I just got back from the press conference this morning in Chula Vista celebrating the release of a long-delayed report into possible Chargers stadium sites there.

Earlier this morning, I detailed the report. Now for some quotes:

  • Councilman John McCann: “The evidence is clear that Chula Vista not only can be, but will be, the home to the next stadium.”

The councilman, who has spearheaded stadium efforts in Chula Vista, said he hopes a stadium can do for his city what Petco Park has done for downtown San Diego. He said he favored the South Bay Power Plant site of the two sites recommended by the report.

Much of the pros and cons of the sites identified in the study were already known broadly, so I asked McCann what this study offered specifically. He replied: “This gives us concrete evidence.”

McCann said he didn’t know what kind of assistance the people of Chula Vista might be asked to contribute to make the deal work financially. The city will be soliciting a financing study, he said.

I asked how McCann could be sure the stadium would end up in Chula Vista without knowing how the financing would pencil out. “Where there’s a will there’s a way,” he said, noting that the city has many opportunities for development.

  • Councilman Steve Castaneda, referring to the plan to replace the power plant with a stadium: “I think it’s a good idea if we trade volts for Bolts.”

He said he was originally cynical of the idea of bringing a stadium to Chula Vista, but is now more open-minded.

  • Chargers special counsel Mark Fabiani, who McCann called “one of the most intelligent people I’ve ever met,” said it was a great day in the team’s long quest for a new stadium.

He said he recognized that the team carries the burden to justify the project to the public. (McCann later said they hope to put something on the ballot in November 2008.)

Fabiani also continued to say the stadium would be privately financed — a first in the National Football League. However, there are no financing details that have been made public, and a stadium project could very well include a public entity offering the team land or other assistance.

He said:

We’re working hard to get something done. That doesn’t mean that we’re going to get something done. But at least we’re sitting across from someone and negotiating in good faith.

Fabiani did not say Chula Vista was the frontrunner, noting that a report analyzing the viability of building high-end office space in Oceanside to help finance the stadium is still pending.

  • Jerry Butkiewicz, leader of the San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council, which is known to have a good relationship with the team, said many of his workers, such as the people who bake the buns for stadium food, are tied to the Chargers. He wants the team to stay, but also is cautious about any deal that would hurt other workers, such as firefighters or police officers in Chula Vista. “The devil is always going to be in the details,” he said.
  • Dan Shea, local restaurant owner and leader of the Fans, Taxpayers and Business Alliance, a generally pro-Chargers group: “I think it’s encouraging that people roll up their sleeves and are getting together to talk. No one’s asking for a free ride.”
  • Chula Vista Mayor Cheryl Cox noted that she can tell the difference between home runs and touchdowns. The Padres hit home runs, she stated, and the Chargers score touchdowns.

I’ll have more on the report in This Just In throughout the day.


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