First, the news:
The construction of a riverfront football stadium does not need voter approval in the city before using city tax dollars, a judge ruled on Monday.
St. Louis Circuit Court Judge Thomas Frawley declared invalid the city ordinance requiring a public vote. Moreover, Frawley ruled, the placement of the new stadium, along the riverfront just north of downtown, does not break a state law requiring the building to be "adjacent" to the convention center — it is close enough, he wrote.
Now, let's see how this affects the San Diego Chargers and their efforts to get a new stadium in Los Angeles or San Diego.
First, it's important to note that this judge's ruling was on a St. Louis city ordinance, so it's not as though he or any other judge could come in a rule something similar in San Diego. Let's get that out of the way.
However, where this helps San Diego is two-fold....
No more rushed timeline
Mark Fabiani and the Chargers have stated, repeatedly, that the only reason they're pushing Carson so hard and unwilling to work on the Mayor's timeline is because they're in a race with Rams' owner Stan Kroenke to Los Angeles.
If Kroenke and the Rams are getting public money to build in St. Louis, and the city is willing to go through with a plan that doesn't include an incredible financial addition from Kroenke, NFL bylaws state that Kroenke can not move the team. If Kroenke isn't moving the Rams to Los Angeles, the City of San Diego and the Chargers can take their time building a stadium together without having to worry about another team beating them to L.A.
The argument that I hope the Chargers aren't dumb enough to make here? "Well, we still have to beat the Raiders to Los Angeles!" The Raiders are even worse off than the Chargers are, financially, and they own significantly less of the Carson stadium project. Neither the Raiders or Chargers are a threat to one another if they're the only two times vying for L.A. They're partners or nothing.
A closer look at Carson
You won't hear this from the Chargers, but that Carson stadium plan is flimsy. Very flimsy.
Both the Chargers and the Raiders need to contribute financially, they would be building on a former landfill (that they're already getting sued over), and it would create the worst traffic nightmare in the country (take a look at where the backup in traffic into their parking lot would go sometime).
It's a mirage. It's a threat. What San Diego has actually been afraid of this whole time is the Chargers moving in as a tenant in Inglewood, which is a site that is owned by Kroenke and likely doesn't have a stadium built on it unless that stadium houses Kroenke's Rams.
Having all of the attention focused on Carson, with no impending loss of the L.A. market to another team, will make the Chargers much more willing to return to the negotiating table with the City of San Diego. At least, it should.