There are a number of issues that I still wanted to address with the Chargers today that didn’t fit into my previous posts (scroll down for those).

So here we go:

  • Today’s announcement marks the city’s return to the stadium discussion, months after Mayor Jerry Sanders largely had washed his hands of it (he said he had more important things – like the city’s financial woes – to deal with). Now, it’s back. But it’s not clear what role the city will or could play. In their public comments, the Chargers make it clear they want little to do with the Qualcomm Stadium site. That’s because, they say, of the hostile relationship with City Attorney Mike Aguirre and the city’s financial crunch.

Chargers special counsel Mark Fabiani said they were disappointed that today’s announcement didn’t include Chula Vista or National City – although Sanders did say they may be involved. Those two cities have put forth the most effort and the most credible stadium plans to date, although they don’t appear to have gotten much support to date from the county.

  • Council President Scott Peters pointed out to me that if a joint powers authority – also known as a JPA – is formed by the city and the county, it would likely make any future vote on a stadium proposal a countywide vote. Most city boosters have said for a long time that it would only be fair to have a countywide vote (and presumably financial contribution) because the team’s fan support doesn’t solely reside within city limits.
  • The JPA could become very useful if the stadium is built in one city and the auxiliary development is planned for another. The idea has, for a long time, been to finance a $450 million stadium through the revenues created by new residential and other development.

For example, one idea has been to build the stadium on a 52-acre waterfront parcel in National City and then put the supporting development out in Chula Vista. Having financing, infrastructure, taxes, land, zoning and the like dispersed between multiple jurisdictions could be a nightmare. A JPA could serve as an umbrella for such a project. JPAs can adopt the laws and regulations of its participating organizations, Aguirre said. (He also noted that any tax proposal would have to be approved by voters.)

  • The idea of forming a JPA between the city and the county to help with the construction of a stadium isn’t a new one, as the two teamed up together in the 1960s to help build what is now Qualcomm Stadium. But the situation was quite different back then.

In that case, the county owned – or controlled – land along Friars Road that was needed for road improvements to accommodate the stadium. The county contributed the land and also had seats on the board that controlled the JPA. The ultimate financial responsibility for paying back the loan on the stadium fell to the city.

ANDREW DONOHUE

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