Chula Vista Deputy Mayor John McCann wants the San Diego Chargers to build a new stadium in Chula Vista. During the past few years, the councilmember has gone on the offensive to get the team to commit to Chula Vista; he heads a Chargers stadium subcommittee, speaks to Chargers representatives, and has gone on record trying to convince his fellow councilmembers to huddle up and work as a team to help draw the Chargers to Chula Vista. McCann estimates the revenues created by having a professional football team in the city would be in the tens of millions.
But now that McCann, a reserve officer in the Navy, is getting deployed to Iraq for a year, his fellow city councilmembers are scaling back their efforts.
“I think that over-politicizing this issue doesn’t do a lot of good for the community,” said McCann during Tuesday’s council meeting. “I’ll respect the decision if the council doesn’t want to do it, but we need to be very careful of not allowing a good business deal to be treated in a shabby fashion. Let’s not make it a political issue; let’s look at it as a business issue.”
In recent years, representatives from the Chargers have expressed interest in building a new stadium on San Diego Bay at the site of the South Bay Power Plant, but that plant is still in use and it could be some time before the aging plant is decommissioned and before plans for a new stadium move forward.
“If that’s the proposal, it’s not in the City of Chula Vista, it’s in the Port of San Diego,” said Chargers subcommittee member and councilmember Steve Castaneda during Tuesday’s meeting. “Mr. McCann will be gone for an extended period of time...and even if the council wants to keep the lights on with this subcommittee, I’m not sure where we would go. Clearly, the ball is in the court of the San Diego Chargers. If they believe that they have a future in Chula Vista, they need to come before this body and the people of Chula Vista.
“Mr. McCann has been very enthusiastic about the possibility,” added Castaneda. “I frankly believe they should stay at Qualcomm, but that’s a business decision for them.”
After comments from the other councilmembers, it was obvious that after McCann leaves for Iraq, the sitting councilmembers will likely disband the subcommittee and wait for the Chargers to approach the City with a detailed plan.
“I think it would be a good idea to suspend the committee,” said councilmember Pamela Bensoussan. “It’s been over two years and nothing has happened. [Councilmember McCann] refers to this as a good business deal, but this good business deal has not been vetted, it has not been proposed, and it has not been defined. Let’s be realistic. We’re not going to suddenly have a project and the power plant is suddenly going to go away.”