OK, I got a hold of Steve Cushman, the port commissioner and auto dealer. He confirmed that, as chairman of the port’s maritime committee, he had been asked to get involved in the Chargers stadium issue to see if such a facility could fit on port land without disrupting businesses or driving out jobs in the area.
He said he had come to the determination that it could.
He didn’t really say how he came to that conclusion.
“I have ascertained that there is plenty of land here for us to continue to move forward,” Cushman said.
He said not only that a new stadium would not kill businesses in the area but “it may even be a way for us to enhance our maritime operations.”
“I’ve spent eight years at the port and I’m not going to do anything that in any way, shape or form is going to lessen our maritime operations in cargo or in jobs,” Cushman said.
But, again, I asked how he actually came to the determination that a new stadium wouldn’t hurt the businesses or jobs that currently depend on the port.
He, again, said he just made the determination after talking with the Chargers, National City and “multiple people.” This report today said he used aerial photographs to make his decision but he didn’t publish a report or do any kind of study.
“I believe there is sufficient land within this area that we could retain our businesses and the jobs there. It’s a matter of land planning and utilization,” Cushman said.
Several businesses are arguing that this is not true.
The San Diego Port Tenants Association weighed in on the matter with a letter Oct. 6.
Developing a stadium on the 24th Ave Marine Terminal property is essentially rezoning that land for retail and commercial use, which would eventually bring an end to maritime business that relies on San Diego’s deep water berth at National City.
And the Working Waterfront Group had some thoughts about Cushman’s task of just looking to see if a stadium will fit.
Not only does focusing on the physical size of a stadium miss the more important issue of compatibility, but it sends the wrong message – namely that you are willing to continue to entertain putting a stadium in a location that would have a devastating effect on the region’s maritime trade and jobs.
We formally request you take the same stand to protect the National City Marine Terminal and adjacent industrial lands as you did when a sports stadium was proposed for the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal.
The port, of course, killed the Tenth Ave. idea very decisively a few years ago.
So that’s what they say.
He says he agrees with them.
“They have properly framed the issue. We’re on the same sheet of paper. There is no difference in our positions,” Cushman said.
I should stop now before my head explodes.
But if Cushman says he wouldn’t do anything to hurt maritime industry at the port and if the port sincerely wanted him to determine whether a stadium would affect the industry, wouldn’t he have wanted to perform a study or prove that his position was in fact something he could substantiate?
He said a study would be done later.
“If, in fact, the Chargers and National City work out the financials and build a case for this stadium we will bring in professionals to work with our staff and our tenants and together we will collaborate to work on a plan that will work for everyone,” Cushman said.