Recently-leaked allegations that the Chargers aren’t serious about trying to find a stadium solution in San Diego likely have undermined ongoing talks aimed at that objective. A more overt effort to place the blame on the team that has called San Diego home since 1961 could derail the effort entirely.
Via Vincent Bonsignore of the Los Angeles News Group, a political group that has supported San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer is now attacking the Chargers, via a sponsored Facebook post asking whether the Chargers even want to do a deal to stay put.
The Chargers aren’t pleased with the tactics.
“This new negative advertising campaign against the Chargers — launched just as the team began negotiations with the city — speaks volumes about what the Mayor and his political operatives have really been up to on this issue from the start: They have always seemed more concerned with political cover than with actually building a stadium.” Chargers special counsel Mark Fabiani said in a statement issued to Bonsignore.
The latest comments from Fabiani echo the sentiment he raised when San Diego first opted to embark on a proposal to build a stadium: If the goal is simply to avoid the political fallout of presiding over the departure of the team, don’t bother.
This latest brouhaha comes as the two sides prepare for a second meeting aimed at working out a deal to build a stadium in San Diego, with the Chargers bringing financing, land use, and election law experts to the Monday session. While Faulconer’s office has yet to say anything about the situation, the Lincoln Group has fired back at Fabiani.
“So he wants to blow up a billion-dollar deal over a $200 Facebook post by a private organization? lol,” executive director Ryan Clumpner told Scott Lewis of VoiceofSanDiego.org via email. “We are a private organization and post on Facebook as we see fit. We sponsor all our posts. No elected officials have any say in what we post, nor will we be bullied by Mr. Fabiani. The question we asked on Facebook was whether the Chargers want a new stadium or would rather move to L.A. If Mr. Fabiani was so threatened by that question that he is complaining about it to the NFL, then I think we all know the answer.”
Said Fabiani in response, via Lewis: “No one is talking about blowing up anything. We will be attending Monday’s negotiating session as planned, despite the evidence over the last week of bad-faith behavior by the Mayor and his political operatives.”
And so the first 30-45 minutes of Monday’s meeting likely be devoted to clearing the air and trying to set a tone of cooperation.
If the air can’t be cleared, they should agree that: (1) it’s a waste of everyone’s time to try to work out a new stadium deal; (2) the Chargers should just move to L.A.; and (3) both sides will spend the balance of 2015 — and beyond — publicly and privately blaming each other.