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The first significant opposition to National City’s bid to build a new Chargers stadium on the waterfront arose today from the Working Waterfront Group, a collection of port tenants and business and labor groups.
In a letter to National City Mayor Nick Inzunza dated Friday, the group stated that building a stadium would be inconsistent with criteria agreed upon by the National City City Council, the port district and maritime industries for land use at the National City waterfront land.
The criteria spelled out in the letter include: the protection of maritime uses; enhancement of the working waterfront; environmental compliance; a public-serving development compatible with the marina; and a financial benefit for the port and city.
The letter states:
Given this agreement, you may understand our concern over your public comments and those of your city manager regarding a proposal to building a new stadium for the Chargers on this land. These comments are especially troubling since you have not formally brought your proposal to your city council; rather you are acting unilaterally on this issue.
City Manager Chris Zapata has signaled an interest in bringing the team to town and will recommend on Aug. 1 that the City Council initiate formal discussions with the Chargers and the port, which owns a 52-acre plot of land that Zapata has eyed for possible stadium development.
The letter, written by Working Waterfront Group Chairman Ed Plant, said building a stadium would, among other things, replace hundreds of well-paying jobs offering health insurance with lower-wage, seasonal jobs.
The so-called “52 acres” of land being considered for the stadium do not belong to National City; they are tidelands property managed by the Port of San Diego and private land owned by BNSF Railroad that is not for sale.
The letter closes by inviting Inzunza to meet with the group regarding their concerns. The group is comprised of along list of port tenants, from shipbuilders NASSCO to BNSF Railroad. It also includes the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce and the San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council.