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Environmental Regulations May Spur Chargers’ Move to L.A.

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Stadium negotiations between the Chargers organization and City of San Diego officials hit a rough patch again Tuesday when Chargers’ special counsel Mark Fabiani announced that a ballot measure to streamline burdensome California environmental regulations could not make an end-of-year deadline.

After multiple meetings between the city and Chargers organization, the city is saying there is still time to get the ballot measure before the voters in 2015, while the team is saying that isn’t the case.

Fabiani released a statement Tuesday regarding three formal meetings between the team and city at which possible stadium options were discussed. 10 News released that statement, which read in part:

Based on all of this work and discussion, the Chargers have concluded that it is not possible to place a ballot measure before voters in December 2015 in a legally defensible manner given the requirements of the State’s election law and the California Environmental Quality Act. The various options that we have explored with the City’s experts all lead to the same result: Significant time-consuming litigation founded on multiple legal challenges, followed by a high risk of eventual defeat in the courts.

Later that day, Mayor Faulconer, City Attorney Jan Goldsmith and Supervisor Ron Roberts released a statement provided to Breitbart News that read in part:

At the urging of the NFL and the Chargers, we have presented the team with multiple legally defensible options that fully comply with state environment law and would conclude with a public vote this year on a new stadium. In addition to these options, today we provided the Chargers a new proposal to complete a full environmental impact report by October in time for a January special election – addressing the legal concerns expressed by the team.

The statement continued, “We are still at the table. We have all the ingredients for success in San Diego if the Chargers work with us. We can get this done if the Chargers want to get it done.”

Fabiani had discussed stadium updates on Monday with Darren Smith on The Mighty 1090 radio program. “It’s a little too soon to say how it’s all going to turn out,” Fabiani said at the time.

Fabiani went on to discuss the crushing requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the major effect it is having on weighing L.A.-area Carson, California versus San Diego stadium plans. “You want something ideally that is going to be impervious to legal challenge…How do you get something on the ballot that will survive legal challenge and won’t waste years and years in court.”

“If we can’t get something on the ballot in 2015 the ball moves squarely into the court of the NFL owners and they’ll determine whether something’s going to happen at the end of 2015 or not.”

The current L.A.-area option in Carson gives the Chargers organization bargaining power in negotiations with the City of San Diego. The project would be a joint stadium between the Chargers and the Raiders football teams. A separate stadium is also in the works in nearby Inglewood, California, spearheaded by the Rams football organization.

The Chargers, Raiders and Rams must all seek and receive approval from at least two-thirds of NFL owners, according to league bylaws. If another team or teams took the L.A. option taking business away from the Chargers while the old Mission Valley stadium remains, he said the “future of the franchise would be in peril.”

“If we hadn’t become more aggressive in January, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation now,” Fabiani said.

Back in March, Chargers fans literally shook the current Qualcomm Stadium with cheers of “Save Our Bolts! Save Our Bolts!” They gathered en masse for a public forum that asked for their input toward new stadium plans formed by the special purpose Chargers Stadium Task Force. Those plans have part of the more recent negotiations between the city and Chargers organization.

The Chargers as well as City of San Diego officials have expressed a willingness to continue negotiations, but as of now the future of Chargers football in San Diego is starting to look bleaker than ever.

Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana


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