San Diego mayor and Chargers president meet to discuss stadium issue
After a week of acrimony, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and Chargers President Dean Spanos met privately Sunday to discuss the increasingly complex and controversial issue of building a new stadium to keep the team from moving to the Los Angeles area.
The hour-long meeting was held at a neutral site: the Padres office at Petco Park. The two men met alone, without staff members.
After the meeting, each released a statement supporting the move by the mayor’s stadium committee to present its analysis within 90 days, not by fall as originally planned.
The committee, made up of nine business and civic leaders appointed by Faulconer, has been assigned to come up with a location and a financing plan to be submitted to voters.
The surprise announcement last week that the Chargers and the Oakland Raiders were planning a joint-use stadium in the Los Angeles suburb of Carson prompted Faulconer to call for the committee to speed up its work.
When he named the committee members in January, Faulconer talked of submitting the issue to voters in November 2016. Now there is talk at City Hall of an earlier election.
Spanos and Faulconer each said his top goal is finding a solution to the stadium issue so that the Chargers can remain in San Diego.
But the dueling statements also referred to the issues that separate the two sides in the dispute: the team and the mayor (as well as other elected officials).
The Chargers statement said that Spanos explained “in detail ... the reasons that the franchise must create other options for itself in the event that an agreement is not reached.”
On Friday, Faulconer had accused the Chargers of not dealing in good faith with San Diego. In response, Chargers special counsel Mark Fabiani reiterated that the team has tried for 14 years to get a new stadium but has lacked support from City Hall.
Faulconer’s statement Sunday restated his position that he wants a stadium plan that “protects taxpayers.” Opposition to using public funds for a stadium remains strong, as a 10 News-U-T San Diego poll released this weekend indicates.
According to the poll, the public disapproves of how both the Chargers and the mayor have handled the issue. But 54% of those polled oppose using public funds for a stadium.
The mayor’s committee plans a session March 2 at Qualcomm Stadium to hear from members of the public.
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