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The San Diego Stadium Group Gets Moving

Following Mayor Kevin Faulconer's announcement of a Stadium Task Force in mid-January, the Chargers were non-plussed. Now that the group has been announced, is there anything to get excited about?

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

As promised, Mayor Falconer announced the members of the San Diego Citizen's Advisory Stadium Group (hereafter Stadium Group) on January 31st. The Stadium Group's purpose is to determine whether a new stadium should be located in downtown San Diego, or in Mission Valley, and to come up with a plausible financing plan by Fall (i..e end of September) 2015.

Team Members:

  • Douglas Barnhart - Barnhart is the former CEO of Barnhart - Reese Construction Inc. He started out as a Navy Civil Engineer Corps Officer, until founding his company in 1983. Barnhart was part of the consortium which built Petco Park, and also provided some insights on the last Chargers Task Force.
  • Rod Dammmeyer - Currently serves as chairman of CAC, LLC, a capital investment advisory service. He also serves as a Director for both Quidel Corporation, and Stericycle, Inc.
  • Adam Day - Is a member of the Board of Trustees for California State University, as well as Assistant Tribal Manager for Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation. He previously served for 12 years on the San Diego County Planning Commission. He also served as Vice President and general Manager for NCG Porter Novelli, a leading marketing and public affairs firm. He was named the Chairperson of the Stadium Group on Friday, February 6th.
  • Walt Ekard - Ekard served for several years as the Chief Accounting Officer (CAO) for San Diego County. He later started his own consulting firm, and most recently served as interim CAO during the end of Bob Filner's Mayoral term, and through Gloria's interim Mayoral service.
  • Aimee Faucett - Faucett was the former Chief of Staff for Falconer when he was a City Councilman. She later became the Deputy Chief of Staff/Policy for former mayor Jerry Sanders, and later followed Sanders to the San Diego Chamber of Commerce.
  • Jason Hughes - Hughes is the co-founder of Hughes Marino, a company which specialized in Commercial Real Estate services.
  • Jessie Knight - Knight currently serves as Executive Vice President of External Affairs for Sempra Energy. He previously served as CEO of San Diego Gas & Electric from 2010-2013, and before that served as President and CEO of the San Diego Chamber of Commerce.
  • Mary Lydon - Lydon serves as Executive Director of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) for San Diego / Tijuana. ULI is a land use and real estate development organization which basically serves as the middleman between developers and government.
  • Jim Steeg - Steeg is a well-known former NFL executive who is widely credited with taking the Super Bowl from a simple NFL Championship Game and turning it into the spectacle we know today. He later served as Chief Operating Officer of the Chargers from November 2004 through April 2010. He also co-founded Steeg Sports Management and Media Consulting with his wife Jill in 2008.

If the goal is to figure out where to locate a new stadium, either in Downtown or Mission Valley, figure out how much it will cost, and figure out how to pay for it, then it seems the Mayor couldn't have done much better.

Questions and Problems

That said, the group is composed of quite a few of Faulconer's political friends, and cronies who have been on the San Diego business scene for a long time, and contributed a lot of money to get what they want from city politics. It's certainly possible the group could have benefitted also, from having a couple of lawyers on the group to anticipate potential legal hurdles, or to possibly include persons such as Cory Briggs - who lead the fight against the financing for the Convention Center expansion.

Additionally, the group initially planned to hold discussions which were not open to the public, which drew criticism from San Diego City Councilmembers David Alvarez and Todd Gloria for a lack of transparency.

In response, the Stadium Group announced their plan to hold a public forum to solicit questions and ideas from the public, as well as meet with the Chargers in the near future.