Local mayors support new Chargers stadium

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Encouraging news Thursday about a new stadium for the San Diego Chargers.

The city has always maintained the team is a regional asset, and other cities in the county have to get on board if the team is to stay in San Diego.

Support for keeping the team came Thursday from the mayors of National City, San Marcos, and El Cajon.

The subject of a new stadium came up at the Mayoral Forum sponsored by the County Taxpayers Association.

This is not just a City of San Diego question. A majority of Chargers fans are from outside the city so why should the city be solely responsible for keeping the team in San Diego.

“We have to do everything we can to support the concept of keeping a pro-team in San Diego, and for God’s sake not letting it go to Los Angeles,” said Mayor Bill of El Cajon.

That means mayors like Bill Wells of El Cajon have to step up and be counted.

“If the county is going to be involved in this, and if you’re gonna come and ask people in the East County specifically, to help fund this through a bond or some kind of tax situation, I think people will be open to that as long as it comes across as something that’s fair,” said Mayor Wells.

National City Mayor, Ron Morrison, says San Diego cannot be a first class region without a first class sports team.

His city, and four others put in cash for constructing the original convention center with a promise from The Port they could get their money back by building hotels.

But with the cash in hand, The Port reversed itself.

“Guess what you don’t get to build hotels. I say from that fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me,” said Mayor Morrison.

This time around Morrison will join the effort, but he wants assurances.

“If we’re going to do this regional sharing of funding, there’s going to be a regional sharing of revenues. That comes with development and everything else around it,” he said.

Support also came from Mayor Jim Desmond of San Marcos who said shared cost means shared benefits.

“It’s gotta be an iron clad financing program as everybody said. The taxpayers usually, you know, we endure the blackouts, we endure, you know, if there’s any problem or issue. It’s usually the taxpayer that ends up holding the bill while club owners are on yachts in the Caribbean,” said Mayor Jim Desmond.

A little leary, sprinkled with a bit of levity, but he is in.

“I left my wallet at home. It was a smart move before I came down here to San Diego. I knew it was gonna get picked one way or the other,” he said.

While the burden no longer falls disproportionately on San Diego, Mayor Kevin Faulconer is assuming the responsibility to move this forward.

“It has to be a financing plan that makes sense, that protects taxpayers, and that has public support,” said Mayor Faulconer.

All the mayors agree that the financing plan is key.

“We’re starting these discussions and hoping we have a public process, and vetting process. If it’s a plan that makes sense and protects taxpayers you’ll see public support, if it’s not, you won’t,” said Faulconer.

This forum with other mayors in the county was the first opportunity to get their collective views on a new Chargers stadium. Only three, but a promising start.

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