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Last-minute deal may speed downtown Chargers stadium

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by BrecksOnlyBoltzFan, Oct 9, 2010.

  1. BrecksOnlyBoltzFan

    BrecksOnlyBoltzFan BoltTalker

    Jan 22, 2010
    Last-minute deal may speed downtown Chargers stadium - SignOnSanDiego.com

    Last-minute legislation tied to the state’s budget agreement Friday morning boosted the prospects for a new Chargers stadium in downtown San Diego — and the likelihood that any proposal could include hundreds of millions of dollars of public money.

    The arrangement, quietly advanced over the last week by Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, R-San Diego, with the blessing of Mayor Jerry Sanders and the knowledge of the team, eliminates a $2.9 billion cap on downtown redevelopment from 1992.

    Consequently, the city’s redevelopment planners can halt a $500,000, 18-month study to lift the cap and clear the way for a potential construction boom beyond the stadium. They also will not need the approval from the county, two state government departments and three other government bodies.

    The Chargers have been considering a 10-acre site east of Petco Park for about a year, saying a stadium could cost $800 million, including a $500 million public subsidy. Team officials said in December that a new stadium would almost certainly involve taxpayer money, after almost seven years of saying it wouldn’t. They previously considered redeveloping Qualcomm Stadium and other sites in Chula Vista, Oceanside and Escondido.

    The secret way that this process was sidestepped angered some elected officials at both the city and state level, but others said job creation in San Diego should trump procedural concerns.

    In Los Angeles on business, Fred Maas, chairman of the Centre City Development Corp., which oversees downtown redevelopment, said the state’s action will “accelerate the process” for considering a stadium by eliminating a beastly spending cap.

    “First I’m going to get back to San Diego, probably light up a cigar and next week we’ll get together (with the Chargers),” he said. “They’re in the midst of a season and have a lot of things on their plate. They’ve been unbelievably patient and I think we’ll now begin a dialogue without an 800-pound gorilla in the room.”

    Attorney Mark Fabiani, who has spearheaded the Chargers stadium search since 2002, said by e-mail that he was traveling and declined comment at this time.

    Sanders had targeted 2012 for a public vote on a stadium deal. He said Friday the timetable still stands, but whether a vote is required or even binding would depend on the deal with the team.

    Sanders sounded less equivocal in a Friday interview than he ever has when asked about public money and a stadium.

    “We’ve always said there could be no general fund money used for that,” Sanders said of the stadium. “Redevelopment dollars, as long as it’s used in a development area, that’s legitimate.”

    He said he lobbied four San Diego legislators personally for the legislative change after Fletcher contacted his office with the idea a week ago.

    He added: “We’re excited about the opportunity to put people back to work downtown and create jobs. The stadium’s not something we’re talking about at the moment.”

    Councilman Carl DeMaio, on the other hand, criticized the “11th-hour, unilateral action by the state.” DeMaio, whose opposition to Proposition D, San Diego’s sales tax increase, has made him one of Sanders’ main rivals, said the state’s action also has “a major impact on the city’s general fund. Had the cap not been increased, money would have gone back into the general fund — for basic services like police, fire and roads.”

    Lifting the cap still requires Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s signature on Senate Bill 863, something that seems likely after he and Fletcher stood close to one another at a budget news conference Friday.

    “I don’t know why we would wait one day to create jobs if we had the opportunity, much less 18 months,” said Fletcher, rumored to be mulling a 2012 mayoral run. “People need the jobs now and when you have the opportunity to do the right thing for the city of San Diego, I don’t think you should wait one day.”

    The stadium, which was not mentioned explicitly in the legislation, has not been designed and it could take several years before construction could start, officials said. Completion is unlikely before 2015.

    Assemblyman Chuck DeVore , R-Irvine, who voted against the bill, criticized it in his Twitter feed late Thursday night, calling it a “last-minute budget bill allowing scandal-plagued Centre City Redev. in San Diego to use public money for NFL.” He was apparently referring to former CCDC President Nancy Graham, who has since been fined for violating state disclosure laws.

    Assemblywoman Lori Saldana, D-San Diego, also opposed the deal and decided not to vote on it. In an interview, she said, “At a time when we are cutting from so many of our safety net programs, things that are taking away from any general fund revenues are very tough for me to justify.”

    The lone member of the local delegation to vote against the measure was Assemblyman Joel Anderson, R-La Mesa. His office did not grant an interview request or explain his vote.

    The city has spent about $100,000 on the cap study, which would have determined if enough blight remains downtown to justify spending additional redevelopment dollars in the area, generally east of the Gaslamp Quarter and central business district.

    Gary Smith, president of the Downtown San Diego Residents Group, said there is $6 billion of needed downtown improvements, excluding the stadium or other ideas suggested over the years, from an opera house to undergrounding the railroad tracks.

    “If the money’s there, everything goes away except arguing what is at the top of the list,” Smith said. “We’d like to get our parks built.”

    CCDC’s Maas said much needs to be discussed now.

    “We have the opportunity to do more planning and be more thoughtful and this has eliminated a whole level of potential risk,” said Maas, who also is acting as CCDC’s president until a permanent executive is hired. “It doesn’t mean tomorrow we’re going to order 3,000 cranes.”

    Under the city’s process, Maas had met with people from the county, the San Diego County Office of Education, the San Diego Unified School District and the San Diego Community College District to persuade them to accept smaller shares of downtown property tax revenue on the belief the stadium would lead to a construction boom and generate more property taxes downtown.

    The Legislature’s action makes those meetings unnecessary, although Sanders said he was still interested in holding them.

    Most affected is the county, the largest of the tax-sharing entities. County Supervisors Ron Roberts and Dianne Jacob began meeting with Sanders months ago to discuss lifting the cap.

    Their reactions Friday were quite different.

    In a statement, Jacob said: “As optimistic as I am about the potential for a new Chargers stadium downtown, I regret that the process may now be compromised by the appearance of last-minute dealing in Sacramento.”

    Roberts’ statement said: “While this news was a surprise, Mayor Sanders has provided his assurances that the process still requires the city and county to negotiate an agreement that protects the county’s interests.”

    matthew.hall@uniontrib.com • (619) 293-1335 • Twitter @SDuncovered •

    Roger Showley, (619) 293-1286, roger.showley@uniontrib.com, Twitter: @rmshowley;
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  2. DenverBolt67

    DenverBolt67 BoltTalker

    Jan 24, 2010
    This would be great for San Diego!!!!! Hopefully it happens
  3. Trumpet_Man

    Trumpet_Man Well-Known Member

    Feb 14, 2006
    The County of San Diego has needed to be involved for this to work. The County of San Diego is also in the black surprisingly to many people considering the economy.

    Construction loans have come to a grinding halt. Financing still needs to happen despite lifting the spending cap for the redevelopment zone.

    Maybe the Indian Nation will step forward or the Port Authoriity ?

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