off that plan would be because it would, he claims, require two-thirds support of voters.
The mayor may say he’s still open to a downtown stadium but this is the only plan the Chargers like downtown. The team could pursue it without the mayor’s support.
Adding to the drama is a short timeline. The mayor still may put a tax hike on the June ballot that would itself require two-thirds support of voters but for a different plan to expand the Convention Center on its current site. The mayor and City Council have until March 10 to put that on the ballot. And the Chargers have until the end of March to outline their own plans for a November ballot initiative.
Spanos Pioneered CEQA End Run
ESPN posted an extraordinary deep dive into the battle between NFL owners to bring football back to Los Angeles. In it is an interesting revelation of how Chargers owner Dean Spanos “designed a creative development method… that would expedite the arduous process of entitling a stadium to a city council vote, overcoming legal hurdles that often take years to clear.” Spanos’s creative strategy would go on to be copied and used to sidestep environmental laws by the Rams in their proposal to build a stadium in Inglewood.
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The ESPN Chargers/Raiders/Rams story makes 2 things abundantly clear.First, it is, as everyone suspects, all about the money in the NFL and fans preferences or city loyalties don’t figure in.Second,Spanos has no leverage with either the city/county of San Diego or with Stan Kroenke.He is left to devise a deal here in San Diego or become Kroenke’s tenant.And one other thing seems obvious if the story is accurate:Roger Goodell, the 40 mil commissioner, is on thin ice with the owners for a number of reasons.Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.
I believe ESPN is factually wrong on at least one statement, that the Q was a “baseball stadium” when built. Wasn’t it designed from the start as a combination football/baseball venue? Unfortunately, owners’ ambitions outgrew it and San Diego taxpayers were dumb enough to finance Petco Park, a good venue that should have cost a lot less public money. Now they face repeating that mistake unless the city sticks to it’s guns with Spanos and his coterie of shakers, movers and con men which now includes not only the infamous Mark Fabiani, but John Moores and Fred Maas. I’m waiting for Jerry Sanders to show up on the Spanos roster.