Photos by Chris Stone
“Find a way to get things done!”
That was the message Chargers fans told the nine-member Citizens’ Stadium Advisory Group formed to advise Mayor Kevin Faulconer on where to locate and how to finance a new stadium for the Chargers during an open forum at Qualcomm stadium on Monday.
While the meeting was held to get the public’s opinion on the new stadium’s site and ideas for financing it, all of the people in attendance told the advisory group they need to do what it takes to keep the Chargers in San Diego, regardless of where the stadium is ultimately built.
Hundreds of fans packed Club Lounge 5 and hundreds more packed the overflow seating area in the stadium for the forum.
The meeting was very emotional for some fans. For many, the connection to the team goes beyond football. Some shared their personal stories about coming to the games with their families when they were younger and becoming lifelong fans.
The majority of speakers, however, prefer to keep the stadium in Mission Valley. Fans such as Devera Scott said the location makes economic sense for her and her family. All 50 members of her family share two season tickets and tailgate at Qualcomm Stadium.
“We’re not rich,” she said. “We can’t afford to pay for 50 tickets” if the stadium moves downtown.
For Tim Previe, who lives in Santee, the downtown site won’t work because of the parking issue.
“(The stadium) needs to be in Mission Valley,” he said. “I don’t want to take the trolley to downtown.”
The main sentiment of the evening was that regardless of the where the stadium is built, the new venue needs to be multi-purpose, attracting concerts, Major League Soccer and other athletic events.
As for financing, the ideas brought up range from public funding in forms of taxes such as the Transient Occupancy Tax to crowd funding to more contributions from the NFL and the Spanos family, the owners of the Chargers.
After the forum ended at around 8:30 p.m., Adam Day, the advisory group’s chairman said the group is focused on success and not failure.
“Your testimonies today will help us make our decision that much more quickly,” he said. The group will meet to make a decision that is fair for the city and the stadium tenants, including the Chargers and San Diego State football team he said.