Chargers Quiet About Redevelopment Deal

For an organization that stands to benefit as much as anyone else from the last-minute downtown San Diego redevelopment deal, the Chargers have been mighty silent.

The state legislation removing the limit city-subsidized redevelopment downtown abolishes a primary hurdle if the team is to receive tax money to build a new stadium. Initial estimates indicate the Chargers could seek as much as a $500 million public subsidy for their $800 million stadium.

But the team has issued no public statement about the bill, which Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was expected to sign Tuesday, nor has any team official been quoted discussing it.

Team stadium negotiator Mark Fabiani has connected the team’s need for public dollars to decisions on the redevelopment cap since last December. At one point, he encouraged stadium boosters to attend a City Council meeting when a cap discussion was on the agenda.

I tried contacting Fabiani again today about the deal, and received this response via email: “no comment to vosd.” (He’s rarely spoken to me since this.)

The lack of any word from Chargers camp is surprising. Concerns about two Los Angeles stadium developers — and potential Chargers suitors — killing the legislation was a reason Mayor Jerry Sanders, state Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher and redevelopment head Fred Maas wanted to keep the bill quiet.

In an interview Monday, Fletcher said he “traded voicemails” with the Chargers prior to the bill’s passage, but that was his only contact with the team. The Chargers, Fletcher said, did not review the legislation beforehand.

Fletcher said he promised to give the Chargers a heads up before he took on stadium issues. Last year, he didn’t before he fought against a bill that exempted one of the Los Angeles-area stadiums from environmental reviews because he believed it could lead to the Chargers moving north.

Interestingly, Fabiani was critical of Sanders’ and Fletcher’s stance on the Los Angeles bill last year. He said that would make it harder for San Diego to get a legislative break in the future.

“It’s short-sighted,” Fabiani said then. “No one now from San Diego, whether it’s the Chargers or any other large business, is going to get an exemption.”

Update: The original version of this post incorrectly stated when the governor signed the bill. We regret the error.

Please contact Liam Dillon directly at liam.dillon@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.550.5663 and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/dillonliam.

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Liam Dillon

Liam Dillon

Liam Dillon is senior reporter and assistant editor for Voice of San Diego. He leads VOSD’s investigations and writes about how regular people interact with local government. What should he write about next? Please contact him directly at liam.dillon@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.550.5663.

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