Chargers statement to San Diego NFL Town Hall meeting

Here is the statement the Chargers will make tonight at the San Diego NFL Town Hall meeting.

 Over the 14 years the Chargers have worked to find a way to build a new stadium in San Diego, we have attended hundreds of town halls, community meetings and fan forums. So we’ve been fortunate, over that long period, to meet some of you in the audience here tonight.

And for those of you who are attending your first stadium forum, thanks for taking the time to come out tonight.

Why We Are Here Tonight

 There’s no reason to spend much time tonight reviewing our 14 years of work, except to say that we’ve tried everything we could think of to find a stadium solution:

# We made nine separate stadium proposals.

# We worked with seven separate San Diego City mayors over one ten year-period.

# And we searched for solutions in Chula Vista, Oceanside, National City, and Escondido.

 Throughout all this time, though, at least one thing has been clear: The failure to come up with an actionable plan has absolutely nothing to do with the great Charger fans. The fans are certainly not to blame for the fact that, over the years, one elected official after another has been elected after promising “no taxpayer money for an NFL stadium.”

 So it is incredibly unfair that the Chargers’ great fans are now bearing the brunt of the decisions made by politicians over the last 14 years.

 For our part, the Chargers have made clear from the very outset that we would do everything possible to find a stadium solution in the San Diego region – and we have worked hard at that for many years.

 And the Chargers have also made clear we will respect whatever decision the NFL’s owners make regarding both San Diego and Los Angeles. We repeat that commitment of respect for the NFL process again here tonight.

The Reason the Chargers Cannot Accept the City’s Latest Proposal

 Before I close, I would like to talk for just a moment about why the Chargers cannot accept the City’s latest proposal.

 The City remains firmly committed to what is — in our view — a fatally flawed environmental review process that will eventually be struck down by the courts – but only after lengthy litigation.

 In short, we believe that if we go along with the City’s strategy, we will suffer the same fate as the City’s recent convention center expansion project: Many years of wasted work. Many millions of wasted dollars. And zero results in the end.

 Now, when I speak to groups around town, the number one question I get is this: How can the Chargers’ lawyers feel so strongly about this one way, and the City’s lawyers feel equally strongly in the opposite direction?

 The answer is simple: How the Chargers look at this issue, and how the City looks at this issue, is determined entirely by the risk that each party is being asked to take.

#  Under the City’s quickie environmental review plan, the City takes no risk. If the City’s plan loses at the ballot box, or is struck down after several years of litigation by the courts, the City loses nothing other than the taxpayer money that will go to the successful plaintiffs’ lawyers. So, if you are the City, why wouldn’t you bet on even a small chance of winning, because if you lose, you don’t really lose?

# The Chargers, on the other hand, are being asked to assume all of the risk. The team bears all the risk of losing the election, or losing the EIR challenge in court. The franchise will have wasted several years of time, given up a certain opportunity in the Los Angeles market, and, when all is said and done, likely squandered whatever negotiating leverage we had in San Diego.

# We hope you can understand why the Chargers are – after 14 years of effort – not willing to assume such enormous risks.

What Happens Next

 In closing, I want to again express the commitment of the entire Chargers organization to honor the process established by the NFL’s owners and to respect the results of that process, whatever they may be.