The high school boy who calls a girl for a date and she says "no!" five times has to learn a lesson: she isn't interested. San Diego city and county leaders have yet to find this out. They presented a rushed proposal for a stadium and environmental impact report today (August 10) and Chargers spokesman Mark Fabiani laughed at it publicly.
The plan has city and county taxpayers paying only 32 percent of the $1.1 billion cost of a stadium; the national average has taxpayers shoveling out 70 to 80 percent. And San Diego leaders think the National Football League (expected to contribute $200 million) will embrace this?
Fabiani noted that the task force's original estimate for the stadium cost was $1.4 billion, but local political leaders have "arbitrarily reduced the cost of the stadium" and then said the Chargers are responsible for cost overruns.
The financing plan and slam-bang environmental impact review are necessary because leaders are trying to clear the decks for a hurry-up vote in January. Said Fabiani, "Never before in California history has a controversial, billion-dollar project relied on environmental review documents hastily prepared in three weeks. The Chargers have been clear from the start that the franchise will not be the city's guinea pig for this inevitably ill-fated legal experiment."
San Diego leaders will present the plan to the National Football League. Those officials will immediately see through myriad aspects of the plan — particularly, the claim that the selling of personal seat licenses will raise $187.5 million for the financing of the stadium, according to the Union-Tribune. That sum is absurd. Fabiani told me in 2011 that the Chargers had no plans for personal seat licenses. They work well in affluent areas, such as the San Francisco 49ers stadium in Silicon Valley, but San Diego has trouble filling Qualcomm on many occasions.
Finally, the U-T quoted city attorney Jan Goldsmith as saying, "If they want an NFL franchise in the eighth-largest city in the nation, this is the time they make the decision."
Every owner of an NFL team is sophisticated enough to know that the size of the city is irrelevant. What's relevant is the size of the market. San Diego's is around 3.2 million — 17th largest in the nation.