SAN DIEGO — A nine-member task force tasked with finding a location to build a new stadium for the Chargers, and coming up with a plan to pay for its construction, was publicly introduced Friday by San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer.
The civic, business and community leaders include former National Football League and Chargers executive Jim Steeg, former county Chief Administrative Officer and city Chief Operating Officer Walt Ekard, and San Diego Gas & Electric Chairman Jessie Knight.
He said the group will develop, by this fall, a “real, tangible plan for a new stadium” that can be put before voters in 2016.
“That’s never been done before,” Faulconer said. “Yes, we’ve had renderings. Yes, we’ve had ideas floated about how you can possibly, maybe, fund it, but those aren’t plans. A plan is when somebody tells you this is where it’s going to go, this is how we’re going to build it, and most importantly, this is how it’s going to be paid for.”
Faulconer first announced the formation of the task force at his “State of the City” address more than two weeks ago, and it was sharply denounced by the Chargers.
Mark Fabiani, the team’s point-man in the stadium search, said at the time that another task force was unnecessary and that the team didn’t want San Diego Convention Center Corp. Director Steve Cushman to be part of the group.
Cushman, who is leading the city’s effort to expand the convention facility, is not a task force member. The Chargers contend he scuttled an earlier idea to put a stadium on Port of San Diego property.
Fabiani released a more conciliatory statement today upon the introduction of the task force members.
“The Chargers have been working on stadium solutions in San Diego for the last 13 years, and we have already committed to continuing that work for a 14th year in 2015,” Fabiani said, via the Chargers website.
“We will be happy to share with the mayor’s new task force the nine different stadium proposals the Chargers have made over the years, as well as the ideas produced by another city-appointed task force and by two separate outside experts hired by the city during this period,” Fabiani said. “We will also be pleased to evaluate any other ideas generated by this latest task force.”
Officials with the city and Chargers have met since the “State of the City” address and Fabiani’s initial negative reaction, according to the mayor’s office.
Also on the task force are:
— Doug Barnhart, whose construction firm works on numerous major commercial projects;
— Rod Dammeyer, a private equity investor;
— Adam Day, a California State University trustee and assistant tribal manager of the Sycuan reservation;
— Aimee Fawcett, chief operating officer of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce;
— Jason Hughes, president and CEO of the Hughes Marino commercial real estate firm; and
— Mary Lydon, executive director of the Urban Land Institute-San Diego and Tijuana.
“I think the one thing that’s always been missing for the last decade is political will,” said Steeg, committee member. “If you get to the point where the mayor leads it, the city council gets behind it, the county commission gets behind and everybody’s involved and knows this is for the greater good of the community, I think that’s what’s going to take place.”
The committee will examine the current Qualcomm site in Mission Valley and a possible stadium combined with the convention center in the downtown area. Faulconer said the financing plan will have to reflect a “fair, good deal” that taxpayers can support at the ballot box.
“I’m optimistic about the committee,” said Chris Cate, San Diego City Councilman.
Cate said he’ll be keeping a close eye on how the stadium is funded.
“My personal preference is to make sure there aren’t any taxpayer dollars being used toward this,” said Cate.
Fox 5 also heard from other city council members. Both Mark Kersey and Scott Sherman commended the Mayor his commitment to a new stadium and the selection of the committee. City Council Todd Gloria said he hopes this committee will succeed where others have failed.