No Holiday for Bolts, San Diego in Stadium Search

jay-paris

The Chargers and San Diego’s Citizens’ Stadium Advisory Group broke bread on President’s Day.

We cannot tell a lie – it didn’t go so swell.

Monday’s first meeting between the parties seeking a fresh Chargers venue was noted for two things:

Who wasn’t there: Chargers president Dean Spanos.

Who was there: two of San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s political consultants.

“It was a surprise to us,’’ Chargers counsel Mark Fabiani said on Darren Smith’s Mighty 1090 show.

OK, so the Chargers, who might be seeking a left tackle this offseason, were blindsided by spotting Tony Manolatos and Jason Cabel Roe in the room.

Et tu, Spanos?

“Because Dean is traveling today,’’ Fabiani said. “Today is a holiday and we didn’t expect they would meet on a holiday.’’

What kind of advisory group of volunteers meets then?

“Maybe one that doesn’t want media coverage,’’ Fabiani said.

Ouch.

If expecting Fabiani to pull punches or talk sweet after Valentine’s Day, think again. He proved it in his chat with Smith and reinforced it with a lengthy statement to the CSAG on the Chargers’ web site.

The Chargers aren’t happy and are making everyone know just that.

It’s clear, at some level, they would prefer to stay put in San Diego.

But the team is entering Year 14 on trying to find news digs and so far, its shovel just keeps hitting bedrock.

The NFL race to the Los Angeles region is accumulating speed and nothing says that like the progress being made in Inglewood.

As San Diego circles one thumb over the other, Inglewood has a willing team, seemingly, in the St. Louis Rams; collected twice as many required voters’ signatures for the project; laid out its plan; and displayed glossy renditions of a splashy facility that could hold one, and maybe, two teams.

In San Diego, it’s meetings between parties that don’t see eye-to-eye from the get-go and you any more confident something will get accomplished?

“The hotel industry and port commission, they want to protect their turf downtown,’’ Fabiani said. “We made zero progress with them.’’

That’s among the things making it tough to go from zero-to-stadium.

The hotel and port boosters want a contiguous convention center – although the financing mechanism for that endeavor was tossed on its kister by the courts.

The Chargers want a combined stadium/convention city across the street, closer to Petco Park. But the Qualcomm Stadium site remains in play.

“If the hoteliers are never going to come around, and so far they haven’t, then we shouldn’t be talking about downtown anymore — it’s not going to work,’’ Fabiani said.

Fabiani noted if Faulconer embraced the Chargers’ downtown plan, it wouldn’t be a secret.

“If the mayor was in favor of joint-use facility, he would have said that in his speech,’’ he said.

Instead Faulconer has done a dump-and-run: plop this tangled mess into the lap of citizens with no authority or budget, sprint elsewhere and the ask for their input in how to get two-thirds of voters to approve it.

But if it’s a public exercise to provide political cover for the seventh mayor the Chargers have consulted, they’ll punt instead.

“We’re willing to be helpful and are eager to be helpful,’’ Fabiani said. “But with everything that has happened over the last 13 years, we are skeptical.’’

What’s clear is something never takes a holiday: The Chargers and San Diego wrestling over a new stadium.

+ Contact Jay Paris at jparis@bcaradio.com

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