Amid rancor, Chargers boss to meet with San Diego mayor over stadium
Dean Spanos, president of the San Diego Chargers, has agreed to meet with Mayor Kevin Faulconer over the hot-button issue of building a stadium to keep the team from moving to Los Angeles.
Faulconer, in a letter Tuesday to Spanos, offered to meet “one-on-one, without any advisors or staff, to determine how we can best move forward to keep the Chargers in San Diego.”
On Wednesday, the Chargers said that Spanos has met with the mayor on other occasions “and would be happy to meet with the mayor again.”
No date or place was set for the meeting.
Faulconer had written to Spanos to express disappointment at comments made by Chargers special counsel Mark Fabiani at a meeting of a committee appointed by the mayor to propose a site and financing plan for a new stadium. The proposal will be forwarded to voters, the mayor has said.
Faulconer said Fabiani’s comments “were not helpful.” Fabiani said his goal was to remind the committee that the Chargers have spent 14 years and $15 million on stadium proposals that were unsuccessful because of a lack of political support.
The nine-member committee, composed of civic and business leaders, is not covered by open-meeting laws and plans for its sessions to be closed to the public -- with one exception.
A March 2 committee session is planned to hear from the public. The meeting is scheduled for Qualcomm Stadium Club Lounge S, starting at 6 p.m.
“The Citizens’ Stadium Advisory Group is looking forward to hearing from San Diegans,” committee Chairman Adam Day said. “We want to hear about their good ideas and we want to know what their concerns are.”
One concern that the committee will doubtless hear is steadfast opposition from a segment of the voting public to any public funds being used to build an NFL stadium.
State law requires a two-thirds approval of voters to raise taxes.
“The Chargers have no interest in participating in another half-baked scheme to attempt to get around the two-thirds rule,” Fabiani told the committee Monday.
The Chargers have a year-to-year lease at city-owned Qualcomm. The team has announced it will stay for the 2015 season but made no assurances for the 2016 season.
Faulconer named the committee in the wake of an announcement that the owner of the St. Louis Rams has proposed building an NFL stadium in Inglewood, a possible prelude to moving the Rams. The Rams left the Los Angeles market two decades ago.
It would not be fair to the Chargers “to allow other teams that abandoned the L.A. market to now return and gut the Chargers’ local revenue stream,” Fabiani told the mayor’s committee.
The discord between the team ownership and the mayor has led to a belief in some civic circles that the Chargers have already decided to move to Los Angeles.
Think of the arrangement between the Chargers and San Diego as a marriage where the partners are undergoing counseling, said Carl Luna, political science professor at San Diego Mesa College.
“When one spouse starts out by attacking the marriage counselor (the mayor’s stadium committee) the other better start thinking about life back out on the dating scene,” Luna said.
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