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Countdown to January 1st 2007!

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by csfoster, Dec 1, 2006.

  1. csfoster
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    csfoster BoltTalker

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    The Chargers' Stadium Push

    The issue isn't new but a major deadline is fast approaching.


    BY: ANDREW DONOHUE
    Voice of San Diego
    http://www.voiceofsandiego.org/hot_topic/chargers/

    The San Diego Chargers want a new stadium and they've been working for four years to get one.

    Beginning Jan. 1, 2007, that stadium search changes drastically. That's when cities and groups from outside San Diego County can begin courting the team. By the terms of their contract with the city of San Diego, the Chargers can officially split town as soon as Jan. 1, 2008 if they find an enticing suitor.

    But a number of cities and entities in San Diego are working to keep them here.

    Currently, budding stadium ideas in the South Bay cities of Chula Vista and National City have advanced the furthest and appear the most credible. The city and county of San Diego have talked about forming a joint stadium authority to deal with the team's demands, but that idea has yet to take off. A golf course site in Oceanside has also been discussed informally, although politicians there have offered little public support for such an idea.

    So how did it come to this? A 1995 deal between the Chargers and the city of San Diego under former Mayor Susan Golding was supposed to keep the team in town until 2020. Qualcomm Stadium was given a $78 million upgrade, but an opt-out known as the "trigger" clause allowed the team to get out of the stadium contract in certain years if its revenues fell below a certain level.

    The threat of that "trigger" clause and the team's stadium demands spurred former San Diego Mayor Dick Murphy to convene a task force in 2002. In early 2003, the team put together a $400 million stadium and mixed-use development proposal for the existing site at Qualcomm in Mission Valley. The proposal asked for $200 million of public funds -- which would have come from a city-sponsored redevelopment of the site -- and didn't gain much traction.

    The team later triggered the opt-out clause in March 2003, which eventually led to a renegotiated contract. The new lease did away with a clause known as the "ticket guarantee" in which the city purchased any unsold tickets to Chargers home games. It allowed the team to leave town in 2008, but was advertised on the idea that voters would have the opportunity to vote on a stadium package in San Diego in 2006 before the team could relocate.

    That vote never came about, as the team said in early 2006 that the city of San Diego's financial troubles, political strife and worries about the housing market killed a development package that called for the stadium to be privately financed, with the help of 60 acres of public land.

    With the proposal dead, the San Diego City Council voted in May to amend its contract with the team and allow the Chargers to negotiate with other cities inside San Diego County, giving local parties a head-start on other suitors. Los Angeles, Anaheim, Las Vegas and San Antonio have been named as possible interested parties.

    ----------------------------------------------

    A rather succinct and as far as it goes accurate if only slightly out of date assessment of how, why, and where we stand today on the issue of keeping the Chargers the San Diego Chargers.

    Certainly, better than the UT has offered todate as the "all bets are off" countdown toward January 1st, 2007 grows louder day by day. But of course, left out is any mention of the City of San Diego's obvious lack of political leadership and it's complete lack of a good faith effort made to even discuss the possibility of keeping this team as well as the understatement of the team's final proposal which would not have required the substantive expenditure of public funds or new public debt to be incurred by our fiscally-challenged city but rather only the exchange of and development rights to 60 acres of vacant under-utilized public land at the existing stadium site.

    At this point, all we are left with is dependence on the continued good faith of the Chargers to continue to seek to remain in San Diego despite the likely new stadium deals by outside cities soon to be put on the table. And the hope that National City and Chula Vista, unlike America's Finest Circus, will exercise great political leadership, make a serious good faith effort, and develop a feasible fiscally acceptable proposal to retain the Chargers as a San Diego regional asset in the best interest of the region as a whole.

    Better than nothing but not exactly a position of strength for the great many fans throughout the San Diego region whose quality of life and priceless shared sense of community will be negatively impacted and lost if the Chargers end up leaving.

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