The Chargers-vs-The Stadium Task Force. Is that the way the out-of-town scoreboard reads, based on what happened on Monday in San Diego?
The first scheduled meeting between Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s 9-member committee and Chargers executive Mark Fabiani began with a lecture, or maybe it was a corporate NFL statement.
The Chargers released to the media and the fans what they felt about the failed history of 14-years of efforts, 15M in money spent, and 7-different mayors. Fabiani told the Task Force not to waste their time with a stadium study, unless they could avoid all the pitfalls and potholes, the last two study groups had fallen into under previous mayors.
Sure there is bad history and a rocky road travelled with all the City Hall obstructionists in years gone by. But those years were marred by a near state bankruptcy, a broken economic pension plan in San Diego, and lots of agendas by different factions.
There’s nothing wrong with informing this Task Force about what the Spanos Family feels about past failures, and what they feel going forward should be the parameters of a deal. Don’t be offended by Fabiani’s use of words like ‘real world’ stress tests, half-baked ideas. Accept it all as a challenge to go beyond what was done before.
Yes the Chargers have a right to issue the challenge, don’t present something you cannot get passed. But in the aftermath of the 6-page memo, Fabiani should understand the ‘real world stress test’ on the other street corner, the voters are not going to give a rich man the gift of a new Stadium.
Just like there is nothing wrong with someone standing up publically and reminding the Spanos of how ungrateful they seemed to be when the Stadium was upgraded with upper deck seats, and renovations to help lure a Super Bowl. And how part of the deal included a beautiful practice facility in Murphy Canyon. And one should be reminded too of past Chargers history, Alex Spanos saying he needed more, just three years after the last upgrade took place, or the nastiness of the fallout from the Ticket guarantee, where the Chargers were paid significant money while they put a crap product on the field.
So history has been revisited, and that’s okay. Because this is new leadership, a better economy, and the potential of a working consortium that might involve the City Council, the County Board of Supervisors, Team Spanos and the NFL Park Avenue headquarters.
No more mention of past mayors or city attorneys. No more words like obstructionists or agendas. No more attempts at Spanos power plays, where his mouthpiece presents a picture that the owner can block the NFL from coming into LA. Spanos and Fabiani haven’t gotten anything done in San Diego, so time to let someone with new ideas, and no bad history, take a run at the project.
The NFL is coming to LA whether the Chargers like it or not, and Dean Spanos doesn’t have the power to roadblock it. What he does have the power to do, is help will a way to find a mutually beneficial deal to keep his team in his adopted home town. San Diego’s leadership is trying hard now to create a plan to satisfy both.
The ownership of the team is trying to play a leverage game, but the truth is, this ownership does not want to pay the 400-million territorial fee the NFL wants for someone to move into LA, and the ownership group does not want to see a minority share of the team either, two ingredients that seem to be part of the LA-equation.
The only disturbing part of the Fabiani lecture was the insinuation Spanos cannot make a big financial contribution because he’s not going to use PSL-taxes on fans as a way to raise money. This from an owner that makes 20-to-30M profit per year. The Chargers say they get 25% of seasons ticket holders from LA-Orange-Inland Empire, but did not break down the specific percentages from the 3-county area. Maybe full disclosure would help in this case.
The other disappointment was that Spanos didn’t think it was important to be at the meeting, instead having his point man deliver the sermon. His words are he wants to stay; his actions find him nowhere on the front line willing to talk-listen-contribute. He would rather vacation than be at the table..
Time for the Task Force to look at all the blueprints the Spanos’ have paid for, at the Qualcomm sight, and in the East Village. Time to send the 9-member committee on the road to do their own due diligence. Time to get input from the Chargers about what they like and dislike about the two sights. Time to review how other cities got stadiums built and financed. Time too, to find financing in the city and county, and from Murphy Canyon and New York.
Mark Fabiani revisited history, now let it sit in the past, and get to work with people who believe they can find a way to get this done.
Time for cooperation-no more confrontation, and no more lectures nor history lessons either.