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The San Diego City Council Joins the Stadium Party

The San Diego City Council passes a resolution stating their commitment to keeping the Chargers in San Diego, and then actually take positive steps toward achieving that goal.

Qualcomm Stadium during a preseason game
Qualcomm Stadium during a preseason game
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The San Diego City Council passed a RESOLUTION!!!

WHEREAS I'm really not interested with the resolution passed by the City Council yesterday, as there's nothing binding about it and is therefore a largely symbolic gesture. Still, given where this process was just one week ago, this is certainly another promising sign.

Here's a snippet of the full resolution, which passed by an 8-0 vote.

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Mayor and Council of the City of San Diego, that San Diego remains fully committed to working with the Chargers to keep the team in their rightful home, San Diego.


Now, on to the important news.

Before the City Council adopted the resolution, Council members David Alvarez and Todd Gloria jointly issued a news release with attachments, indicating the City's Budget Committee was going to hold a stadium related discussion on March 18th. In this release, Alvarez and Gloria said the following:

"We are pleased to see the expedited schedule for the Mayor's task force... With the Budget Committee working on these issues concurrently (with the Stadium Group), the City will be best positioned to meet the accelerated timeline sought by the Chargers for real progress."

They also outlined four key financial issues the Budget Committee intended to review during the hearing:

  1. Clarity on the funding sources the Mayor will entertain for a new stadium and the possibility of a campaign to sell seat licenses by the Chargers.
  2. Cost of relocating and remediating the Metropolitan Transit System's (MTS) Bus Maintenance Facility - as it pertains to a potential stadium site downtown.
  3. Cost of constructing a replacement stadium in Mission Valley.
  4. Resolution of the Convention Center expansion.

Attached to the news release was a more detailed memo co-written by Alvarez and Gloria. Here's some of the relevant details from the memo:

  • The City Council wants to know, as soon as possible, what revenue sources the Mayor wishes to use, so that they can begin the process of making projections.
  • The possibility of the County of San Diego being involved in stadium financing, using revenue bonds (as proposed by this author last Friday), and the need to identify other local jurisdictions in similar conversations. As far as that goes, in an article published by the UT San Diego, Supervisor Ron Roberts suggested "that the county could front the public share of the project, projected at $1 billion or more, until surrounding development begins generating cash flow."
  • Determining whether or not the planned expansion of the San Diego Convention Center (SDCC) can be completed as currently planned, or if convention planners and hoteliers are willing to re-consider the possibility of a SDCC annex attached to a stadium, as proposed by the Chargers and JMI Realty.
  • Determining the cost of rehabilitating Qualcomm Stadium (if feasible), or re-examining the possibilities for redeveloping the Qualcomm site with a new stadium.

There was also a three page update from Paul Jablonski, CEO of MTS regarding the likelihood and timetable for moving the Bus Yard, in the event of a stadium being constructed downtown. In this case, the details were much more depressing. The most important section of the memo was this:

"Moving an operation of (the Bus Yard's) size is not a quick, easy, or inexpensive endeavor. if the MTS Board, the Chargers and the City were able to come to an agreement to relocate (the Bus Yard), the actual vacation of the property at 100 16th Street would take a considerable amount of time, anywhere from 5 to 7 years."


If this is accurate, this would seem to seriously hinder any possibility of a downtown stadium east of Petco Park by itself. For what it's worth, the Chargers believe this can be done much faster.

Other News

The Stadium Group met with officials from both San Diego County and San Diego State University earlier today. According to San Diego-based AP writer Bernie Wilson's Twitter account, nothing much was said other than the usual boilerplate stuff...

According to this article in the L.A. Times, the Chargers and Raiders have completed their ballot measure for their joint Carson Stadium proposal.

In Closing

The prospect of a multi-million relocation of the bus yard delaying construction of a new stadium could be a deal-breaker for a downtown stadium. When combined with the opposition of the SDCC Annex/Stadium proposal by other interests, it only reinforces my belief that the Qualcomm Site is the best current choice, because it's available, less expensive, and less likely to face political or legal battles.

However, the willingness of the City Council to dive headfirst into these stadium financial issues is both welcome and essential. As I've said previously, the Chargers likely need a decision before the end of 2016, which is underscored by the continuing progress on the Carson Stadium proposal.

Anything which expedites the study and planning process in San Diego makes the Chargers staying in San Diego more likely.