By Doug Porter
The chickens are coming home to roost for San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, whose PR-centric program aimed at resolving the local football team’s quest for a new facility has been called out by Chargers spokesman Mark Fabiani.
Calling the city’s latest plans “misguided” and “doomed,” Fabiani made the rounds of the local media yesterday, making it clear that there was nothing left to negotiate.
The mayor’s surrogates have also been active, assuring people that the city did have a viable course for getting to a new stadium and suggesting that Mr. Fabiani was the real problem.
The nastiness started out on KPBS MidDay Edition, with Fabiani and City Attorney Jan Goldsmith trading barbs.
Goldsmith told KPBS that the city “hasn’t even started” negotiating with the Chargers over who will pay for what, and that the plans for the new stadium can’t move ahead unless the Chargers are willing to be at the table.
Fabiani Trashes Faulconer
The real punch in the face for Mayor Kevin Faulconer came via an interview with Fabiani on 10News:
We haven’t seen any evidence so far in our dealings with Mayor Faulconer that he is capable of managing such a complex project. Compared to the way the elected officials of Oakland and St. Louis have handled similar possible relocation situations, the San Diego mayor’s approach has been remarkably unsophisticated and, so far, singularly unsuccessful.
The Chargers spokesman went on to trash Faulconer’s ability to get things done:
What’s more, the mayor’s track record while the councilman for the downtown area is not very promising either. As councilman, he was one of the biggest proponents of the ill-fated convention center expansion tax – a tax that the Chargers, among many others, predicted would be declared illegal.
The city, under then-Councilman Faulconer’s leadership, forged ahead anyway – and four years later and $10 million of wasted tax dollars later — the Court of Appeals unanimously tossed out the tax, and now the city is left with no convention center expansion whatsoever.
And Fabiani made it perfectly clear the team wanted no part of what San Diego was offering.
In light of the mayor’s poor history of predicting legal outcomes, we hope fans will understand our position: the Chargers will never be part of the city’s legally dubious effort to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act. City officials are of course free to drive themselves off the cliff into legal oblivion with a half-baked Environmental Impact Report, but the team has no intention of hitching itself to the city’s misguided, doomed scheme.
Team Faulconer Fighting Back
City Councilman Scott Sherman, Citizens Stadium Advisory Group pr guy Tony Manolatos, and political advisor Jason Roe have all spoken with the media, re-enforcing the mayor’s message that the city is reasonable and Fabiani and the Chargers are not.
Here’s a snip from the Union-Tribune:
Faulconer spokesman Matt Awbrey said the Chargers are responsible for the turbulence and that Faulconer wants civility restored.
“Unfortunately, in response to San Diego’s good-faith solutions, they have only offered personal attacks, criticisms and excuses while they continue to work on their L.A. plan,” Awbrey said. “As we prepare to speak directly with the NFL, we hope that cooler heads will prevail.”
The verbal sparring came two days after the Chargers declared a proposed Dec. 15 stadium vote impossible because of environmental approval problems, essentially halting negotiations and dealing a blow to San Diego’s efforts to keep the team from moving to Los Angeles.
One Slim Chance?
There remains one out for the city: no matter what anybody says here in San Diego, the ultimate decision on relocating a team lies in the hands of NFL owners.
…And we’ll close out this coverage by going back to KPBS:
There is nothing left that the city of San Diego can do to solve the stadium issue before the NFL owners vote on whether to allow the Chargers to move to Los Angeles, Chargers spokesman Mark Fabiani said.
“Obviously, we’re out of time for 2015,” Fabiani told KPBS. “And if the NFL owners in their judgment decide to move ahead with Los Angeles in 2015, then, no, it’s hard to see how anything can happen. On the other hand, if for whatever reason the Los Angeles decision was delayed by NFL owners for another year, which is certainly possible — it may not be likely but it’s possible — then, of course, you have another year to work on it.”
Meanwhile, Some Actual News
While everybody has been watching this latest bit of political drama, two major developments occurred that could have a vastly larger impact on the future of San Diego:
- One of Cory Briggs clients won a major case in Fresno, with the Fifth District Court of Appeals ruling that the build/lease option being used by many cities as a work-around for financing new facilities had to be accomplished through a competitive bidding process.
- The Independent Budget Analyst dropped a major report outlining the projected costs and possible methods of financing for bringing the city’s infrastructure up to par. Among the takeaways: consideration of a .25% increase in the local sales tax and the suggestion that $100 million of the revenues raised (by whatever method) be dedicated to increasing the supply of affordable housing.
Justice for Janitors Marks 25 Years
The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and supporters led a march through downtown San Diego on Thursday, commemorating the 25th anniversary of immigrant janitors standing up for their rights in Century City.
Their picket line was attacked by the Los Angeles Police Department. TV cameras were rolling as police clubbed non-violent strikers, discrediting the LAPD’s attempt to portray the situation as self-defense. Two women miscarried, dozens were hospitalized, and 60 strikers and supporters were jailed.
Rather than back down, the striking workers continued to press their claims. And they ultimately won. Other janitors around the country took notice, and a movement was born.
Two of the organizers from the original campaign, Stephen Lerner and Jono Shaffer, explained the significance of these events at Talk Poverty:
The Justice for Janitors campaign succeeded because it relentlessly went after the building owners and financiers at the top of the real estate industry—the people who truly had power over the janitors’ livelihood—not the cleaning companies who were powerless subcontractors. The campaign also exposed an economy that was increasingly using sub-contracting and other schemes to separate and isolate workers from the corporations and companies that were actually in control of their wages, benefits and overall working conditions.
Justice for Janitors became much more than a “union organizing campaign,” it grew into a movement. Its influence and impact extended far beyond the people directly involved in the campaign’s actions. Its success was rooted in its ability to pit the needs of an entire community against the wealth of the real estate industry. The movement penetrated pop culture with Adrian Brody starring in Bread and Roses, a movie based on the Century City Strike. The game show Jeopardy asked contestants, “What is Justice for Janitors?” The campaign was also part of the back-story of the assistant in The Devil Wears Prada. The Justice for Janitors movement became a living example of what was possible—even against the greatest odds.
As I stood on a street corner capturing images of yesterday’s march, I overheard two youngish women saying these “types” shouldn’t be allowed to march on the street.
The moment was one of those times I felt fortunate about my limited ability to vocalize. I felt like screaming, no doubt influenced by the effect of watching events in South Carolina unfold over the preceding twelve hours. (See my coverage here.)
They should have been marveling at how lucky they were to live in country where workers can stand up for their rights. But then again, many Americans believe historically significant labor struggles are no longer occurring.
It’s Juneteenth and news of the end of slavery should be arriving at Fox News studios any minute now.
— David Swanson (@davidcnswanson) June 19, 2015
On This Day: 1846 – The New York Knickerbocker Club played the New York Club in the first baseball game at the Elysian Field, Hoboken, NJ. It was the first organized baseball game. 1865 – The emancipation of slaves was proclaimed in Texas. 1912 – Eight-hour work day adopted for federal employees.
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