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The Citizens' Stadium Advisory Group Goes on Offense

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Following the NFL Owner's meetings last week, Citizens' Stadium Advisory Group Spokesperson Tony Manolatos gave an interview with Mighty 1090's Scott and BR Show and provided an update.

This will not be the Chargers' new home, if CSAG has anything to say about it.
This will not be the Chargers' new home, if CSAG has anything to say about it.

As we've discussed these last few weeks, ever since the Citizens' Stadium Advisory Group (CSAG) selected Mission Valley as the site of a new stadium, there has been a barrage of pushback on multiple fronts, mostly centering on the Chargers' preference for downtown and putting down the Mission Valley site.

In an interview on KPBS, Chargers' Special Counsel Mark Fabiani intimated the site was no longer suitable for a new stadium and accompanying development. In the UT San Diego, we've seen an opinion article by Nick Canepa knocking the Mission Valley site, an opinion article by Don McSwain suggesting downtown wasn't dead yet, and another column by Logan Jenkins this weekend suggesting a renovation of Qualcomm Stadium, and calling CSAG "political cover."

On Friday, CSAG spokesman Anthony (Tony) Manolatos gave an interview on Mighty 1090's Scott and BR Show to discuss Fabiani's strategy, the negative press, what CSAG is currently doing, and what lies ahead.

Click to listen to the entire interview. Here are some interesting quotes:

On why CSAG went on the offensive (to counter Fabiani's narrative) in the past week:

"We had known for a while that Mark's goal was to create a divided and dysfunctional San Diego, that he could show to the NFL Owners and say 'see, we told you, we're not going to be able to get a deal done here in San Diego. You need to greenlight our move to L.A... CSAG's plan is all built around a massive development in Mission Valley that'll never get approved.' We decided to get in front of it."

On whether downtown is actually the Chargers' preferred site for a new stadium.

"No... that's part of Mark's strategy. Mark is not going to let off the gas. He's going to continue to try to create drama and divisiveness in San Diego, and one of the ways to do that is to say 'Oh... downtown was really our preference.' No downtown wasn't your preference. In fact, what you told CSAG in February was that you were agnostic, and you would be happy with a workable plan at either location."

On concerns that the Chargers will reject CSAG's forthcoming financing proposal for Mission Valley.

"They're going to criticize whatever we say, whatever we put out, whatever we do. But, I think it'll play out like this... the NFL owners are going to look at whatever we come up with and... we'll be working in conjunction with the team the Mayor has assembled, the financial advisors that they're bringing on. So, when we present this, it's not going to be half-baked, which is what Carson is."

On the narrative that San Diego has had 14 years to get something done and failed.

"That leaves out important context... Jerry Sanders was steering a ship that was on the brink of bankruptcy. He (Sanders) couldn't just set that aside and say 'I'm going to go and build a new stadium over here, we'll take care of this pension deficit another time.' What about the real estate bubble? This (San Diego) is a real estate town. It's too convenient to say we tried for 14 years, we couldn't get it done, and we're not going to be able to get it done now."

On the idea that there will be more to the Mission Valley site than just a stadium.

"Absolutely! There's the (San Diego) river park, there'll be some sort of development component, certainly not going to be a massive development. But it's not just going to be a stadium and a parking lot... It will rival what going on up in L.A. when you see those fancy drawings."

What's Next

Next week, CSAG will be having a teleconference meeting with NFL Vice President Eric Grubman, who is the League's point man on Los Angeles. A week following that teleconference, Grubman will meet with the financing members of CSAG in person.