Fabiani Says Chargers Not Optimistic About Mission Valley
Monday, March 16, 2015
Aired 3/16/15 on KPBS Midday Edition.
Mark Fabiani, special counsel, San Diego Chargers
Aired 3/17/15 on KPBS News.
A San Diego Chargers spokesman said the team doesn't think a task force’s site selection for a new stadium will be successful and is prepared to pursue a Los Angeles-area stadium plan on its own.
A San Diego Chargers spokesman said the team isn’t optimistic a task force’s site selection for a new stadium will be successful and is prepared to pursue a Los Angeles-area stadium plan on its own.
Mayor Kevin Faulconer's Citizens’ Stadium Advisory Group picked Mission Valley last week as the location for a new facility, but Chargers special counsel Mark Fabiani said the team gave up on that site years ago.
“We’re hoping that we missed something that the task force is going to figure out what we missed and that they’ll come up with something,” he told KPBS Midday Edition on Monday. “But I can't sit here today and honestly tell you that I have a plan or that we have a plan that would work for that site, we don’t. Although we looked at it for many, many years."
Fabiani said putting the plan before voters by next year, as Faulconer has promised, could push construction on a new stadium back to 2020. And if the task force suggests using new development around the stadium to help cover the costs, entitlements for that would delay the project even further, he said.
"There are all kind of issues that the task force is going to be wrestling with, and if they come up with a proposal, we’ll give it a serious look,” he said.
Chargers President Dean Spanos sang a similar tune on Monday in an interview with U-T San Diego's Kevin Acee:
"I’m anxiously awaiting what the mayor and the task force come up with,” Spanos said at least four times during a 40-minute conversation Monday morning in the conference room adjacent to his Chargers Park office.
That was the only answer he would give to the question of whether he will be surprised if the task force presents a financing plan the team deems acceptable and also whether he is skeptical about that possibility, as many sources have indicated is the case.
On KPBS Midday Edition, Fabiani said for the Chargers to seriously consider the task force’s funding plan, which is expected in May, it must include a reasonable cost estimate, move quickly and be able to win voter approval.
“If it’s a plan that’s just thrown out there to provide political cover for elected officials so that people can say, ‘Hey, we tried’ then we probably wouldn’t wait around to watch the thing go down in defeat in 2016,” he said.
Fabiani said time is a factor because the team feels pressured by another NFL team’s plans to move into the Los Angeles market, where the Chargers get 25 percent of their business. In response, the Chargers are moving forward on a proposal for a joint L.A-area stadium with the Raiders.
The same day the task force announced it selected Mission Valley, the Chargers were busy collecting signatures to get the Carson City Council’s support to move forward with the plan.
When asked if the proposal was a bluff, Fabiani laughed.
"Now, we’re buying the land, that’s buying 168 acres of land. We’re spending a lot of money gathering signatures. Once the signatures are gathered, they’re going to be certified by the county and then they’ll be put before the Carson City Council,” he said.
The $1.7 billion joint stadium calls for hundreds of millions of dollars in personal seat license sales, which would eliminate the need of a public subsidy. If the Raiders are able to find a suitable solution in Oakland, Fabiani said the Chargers have done the research and believes they can successfully move forward on the plan on their own.
"We’re absolutely convinced that it will work,” he said.
But despite the Carson proposal, Fabiani said the team is committed to finding a solution in San Diego.
“Recently, we’re trying to be realistic with people. We’re not trying to throw things out there just to make people feel better,” he said.
Fabiani said the team’s honesty has helped improve the chances of it staying in San Diego because the Chargers’ actions have sped up the work of the task force.
"From our point of view, it’s been an effective strategy,” he said.
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