City and county officials remained hopeful that a future public vote could be held regarding a new stadium for the San Diego Chargers, after the passing of the Sept. 11 deadline for preparing a Jan. 12 special election.
“While it’s no surprise that the Chargers have allowed today’s deadline to pass for a January 12 special election, San Diego can still hold a public vote on a new stadium during the normal election cycle in June or November (2016) – if Chargers ownership is willing to work in good faith with their hometown,” Mayor Kevin Faulconer said in a statement.
The Chargers have refused to return to negotiations on a local stadium plan, even as the city and county proceed with environmental impact reviews and other preparations for a potential new stadium on the Mission Valley site of the current Qualcomm Stadium. Any local financing plan would be placed before voters, but officials have said that no public vote is planned if the Chargers are not on board.
Chargers’ representatives have maintained that a recent fast-tracking of environmental impact reviews will not hold up to potential future legal challenges, related to requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act. The team is currently pursuing a new stadium project in Carson, where it could potentially partner with the Oakland Raiders.
Responding to the mayor’s Sept. 11 statement, Chargers special counsel Mark Fabiani said the team made clear in mid-June that it would not go along with the city’s proposed “quickie environmental impact report,” and nothing in the team’s stance has changed since then.
“Unfortunately, the quickie EIR is not like a fine wine; it does not get better with age,” Fabiani said in an email. “The quickie EIR is more like curdled milk, which looks worse the longer it sits around.”
Fabiani said the allegation that the team didn’t negotiate “is made by politicians looking to cover their own backsides,” adding that the Chargers “have been working for 14 years to find a solution in San Diego.”
Faulconer said city and county leaders “remain ready to negotiate a fair stadium agreement.”
“We have the regional political cooperation, fair financial framework and full environmental review necessary to build a new sports and entertainment complex that can be used by the Chargers and for future Super Bowls,” the mayor said.
The latest proposed framework put forward by government leaders calls for the city and county to contribute $350 million of the expected $1.1 billion cost to build a new stadium. The Chargers would contribute $362.5 million, with the NFL putting in $200 million and another $187.5 million coming from the sale of personal seat licenses.
The NFL has not yet finalized its Los Angeles expansion plans, including decisions on which teams can relocate and when.