The announcement of a City and County partnership broke on Thursday, and was the most–welcomed development San Diego has had in its quest to get a new stadium built.
That afternoon, the City and County held a press conference outside the County Administration Building to formally announce the partnership. Here's a brief rundown of what the partnership will initially entail.
The agreement is drafted as a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) between the City and County.
- The City and the County have agreed to share costs on attorneys and financial consultants, who will be retained to consult with the Citizens' Stadium Advisory Group (CSAG) during their work on the financing plan, and then once negotiations with the Chargers commence.
- Both the City and County will contribute up to $250,000 for these attorneys and consultants.
- Both the San Diego City Council and the County Board of Supervisors are required to approve the MOU via vote, which is currently scheduled to take place in April.
Mayor Kevin Faulconer had this to say about the hiring of consultants:
"These expert consultants will assist us in developing possible stadium financing options, advise us on related developments and legal matters, and improvement in financial issues."
This agreement is the precursor to an expected financial agreement between the City and the County to jointly finance the public cost of a new stadium, which his expected to be at least $700-800 million dollars. Such an agreement would likely entail the City and County forming a Joint Powers Authority, which would then have legal authority to issue bonds for construction.
County Supervisor Ron Roberts added this statement:
"We have to have a positive result, but we also want to have a fair result. We want something that the residents of our communities will feel comfortable and have some pride in."
CSAG Chairman Adam Day had this to say about the agreement:
#CSAG's Day: "The Citizens' Stadium Advisory Group is very pleased and fully supportive of this development."— Anthony G. Manolatos (@tonymanolatos) March 26, 2015
Chargers' Special Counsel Mark Fabiani responded positively to the announcement, via email:
"We welcome the involvement of the City Attorney and the County and look forward to working with the law and investment banking firms that the City Attorney will hire."
Most importantly, City Attorney Jan Goldsmith revealed that the agreement between the City and the County would ideally result in a Countywide Vote to approve the stadium. In this statement from Goldmsith's office, the path to a stadium is outlined thusly:
- Formalize the City-County partnership. Possibly form a Joint Powers Authority as part of financing and implementation.
- Bring on board advisers with NFL stadium expertise.
- Seek legislative relief from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), either via state legislation or voter initiative (Goldsmith notes this was the route taken in Inglewood and Carson).
- Conduct Negotiations.
- Secure Approvals. Goldmsith mentions both the City Council and County Board of Supervisors, as well as county voters. Again, it should be mentioned that Goldsmith cites the simplicity of the initiative process to bypass both CEQA and a public vote.
The path forward is clear.
In the next few weeks, we should have votes to formalize this agreement. We should also have the announcements of who the City and County will hire to assist with negotiations. Meanwhile, CSAG will be meeting with NFL VP Eric Grubman, then the release of CSAG's financing plan.
Hopefully, the City and the County working together can execute the plan.