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Stadium Thoughts and Musings... A meeting

As the NFL world turns, we in San Diego are preparing for a draft, hoping against hope that a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) is on the verge of being ironed out, and sitting on pins and needles waiting for any news about a stadium either in San Diego, or (gag reflex kicking in) in Los Angeles.

While I can't offer any solace on the 1st 2 fronts, what we can discuss is Monday's announcement in the San Diego Union-Tribune reported a meeting between San Diego Chargers Team President Dean Spanos, and San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders coming very, very soon.

The long and short of this meeting below the jump...

According to the article, meetings between the Chargers and the Mayor's office are few and far between. However, what's new in this meeting is the "elephant in the room" that is the proposed Farmer's Field. I can't help but think that this development may work in 1 of 2 ways:

  • It's the jump-start that the Chargers and the city need to get moving on the East Village stadium concept...
  • This is the beginning of the end, where the Mayor's Office tacitly admits that a deal cannot be done at this time.

Beyond that "elephant in the room," and assuming that progress can be made, I imagine that the meeting will center around the following items:

  • The Mayor would reasonably be expected to provide an update on the redevelopment issues going on between California's cities and Sacramento.
  • Dean Spanos would be expected to discuss the progress made (or not made) on the CBA, particularly as it relates to replenishing the NFL's G3 stadium-loan program.
  • There will probably also be discussion related to the existing lease at Qualcomm Stadium, especially as it refers to deferred maintenance issues and the remaining debt from the 1997 expansion.

If the 1st 2 sticking points are trending positive, we could see the outline of a ballot proposal for 2012. If these trend negative... let's not go there.

For some additional thoughts on this upcoming meeting, you can listen to Chargers' Special Counsel Mark Fabiani's interview with XX 1090's Darren Smith here, and read a transcript of Fabiani's online chat with here.

It's also worth noting how Fabiani finally said what was obvious to everyone who's been paying attention. He said:

If we're not on the street corner in late January 2012 then we're not going to make the November 2012 election, so that's the key date and of course prior to that, we've got to draft the ballot measure and run it by the city and the lawyers and everybody else. So if we're not doing that stuff at the end of the year 2011, we're not going to be on the ballot, so you're going to know well before November 2012 whether we're going to be on the ballot. You'll probably know in November 2011, you know, what? Just eight months from now.

Reading between the lines, that means that if a ballot measure is not ready at the end of this year, for November 2012, then you can expect to see the Chargers playing in the Rose Bowl, beginning in 2012 or 2013.

However, Fabiani suggested that if a ballot measure is passed in 2012, we could expect to see the following timeline as it relates to when a new football stadium in San Diego would be ready for use...

Earliest: 2012 vote in November; two years of EIR, design, and litigation, which takes us to the start of 2015. And then 32 months of construction. So that would put us at the 2018 season.

Either way, it's readily apparent that this meeting has acquired an urgency that has not been present before. Thus (for those of us who want the Chargers to stay in San Diego), more than ever is riding on this meeting going well.