So the news broke this weekend that National City has pulled out of the rather quiet pursuit of a new Chargers stadium.

I guess this means I had better own up to something. I usually shy away from predicting things for a variety of reasons. One, I’m notoriously bad at it. Two, because it’s hard for anyone to be good at it.

Disregarding my instincts, several months ago, I predicted that the Chargers would eventually settle on National City and create a proposal that we’d all now be chewing on. Oops.

I had a vague sense that an alternative on the waterfront would rise and be seriously considered. But I should have predicted it more on the “bay front” and included Chula Vista and, potentially, the 10th Avenue Terminal. But I went with National City and now I have to hold myself accountable.

National City’s leaders were clearly the most ambitious of the bunch. They want a stadium in that city’s boundaries and that passion is pretty starkly compared to the relative shoulder-shrugging of the officials in surrounding cities.

But they needed a bit more than passion. They needed land.

It is hard to tell if there is anything at all going on behind-the-scenes to develop a new stadium proposal. I think I and others have been under the assumption for some time that soon we would have a tangible plan for a new facility that we could start to pick at and probe and determine its worth. But so far — about a year and a half since the Chargers withdrew their proposal for a new stadium in Mission Valley — we haven’t seen much more than snippets of the discussions about this or that potential site.

Sure there was this announcement several months ago from San Diego’s mayor, city attorney and a pair of county supervisors. They were going to consider thinking about perhaps maybe in the future discussing the possibility of forming a regional joint powers authority that would look at the possibility of perhaps maybe in the future discussing and then acting on the hope of overseeing the funding and construction of a new stadium. (Voice in the back of your head: Whatever happened to that? Scott: Nothing. Nothing at all.)

The county has spent $90,000 on big-shot consultants who stayed in the Hotel Del Coronado and flew to New York on behalf of the county. In fact, the best the county has been able to spin this apparent waste of funds is with the contention that at least it didn’t spend $110,000 and it didn’t pay for the whole bill at the Hotel Del.

The strange secretiveness the county has exhibited about its expenditures on this issue has been well documented by Rob Davis.

Anyway, no more predictions from me. Though I will say this: The Chula Vista bay front seems like the most likely place for a proposal to be sited. But Chula Vista’s politics these days are brutal. South Bay officials are trying to build a huge convention center for Gaylord Entertainment and it’s going to take a bureaucratic tour de force to keep that project together.

I guess the point is this: If you’re a Chargers fan thinking that something must be happening behind the scenes that will produce a new stadium to put on the ballot in November 2008, you might be misleading yourself. I sure don’t sense the will to get anything like that done anytime soon.

SCOTT LEWIS

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