Chargers Stadium Financing Plan: Sell City Owned Unicorns and Fairy Dust

by on July 14, 2015 · 0 comments

in Culture, Economy, History, Media, Politics, San Diego, Sports

unicorn pinkBy Doug Porter

This whole deal with using public money to build a stadium for a privately owned football team just keeps getting stranger.

Yesterday we learned the idea of using funds from developments adjacent to the Mission Valley site to fund the project was off the table. Ancillary development has been part of every stadium plan proposed over the past 15 years. That’s $225 million just vanishing. Gone. Poof!

Then where’s the stadium construction funding coming from? Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s spokesman, Craig Gustafson, emailed Scott Lewis at Voice of San Diego: “The plan the City/County team is developing is based on negotiations and discussions with the Chargers and the NFL.”

Dan McSwain at the Union-Tribune got the same response from a different Faulconer spokesman:

“The City/County plan does not rely on ancillary development for a stadium to be financed,” came the quick answer from Matt Awbrey, the mayor’s chief spokesman.

Well, that seems pretty clear. So this must mean a financing plan exists, as in selling bonds and such?

“It’s subject to negotiations and discussions with the team and NFL,” Awbrey responded. “Mayor Faulconer remains committed to a public vote.”

It’s an answer only a lawyer could love: San Diego knows its plan won’t include large-scale redevelopment, but it won’t know what the plan will include until the city completes negotiations with the Chargers, who have suspended negotiations. On the other hand, the Chargers refused to discuss financing, Awbrey said.

When the mainstream media is calling a proposed civic project a “dog and pony show” (UT) and “this long-running performance art piece” (VOSD), you have to assume things are getting strange.

When the prospective beneficiaries [the Chargers] of this plan say it’s a “misbegotten scheme” it’s even stranger.

And the strangest part of all this would be the City Council’s pending approval of $2.1 million for an environmental study on this project, something the UT editorial board thinks we have no choice over:

There has been nothing in the behavior or attitude of San Diego Chargers ownership in the past six months that indicates the team has any intention of staying in San Diego beyond the upcoming season. But for City Hall to waver from its determined effort to prove there is a new stadium deal that could be made here would be to simply throw in the towel and wish the team happy days in Carson.

So, according to the UT editorial board, the only realistic choice is to proceed with a plan that will lose money for taxpayers, have a negligible impact on the economy and is unwanted by the owners of the football team.

This editorial was published despite the word oozing out of Los Angeles yesterday about the Chargers have been negotiating with the L.A. Memorial Coliseum since last year for a temporary deal while a new stadium is being built.

Oh, okay. Bring on the unicorns and the fairy dust.


The above was but an excerpt from Doug Porter’s daily column at San Diego Free Press.


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