Thursday, June 14, 2007 | Last week lobbyist Mark Fabiani presented his case for a new stadium for the Chargers.
First he said the Chargers had ended the ticket guarantee. This is not true. Under the ticket guarantee, stadium rent was reduced by the face value of unsold game tickets. The rent reduction fluctuated with stadium attendance. The ticket guarantee was set to expire the third game of the 2007 season, and thereafter the city was to receive substantial stadium rent.
In 2004, stadium rent was permanently reduced and the upside of the stadium deal the city was to receive was largely wiped out. The rent reduction feature of the ticket guarantee that fluctuated with attendance between 2004 and 2007 was ended. However, the city gave up most of its upside under the stadium lease between 2007 and 2020. When Mr. Fabiani says the ticket guarantee was abolished that is simply not true. The Chargers now have a one-sided agreement with the city, requiring the team to pay very little if any rent. The team can stay until 2020 or leave at the sole option of the team owners.
Next Mr. Fabiani says he has devised “a plan to privately finance both the stadium and the infrastructure around it.” Again, as this relates to Qualcomm, that simply is not true. Under the proposed plan the taxpayers would have to give up hundreds of millions of dollars of public land. That is public not private financing. Moreover, Mr. Fabiani has yet to adequately explain who would be on the hook for the bonds sold to pay for the stadium. He has also not answered the essential question of who would pay if the deal did not work out.
Next, Mr. Fabiani registered his many complaints about the city of San Diego. His point of view is hard to understand. City taxpayers have paid hundreds of millions of dollars to subsidize the team. For example, city taxpayers will pay about $15 million in subsidies to the Spanos’ this year while the team takes about $70 million from Qualcomm.
Mr. Fabiani has complained that some teams are in stadiums in which 60 to 70 percent of stadium costs were publicly financed. However, in San Diego the team has the benefit of a stadium almost 100 percent financed by city taxpayers.
Mr. Fabiani says that the Spanos’ are paying $220,000 for the city of Chula Vista to conduct a site study. Everyone would be happy if the city of Chula Vista is able to negotiate a deal with the Spanos’ for a new stadium that Chula Vista taxpayers approve.
I have invited Mr. Fabiani to discuss these issues on television or radio and he has always declined. I hope he will use this opportunity to engage in a healthy debate on voiceofsandiego.org. I am happy to engage in as many rounds of discussion needed to reach a resolution of our differing points of view.
Let’s let the readers have the benefit of such a debate and allow them to decide who to believe.
Mike Aguirre is San Diego city attorney. The responses are already coming in, don’t miss Mark Fabiani’s here.