‘Soft’ deadline for stadium likely to pass without deal

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SAN DIEGO — What city officials describe as Friday’s “soft deadline” to reach an agreement with the Chargers on a stadium plan so that a public vote can be conducted in January is likely to pass without a deal, according to both sides.

This is considered to be the last day San Diego and the Chargers can forge an agreement in time to have the City Attorney’s Office draft a ballot measure and get it approved by the City Council in time to hold a special election.

“It’s not the end all be all,” said Jason Roe, Political Advisor for San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer.  “It certainly makes it harder to get it done on the compressed timetable that the chargers demanded of us.”

Roe said the failed deal only means the public vote is now moved to the June 2016 election, but the deal can be saved if the Chargers rushed in with an 11th hour proposal.

Charger Counsel Mark Fabiani said that’s unlikely.

“There’s nothing more to do as long as the city insists on relying on that environmental impact report,” said Fabiani.

The Chargers ended stadium negotiations in June after objecting to the city’s expedited timeline, which produced an environmental impact report much faster than usual. Team special counsel Mark Fabiani contended the study would not pass legal muster and, in an email to City News Service Thursday, said his opinion hadn’t changed.

“Unfortunately the quickie EIR is not like a fine wine; it doesn’t get better with age,” Fabiani said.

“On the contrary, the more time you spend with the EIR, the worse it looks,” he said. “So our position remains the same as it has been since mid- June — the city has made a fateful mistake by basing its entire offer to the team and the NFL on a quickie EIR that is fatally flawed and that will almost certainly be thrown out by the courts after several years of litigation.”

Mayor Kevin Faulconer, county Supervisor Ron Roberts and City Attorney Jan Goldsmith created the hastened timeline because the league is poised to make decisions about relocating a team to the Los Angeles area as early as this fall, and probably no later than January. They’ve said the quick EIR is valid because a project would simply replace existing Qualcomm Stadium, so the impacts are already known.

Despite the stadium debate, the Chargers are scoring big with Fans this year.

“Over 11,500 new seasons tickets sales this year,” said Ken Derrett, Senior Vice President Chief Marketing Officer for the Chargers.   “I think people are excited about what they’re hearing and seeing about the team and they want to be there.”

Derrett said it had little to do with whether or not the team was moving to L.A.

“Our season tickets increases have been going on for the last few years, ” said Derrett.  “46,000 in 2013 and then we grew up to 50,000 last year and now we’re at 56,000.  I think we’ve seen some momentum over the last couple of year, not in the last 6 months.

Charger fans agree, Richard Torrez said it’s not about a new stadium, but the game.

“If they decide to stay that’s going to be great, if they decide to go at least I got to see them before they left.”

The Chargers have been wanting a new stadium for nearly 15 years and have acquired land in Carson, an L.A. suburb, to build their own stadium — possibly in concert with the Oakland Raiders — in case they can’t make a deal in San Diego.

St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke, meanwhile, is planning to build a stadium in Inglewood, another Los Angeles County city. NFL owners will have to decide if all, some or none of the teams will be allowed to move into the potentially lucrative Los Angeles market, which has been without a franchise for more than 20 years.