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San Diego Union-Tribune

Stadium talks | Task force, team stake out their positions

February 22, 2003

Abstract:
Nobody reading the task force's recommendations can accuse members of caving to Chargers ownership. On the contrary, the people of San Diego should feel reassured that these guidelines, if followed, can prevent them from getting taken to the cleaners.

Now that clear positions have been staked out by the task force and the Chargers, the stadium debate can move away from angry recriminations and festering ill-will and into a realm where the city, the team and the people have concrete proposals to discuss. We're a long way from a decision on building a stadium, but the public discussion can now move to a higher plane.

Full Text:
Copyright SAN DIEGO UNION TRIBUNE PUBLISHING COMPANY Feb 22, 2003

In January, the San Diego Chargers put forward the organization's proposal: A development project at Qualcomm Stadium with a new $400 million stadium whose costs would be split evenly between the team and the city.

This week, the Citizens' Task Force on Chargers Issues set out its stance: No public funding for the stadium itself, although some revenue from the development project could be used for infrastructure and other costs. The task force also called for extensive Chargers responsibility for development costs, along with eventual elimination of the controversial ticket guarantee and the trigger clause that could allow the team to leave.

These are two clear positions a long way apart. But, if the City Council agrees to follow the task force approach, it could provide a positive beginning to negotiations. The task force has accurately portrayed public sentiment: People want the Chargers to stay and will support a stadium project, but only if the price is right.

Nobody reading the task force's recommendations can accuse members of caving to Chargers ownership. On the contrary, the people of San Diego should feel reassured that these guidelines, if followed, can prevent them from getting taken to the cleaners.

It's important to note that the task force does not say that no public funds should be used anywhere on the stadium project. It only says public funds shouldn't be used to construct the stadium part of the project and that there should be no cost to the city's general fund.

According to task force guidelines, public revenue generated from a mixed-use commercial-residential-stadium project could be used to build infrastructure such as streets, sewers and a riverfront park. It doesn't rule out a parking structure. Such an investment could amount to a significant public contribution to a stadium development project. But it would not come out of any currently existing public revenues, nor would it cut into general fund services for police, libraries, parks and other municipal services.

Now that clear positions have been staked out by the task force and the Chargers, the stadium debate can move away from angry recriminations and festering ill-will and into a realm where the city, the team and the people have concrete proposals to discuss. We're a long way from a decision on building a stadium, but the public discussion can now move to a higher plane.

 



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