The Mighty 1090 received a copy of the letter that the NFL plans to put in front of the Mayor of San Diego during their meeting today regarding the stadium situation. Dan Sileo read it on the air and you can listen to it below. Here’s what the letter said:
July 28, 2015
SAN DIEGO STADIUM UPDATE
The City of San Diego’s current plan has the following components:
- Completion of Environmental Impact Report (EIR) in less than three weeks: To allow the City Council to place a matter on a special election ballot by January 15, 2016, the City must complete its Environmental Impact Report (EIR) in less than three weeks. All of these other projects the NFL has worked on in California over the years have taken more than a year, at a minimum, to complete a legally viable EIR (AEG/Farmers Field 17 months; Roski/City of Industry 14 months; 49ers/Santa Clara 13 months; etc.).
- Presenting a Financing Plan to Voters: When the City completes its historically rapid EIR process, the City then apparently intends to propose to voters in a special election that they approve taking hundreds of millions of dollars out of the city’s General Fund to pay for the stadium. Polling data shows that just a small minority of voters in California would support devoting General Fund money to stadium construction.
- Relying on the County of San Diego to follow the lead of city voters: In the unlikely event that city voters approve the general fund expenditure, the city would then rely on the County Board of Supervisors to match the city’s contribution. Unfortunately, the board’s own formal written policy says that there must be a county-wide vote before any public money can be spent on a stadium and there appears to be little sentiment on the board to change that policy. In addition, the County’s counsel has said that any County spending on the stadium project must be appropriated over three or four budget cycles, and that future votes cannot be guaranteed because of possible changes in the County’s financial circumstances or the makeup of the Board..
- Prevailing in Litigation: Assuming the City approves the ballot measure, and a reversal of the county board’s position, the city planners should defeat various lawsuits in court. These lawsuits could challenge the validity of the quickie EIR, the City’s decision to sell Lease Revenue Bonds backed by the General Fund, the County Board’s decision to violate its own policies, and various other issues. Some of these issues could be litigated all the way to the California Supreme Court, a process that could take two-to-four years.
- The City’s End Game: If at any point in this process the City’s plan fails – the voters disapprove the ballot measure, the County refuses to put in its share of the money over the next four appropriations cycles, the courts strike down the EIR or the Lease Revenue Bonds, then everyone would go back to square one on a new proposal. At that point, however, the Chargers will have lost out on their Los Angeles opportunity and will be facing an imminent lease expiration in San Diego in 2020.
NOTE: The City may say that the EIR will take four months, but that is not correct. To hold on election on our around January 15, 2016, the City Council must approve a certified EIR on October 15, 2015. CEQA mandates a 45-day public comment period, and requires that the City accounts for all of the public comments in the final document. Working back from October 15th, according to the City’s own schedule, the written EIR must be submitted to the public by August 3rd, less than three weeks from when the City Council first appropriated money to pay for the EIR.
NOTE: California’s various arena projects have followed similar EIR timelines: Sacramento Kings Arena 13 months; Golden State Warriors arena Project in San Francisco begun in October 2014 and not likely to be finished until the spring of 2016.
NOTE: The City will claim that a California state legislative “exemption” will shorten the litigation time. This is incorrect, for several reasons. Even if such an exemption could be achieved in Sacramento, it would not take effect until January 1, 2016, too late to have an effect on an EIR certified on October 15, 2015. What’s more, even the most far-reaching exemption achieved so far (Roski, City of Industry) only required that the EIR litigation be expedited; under this legislation, the entire process would still take just less than a year. Finally, no legislative exemption would impact lawsuits regarding the City’s Lease Revenue Bonds/general fund or the County’s possible violation of its own procedures; these lawsuits would process at a normal California pace.