“Chargers-Who’s Right-Who’s Wrong-How Bad is This Going to Be?”
The Cold War has now become a Heated Battle.
All the nice guy comments directed at each other over the last couple of weeks have ended. And so has the City-County support to help Dean Spanos build a new football stadium for the Chargers.
Since the January 12th meeting in Houston, the one where Spanos’ ideas of building a stadium Carson and relocating, got shot out of the water, both the owner and the mayor have spent time preaching ‘partnership’.
They would work together to find a solution to funding a new stadium, and finding the right location.
So much for the niceties. Those conversations have ended.
Within hours of the Chargers announcement they were joining forces with JMI, owned by John Moores, to seek out building a stadium downtown, and to finance it with an upgrade Tourism Tax on hotel rooms, the relationships between the NFL team and the NFL owner seem to have come to an end.
Kevin Faulconeer has gone public saying the 350M in monies offered by the City-County coaliton is off the table. That money will not be available for any stadium package downtown.
Remember just weeks ago when Dean Spanos said he was willing ‘to do whatever it takes’ to get a Stadium built. What it takes evidentally is more money from you.
County Supervisor Ron Roberts, wearing his emotions on his sleeve, revealed that Spanos asked the city-county group to throw 200M more into the pot in Mission Valley, which would have lowered the contribution the owner would have had to make.
And despite theories about the public vote next November, anybody who has their mail sent to City Hall, is of the opinion it would take a next to impossible 66% vote to get the JMI package approved. They say it is the law, and the law is not going to bend over for anyone, including the NFL.
No one seems to have a firm grasp on how the Spanos-JMI team is going to get the post-stamp parcels of land they need, adjoining the MTS sight, for construction of the hybrid-Stadium-Convention Center Annex.
No one on that street corner has descirbed how they can fast forward the cleanup of the MTS sights with its toxic issues, in a short time span. No one has yet proposed where the MTS facilities be relocated too, for it’s not like just parking buses in an open field.
Now there are hidden storylines to pay attention to though. In building Petco Park, JMI, the John Moores-Larry Lucchino team, bought up empty property before ever getting into the war with the obstructionists to get Petco built. Might those land purchases have already occurred, and we don’t know about them yet?
Might there be a land-swap coming, JMI property for the MTS properties as part of all this dealing? Never say never.
What is to be gained by the Mayor turning his back on the Chargers now? It has to be bitterness over a wasted 14-months of efforts by civic leaders in putting the Mission Valley proposal together?
Maybe now Faulconer and Roberts stand on the side, and wait to see if the Spanos-JMI deal falters. They can always bring their money idea back on the table, after they say to Spanos “I told you so”.
Fred Maas has so much experience moving around obstacles, bet your mortgage that he has already laid the groundwork to creatively find a way to make this work out. He just hasn’t told us the game plan yet.
But you have to be concerned. Look out your window, see the opposition lining up on the street corner; the Convention Center Board, the Hotel Association, Comic-con, and the Padres are apparently lining against using land at Tailgate Park.
The wildcard in all this though is the community history of saying ‘no’ to tax money for projects, from a stadium, to firefighters. Add to that the ill-will reputation that still exists between all the things Spanos has done, since taking over control of the franchise from his father, most of them having a negative impact on his once sterling reputation.
This looks like only the beginning of another fight. The future of the NFL franchise hangs in the balance on one street corner. The reputation of the mayor heading towards re-election is on the street corner. There will probably be some fatalities before this is decided.
And isn’t it odd, the man who saved Padres baseball, John Moores, may be the man to save the Chargers franchise too. But there will be some bloodshed for sure.
We’re not done with this for sure, for the Cold War has now become a Heated Battle, again.