Faulconer won’t rush into stadium deal
It was a private meeting between Chargers point man Mark Fabiani and two members of the mayor's senior staff. They decided there would be no public comments about what was said. The mayor and Fabiani are no strangers, yet the mayor's office called it an introductory meeting. A statement from the mayor's office said:
“It was an opportunity for both sides to meet each other, in person, not the start of any formal negotiation. Mayor Faulconer looks forward to continuing a dialogue with the Chargers, but his top priority remains protecting San Diego taxpayers.”
We are 12 years and a half dozen different mayors into this and somehow we haven't been able to get past the dialogue stage. In January, Fabiani blamed part of the problem on the shenanigans at City Hall.
“We've had such political instability,” said Fabiani, “but we hope that with the team's success, with a new mayor coming into office, we can finally put together a proposal.”
Faulconer was campaigning on improving neighborhoods; a stadium was way down on his list of priorities.
“I'm less concerned about where the stadium may or may not be located, but the financing plan has to protect us as taxpayers.”
That does not preclude using public dollars from sources other than the city's general fund, or operating budget.
“I'm convinced that by working together, we'll be able to solve this issue, but I have a lot of priorities on my plate as the next mayor.”
Now he is the mayor, but hasn't yet become personally involved in the stadium issue, and with four relatively new members on the City Council, it would seem – so far – that little has changed.
“For attracting businesses and jobs and economic prosperity for San Diego, the city should be looking at ways to help them,” said Scott Sherman of Council District 7.
From February to May every year until 2020, the Chargers have a window of opportunity to break their lease with Qualcomm Stadium. An early out triggers a termination fee tied to the bonds that financed a stadium upgrade in 1998. In 2010, it was $56 million, the following year it was $25 million, and it keeps going down every year. On the plus side, the Chargers have secured a major financial partner, the economy is picking up and our political situation is stabilizing. The downside is the team wants about 60% of a billion-dollar stadium to come from public dollars. Any new stadium will probably require both the city and the county because it will go to the voters, and the Chargers believe a larger pool of voters offers the best chance of success.