SAN DIEGO -- A day after San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced that he will set up a task force to study potential locations and a financing plan for a new stadium to house the San Diego Chargers, apparently Mark Fabiani had enough of what he believes are stall tactics by the city.
"What the mayor basically did is punt," Fabiani said.
In an interview with Darren Smith of The Mighty 1090 AM radio, Fabiani, special council to Chargers president Dean Spanos and the team’s point person for the stadium effort, offered a blunt assessment of where things stand regarding the effort to build a new facility for the team.
"Count us skeptical that some newly appointed task force is going to find a magic solution here," Fabiani said. "Unfortunately, there is no magic to this. Everyone knows how you get stadiums built. Cities build them all over the country. It’s just a question of whether we want to do that or not here in San Diego."
Fabiani also pointed a finger at who he believes is mainly responsible for blocking the team’s effort in getting a deal done. Fabiani said at the first meeting with Mayor Faulconer’s staff in March that the Chargers asked for Steve Cushman to not have any involvement in the process.
"Our view is that Cushman has been a consistent impediment to the Chargers getting a stadium deal done," Fabiani said. "And I won’t bore you with all of the history, although I’m happy to go into it if you want. So that’s the one thing that we asked him not to do, and that’s exactly what he did. The mayor mentioned in his speech last night that Steve would continue to be involved in the convention center.
"And remember, Steve Cushman, along with others still at City Hall, are the ones that came up with the hair-brained tax idea that everyone knew was going to be struck down by the courts, and was struck down by the courts. But only after four years and millions of dollars were wasted on a doomed convention center expansion plan, and so that was disappointing to see that we’re dealing with the same old retreads here."
So who is Steve Cushman? Well, Cushman was voted "Mr. San Diego" in 2013. Cushman served as Commissioner for the San Diego Unified Port District from 1998 to 2010. Cushman also serves as chair of the board of directors for the San Diego Convention Center. He’s been the point person in leading the effort to expand the convention center, separate from a stadium facility.
According to Fabiani, Cushman has the ear of Faulconer and former council president Todd Gloria.
"It’s been 13 years that the Chargers have been working on this," Fabiani said. "Now we’re on to our 14th year, and time is running out. Not because we want it to run out -- I want to be clear. We’ve shown tremendous patience. Dean Spanos and the rest of his family deserve enormous credit for the patience they’ve shown. But we’ve got teams that our out and out threatening to move into what we consider our market in Los Angeles and Orange County. And that’s changed calculations for everybody. And we’re evaluating all of our options. We’re going to do whatever we can to protect our business. We have to. It’s the future of our franchise."