The last-ditch effort to get the Chargers to stay in San Diego is too little, too late, and ultimately too infuriating.
That’s the word that a source with knowledge of the situation applied when characterizing the idea of a 99-year lease at $1 annual rent floated by a group of San Diego council members.
Per the source, the idea has been cobbled together by two politicians who opposed the stadium measure that failed miserably at the ballot box, Scott Sherman and Chris Cate. They didn’t present the idea to the Chargers; the team learned about it through the media.
That conduct has been viewed by owner Dean Spanos as an effort to embarrass him and his family and to deflect blame for a relocation from the politicians via a last-minute proposal that will never survive scrutiny.
“If the goal was to infuriate the single remaining decision-maker in this process, mission accomplished,” the source said.
The low rent makes for a good headline, but the Chargers would be required to operate and maintain the stadium. Operation costs currently are roughly $15 million per year. There’s also $100 million in deferred maintenance projects.
While the team would also control the remainder of the stadium site, the Chargers would have to secure development rights. It’s expected that local opposition to commercial use of the property would be intense, and that the process would be time-consuming.
Most importantly, it’s likely that the project would require a public vote. Given the manner in which the last public vote failed, it would be another uphill climb.
While that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to keep the team in town, a different proposal will be required, quickly. By all appearances, this one has only made things worse.