Mayor Kevin Faulconer said Wednesday he would announce the members of his Chargers stadium task force by the end of this week. The Chargers hope Steve Cushman isn’t among them.
In his “State of the City” address two weeks ago, he said he would appoint a committee to develop a plan to build a stadium for the National Football League franchise that would go before voters for approval. Members would go over the alternatives for a stadium and come up with something that satisfies the team and protects taxpayers.
Chargers officials criticized the idea, contending the issues had already been vetted over the dozen or so years that they’ve sought a new playing venue.
On the KPBS radio “Midday Edition” program, Faulconer said the task force was “an action group” that would give the voters something tangible to consider for the first time.
“What’s been missing in this dialogue has been an actual, concrete plan — a financial plan,” Faulconer said.
“My commitment is that we’re going to pull some people together,” he said. “We’re actually going to have not just a back-of-the-napkin, you know, it’s designed to say here’s a real plan, here’s a plan that will protect taxpayers, here’s a plan we think we can move forward with, that the public will be involved in, (that) the public will ultimately approve.”
He declined to say how many people would be on the task force, but it would not be “an exceptionally large group,” but have members who “will bring the right skill set to the table.”
In his speech two weeks ago, the mayor said the Chargers were closer to leaving San Diego than ever before. The apparent options open to the task force, he said, are to build a new facility next to Qualcomm Stadium in Mission Valley or making it part of an expansion of the San Diego Convention Center.
“I said very clearly that I want the task force to look at all of the options that have been done in other cities, to come develop a plan that I think works for San Diego and taking those best practices,” Faulconer said. “It has to be a plan that in my judgment will protect taxpayers and it has to be a plan that voters will support.”
If the task force is successful, a vote would most likely be scheduled for an election in 2016.
The Chargers have been critical of the mayor for naming businessman Cushman to lead a group studying stadium financing options.
Mark Fabiani, special sounsel to the president of the Chargers, said: “Over the entire time we have been working with Mayor Faulconer and his staff, we have only ever asked for one thing – and we asked for it at the very first meeting we had with the mayor’s staff: ‘Please do not assign Steve Cushman to work on this issue; instead let’s try to find some new voices and fresh perspectives to add to this 13-year-long process. Again, this is the one and only request we’ve ever made of the mayor.”
U-T San Diego reported after the State of the City talk that Cushman was considered an “obstructionist” to Chargers plans to site a stadium on the Chula Vista bayfront or the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal.
“I don’t know why San Diego can’t support a new contiguous expansion of the convention center, along with a new stadium in downtown San Diego or at Qualcomm,” Cushman was quoted as saying. He’s the president of the Convention Center Corp. board of directors.
“I am solely focused on the expansion of the convention center as I was with the last expansion of the center.”
— City News Service contributed to this report.