Reader Al Davis asks for an update on the Charger stadium efforts. This is a question I have answered hundreds of times at the many, many Rotary Club speeches and public presentations we have made in the community — and are still making, every week. But Al’s post prompted me to think that since the stadium saga has been going on now for more than five years, maybe I need a snappy video to help summarize everything that’s happened in just a few minutes. My model would be “seven minute sopranos”, which, if you’re a “Sopranos” fan as I am, you simply must watch on the eve of Sunday’s upcoming finale: http://www.collegehumor.com/video:1751464
In the absence of any video-making capabilities early this morning, however, let me try to give you “The Five-Years-in-Seven-Bullets Charger Stadium Summary”:
- It took us a while, but the Chargers finally accomplished everything people asked us to do: Abolish the ticket guaranty — end the controversy and litigation about triggers — move the training camp back to San Diego — put an exciting, winning team on the field n devise a plan to privately finance both the stadium and the infrastructure around it — show patience to see the difficult process through. Done. Done. Done. Done. Done. And done.
- Meanwhile San Diego City Hall plunges into crisis. Four mayors in a one-year span— audits — investigations — trials — indictments — more trials — a razor thin victory for chronic Charger opponent Mike Aguirre — confusion about who’s really in charge — the legal process used to settle political and personal scores — and on and on and on.
- No private investor of any size and reputation wants any part of this mess.
- Despite all of this, the Chargers still refuse to talk to cities outside San Diego County and the Chargers begin to seek solutions elsewhere in the County.
- The Chargers pay $220,000 (and counting) for the City of Chula Vista to conduct a site study (due to be released this month). The team agrees to pay for a market study of the potential for office space development on the Oceanside Goat Hill golf course site.
- And all the while, over five years, the project costs for the stadium alone more than double, from $400 million in 2002 to $800 million-plus in 2007. And that doesn’t count the infrastructure improvements.
- When all is said and done, and no matter what you think of the Chargers’ proposed stadium financing concept, no one can argue with this basic statement: The Chargers are still trying to accomplish something that has never been done before — the private financing of an NFL stadium.
So there you have it n five years and millions of dollars of work in just seven bullets. Now, on to more important stuff: Does anyone have a prediction for Tony’s fate on Sunday’s final “Sopranos?”
— MARK FABIANI