Like I said, there’s a lot to talk about today. But one thing quickly: I chatted with Chula Vista Mayor Cheryl Cox last night after the State of the City address.
I had a few things to ask her of course but there’s a bit of news I think.
Yesterday, the Union-Tribune reported that the Chargers were going to ask the Chula Vista City Council to vote to approve some kind of study that the Chargers would pay for that would determine how much a new stadium would cost in Chula Vista and how it might be financed.
I asked Cox if that was something she’d do. Would the City Council vote to approve such a study? The Chargers’ special counsel Mark Fabiani told the U-T that the Chargers would see such a vote as a “hint” of Chula Vista’s interest in pursuing a new stadium.
What’d the mayor say?
|Yeah, love those Chargers. Have you seen Gaylord anywhere?|
“I don’t anticipate a vote of any kind,” Cox told me. “I don’t intend to ask the City Council for anything but to listen to what the Chargers have to say.”
If the Chargers were looking for a hint, that might just be it.
Cox is fully focused on Gaylord Entertainment’s languishing proposal for a new resort and convention center on the bay front. Unquestionably, it’s her highest priority.
She questioned how the Chargers and city could afford a new stadium. It’s money going out in her mind. On the other hand, to her, Gaylord represents money coming in. But not only that, Gaylord is really the savior of that city reeling from its position as “ground zero” for foreclosures (she used those words last night — the characterization first appeared here.)
Cox acknowledged that the city had wrongly based its finances on the housing boom — development impact fees and other one time boosts in revenue that came from the building bonanza that occurred in the first half of the decade. And now, as those revenues dry up, Cox says they will be replaced by what she believes will be massive inflows of tourist dollars from Gaylord.
In other words, Gaylord will bring in so many guests who pay hotel-room taxes and sales taxes while staying here that Chula Vista will be saved.
In that world, Gaylord is the savior. The Chargers stadium is just a costly dream. They could proceed in tandem except that, as I wrote recently, going forward on the Chargers too fast would potentially cripple Gaylord’s project.
I asked again, why not just vote on whether the Chargers should proceed on the study of the cost of the new stadium? After all, the Chargers are going to pay for it.
Cox said the Chargers don’t need the city’s permission to do that.
“(Chargers President) Dean Spanos doesn’t need us to tell him how to spend his money,” Cox said.
This idea of putting a stadium in Chula Vista will die pretty quick at this rate.