Open Letter to San Diego City Council: Vote “No” Today on Stadium EIR

by on July 14, 2015 · 8 comments

in Culture, Economy, Environment, Politics, San Diego, Sports

Qualcomm Stadium ColoInvtEditor: In the interests in providing a platform for the discussion of public issues, we publish the following ‘open letter’ to the San Diego City Council by Dan McLellan on a vote that they will probably take today, Tuesday, July 14, on establishing a stadium EIR. The views expressed in the letter do not necessarily reflect the views of the editors and staff of the OB Rag.

Dear San Diego City Council:

As a sports writer and stadium activist, I urge you to vote ‘NO’ with regard to ITEM-S500: Establishment of Stadium Reconstruction Project CIP and Amendment to AECOM Agreement for Environmental Review Services. (Mission Valley Community Area. District 7.)

In 2009, I broke the story for that the Chargers had re-engaged city officials and the focus for a new stadium had turned to downtown. Since then, I have built a strong relationship with the team and spent three seasons (2010-12) as the Chargers beat writer for

With deep knowledge of the stadium issue, I am extremely concerned that a ‘YES’ vote will cost the city more valuable time in our efforts to keep the Chargers in San Diego. Frequent communication with the team has led to my personal conclusion that there is no possibility of success for a new stadium in Mission Valley. We must quickly turn the conversation to a downtown multi-use facility where we can, and will be successful.

A quickened EIR will not bring the Chargers back to the table. There is no legal precedent that an EIR on a massive billion dollar project can be completed in a few weeks. City attorney Jan Goldsmith wrote to CSAG in early February that a stadium EIR would take 12 to 18 months. This is on par with the time frame for all previous EIRs completed in California for stadium projects.

Lack of legal precedents opens up the door for litigation that would likely succeed in killing any stadium proposed with this EIR. As I have previously shared with members of the council, there are already 112 organizations prepared to sue. Trying to complete an EIR in less than a month only invites litigation.

The Chargers have said that they are not willing to go along with such a highly questionable strategy. Passing S500 will not bring them back to the table and will not improve the opportunity for success in Mission Valley.

Proponents of S500 argue that completing the EIR quickly will demonstrate to the NFL that the city is doing everything it can to keep the Chargers and this will lead to the NFL declining relocation. However, Eric Grubman, the NFL’s vice president in charge of relocation, made it abundantly clear that the NFL is there to support the teams. Grubman told CSAG and city officials that he felt the Chargers have already met the requirements for relocation.

S500 will not strengthen the city’s position with the NFL. It may in fact further weaken it. CSAG was not honest when they said the Chargers do not prefer downtown. Statements like these surely cost San Diego leverage with the NFL. Putting forth an EIR with no precedents for success will likely cause more damage.

It is time to focus on downtown. Grubman also suggested that we turn our focus to the Chargers’ preferred site of downtown. We are running out of time. It is vitally important the we engage the Chargers in a way that excites them, and is good for the city.

Mayor Faulconer was the one who walked away from the negotiating table for downtown, when  last Fall he announced he would be forming a stadium task force. It is time Faulconer re-engage the Chargers in meaningful talks that will keep the team in San Diego. Passing S500 would only delay the start of those talks, and that is time that we cannot afford to waste.

Dan McLellan

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

J Madruga July 14, 2015 at 12:44 pm

No…, NO!.., Hell, NO!!, and WTF!?!! Virtually every damn thing the NFL and/or Team Nepotism says is “Pie in the Sky when you die”, and by “die” they mean we pay more and more and more; and it matters not whether these princesses get their mattress placed in Mission Valley or Downtown, or L.A., or back in some other fiscal sad sack city; as long as it’s only, first and foremost, always about and for them. They make the Kardashians look classy.


RB July 15, 2015 at 8:26 am

While I think the City is trying to keep the Chargers here in San Diego, I believe Chargers have already decided to leave for LA. They bought the land in Carson, secretly. They hire Wall Street bankers. They will announce the move after they sell tickets for this years games.


Geoff Page July 15, 2015 at 1:39 pm

My compliments to the the OB Rag for providing an alternate opinion regarding a stadium for an obnoxious, uncaring billionaire and his collection of millionaires that play the game. It reminds me of a joke by Ron White explaining how a guy decided to see if he could last during a hurricane lashed to a telephone pole. He didn’t make it. As White put it, “It wasn’t THAT the wind was blowing, it was WHAT the wind was blowing.” As far as this stadium issue goes, it isn’t WHERE the stadium goes , it is WHO PAYS for it. There is no way the taxpayers should contribute a dime so put it wherever they want it.


editordude July 15, 2015 at 2:52 pm

Geoff Page – thank you. And gracias for helping keep all the conversations and debates going.


Mike James July 16, 2015 at 12:42 am

The reason why the city is spending the money on an EIR is to save future developers of the valuable 166 acre stadium site millions of dollars and to fast track groundbreaking with or without the Chargers.

Developers including Doug Manchester are orchestrating this whole dog and pony show through the Lincoln Club, the San Diego County Republican Party and Revolis Consulting.

Someone need only connect the dots between the handful of key players from the above groups, their relationship with the city and the county to see who is actually manipulating the strings on this situation.

Strategically one hand is pretending to woo the Chargers while the other hand has created an adversarial stance against the Chargers leadership but the endgame is the same.

Mayor Falconer, Councilman Chris Cates, Mark Kersey and Scott Sherman are just puppets.

Councilman Scott Sherman is just not that astute to come up with his own “River Park Stadium” project. A project that Sherman claims has the development value of $4 billion.

Someone needs to pull back the curtain and expose the puppet-masters.


Geoff Page July 16, 2015 at 10:14 am

Mike, I agree with everything you have said with one exception. The EIR they are moving ahead with they believe can be fast-tracked because it is only to demolish the stadium and build another in the same spot. In other words, no real change in use. The EIR will not cover development on the whole 166 acre site that – you are correct – devlopers are slathering over. An EIR to develop all that acreage would be very different.


Mike James July 16, 2015 at 6:32 pm

You are correct Geoff, the proposed EIR will be only for rebuilding the stadium, it would still expedite any other projects on the site and substantially reduce the cost of any supplemental EIR.
From the city’s Budget Analyst Report on the EIR:
“If a future project was determined to be different (under CEQA) from the Stadium Reconstruction Project, a supplemental or subsequent EIR could be prepared or a new EIR would be required. Either way, staff believes elements of the Stadium Reconstruction Project EIR could be useful and potentially reduce the costs of a future environmental analysis for a substantially different project at the same site.”


Geoff Page July 17, 2015 at 9:29 am

That quote you provided from the Budget Analyst Report was a quintessential city staff comment. A new EIR or a supplement “could be prepared” or “would be required” for a different future project, but no matter, getting this one done now “could be useful” and could “potentially reduce” the costs of any future analysis. There is so little meat in this comment that if the words were a wood bridge crossing a creek, a person would fall through on the first steps. How about some actual numbers and hard objective evidence that this will be of use in the future? That’s nothing more than city doublespeak saying the powers that be want this so we agree it is a great idea with benefits we can’t prove.


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