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Chargers question independence of stadium task force

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SAN DIEGO — San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and his political consultant Tuesday blasted the Chargers’ point-man in the team’s stadium search, accusing him of “continuing to undermine” the work of a task force formed to find a site and financing plan for a new football facility.

In a letter to team president Dean Spanos, Faulconer wrote that he was disappointed with “the ongoing actions and demeanor” of Mark Fabiani, who has led the Chargers’ lengthy search for a new place to play.

“His divisive tone and criticism of this group of volunteers, civic leaders and the city of San Diego as a whole are not conducive to developing a plan for a new stadium,” Faulconer wrote. “I hope his behavior is not indicative of our ability to find a solution.”

Faulconer said San Diegans deserved better than “this type of discourse.”

The message was in response to a letter Fabiani sent to Faulconer earlier in the day questioning the independence of the task force. He wanted to know why political consultant Jason Roe was allowed to attend Monday’s meeting between the advisory group and Fabiani.

In his response, Roe also blasted Fabiani.

“In 14 years of failure, Mark Fabiani has done nothing but make excuses, lay blame and pick fights,” Roe said.

“The mayor’s advisory committee is just that — the mayor’s advisory committee — and Mark doesn’t get to dictate how the mayor organizes his advisory group,” Roe said.

“Rather than work constructively with the committee to find solutions, Mark’s back to his normal routine of picking fights to avoid progress.”

Roe said ex-quarterback Ryan Leaf, an infamous NFL draft bust, is “no longer the worst personnel decision in Chargers history.”

Fabiani said Faulconer’s letter “fails to answer even a single one of the questions we asked.”

Faulconer has been critical of the task force idea since it was announced by Faulconer at his “State of the City” address last month.

The nine-member panel is made up of experts in major construction projects, real estate and finance but doesn’t include representatives of stakeholders like the Chargers, San Diego State University, Holiday and Poinsettia bowl organizers, tourism officials, the city, county, or port of San Diego.

Faulconer proclaimed the group to be an independent advisory body. However, in his letter, Fabiani said proclamations of independence for the group “are hard to square with the actual facts.”

Besides asking about Roe, he also questioned Faulconer as to why his chief of staff and another aide attended the beginning of Monday’s meeting; whether private donations to fund the task force would be disclosed; and who retained spokesman Tony Manolatos, and whether he should he work for the group considering he previously represented the port and made negative comments about the Chargers.

“As we made clear to task force members during our meeting on Feb. 16, we are grateful that they have volunteered their time and effort to attempt to solve this long-running civic issue, and we are committed to participating if the genuine goal of this process is to find a truly workable solution,” Fabiani wrote.

Fabiani said anything short of that would be viewed as “a process that is designed simply to provide political cover.”

Manolatos told City News Service that the task force has a short deadline — the mayor wants its recommendations this fall — and needs all the support it can get.

“There are distractions,” Manolatos said. “It’s unfortunate (Fabiani’s) out trying to distract folks rather than work with the task force to find a solution.”

Manolatos said he understands the team’s frustration, based on well over a decade of trying to get a new stadium, and said he was retained by the task force at its first meeting.

Roe attended Monday’s meeting because public financing is likely to end up on the ballot, and he would run the campaign, Manolatos said.

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2 comments

  • Michael Eck

    Ridiculous. The city can’t figure out more important issues like cost of living, streets, water, pensions, ridiculous zoning regulations that deter green energy – but – want a billion dollar stadium. Sad how realistic priorities are pushed aside for an embellishment.

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