Emails about NFL stadium at 10th Avenue Marine Terminal stirs up mayoral race

Carl DeMio, Bob Filner react to revelation

SAN DIEGO - An email thread about a proposal to locate an NFL stadium at the site of the 10th Avenue Marine Terminal stirred up the San Diego mayoral race Wednesday.

In the emails obtained and published online by KPBS, U-T San Diego CEO John Lynch told a commissioner with the Port of San Diego, which operates the cargo shipping facility -- that he has made "significant progress" in pushing for the port site "with labor, Chargers, County, business, Navy and one of the mayoral candidates."

The newspaper in January ran a front-page editorial suggesting a massive development project for the area that would include a new playing facility for the Chargers, an indoor arena and other improvements. The city has been working for a couple of years to locate a new stadium in the East Village, about a mile away from the cargo shipping facility.

The 10th Avenue Marine Terminal sits on prime piece of real estate -- 96 acres on the water, just steps from the Convention Center, the Gaslamp Quarter and hotels.

The U-T proposal faces major hurdles, including the U.S. Navy, the Coastal Commission and a 24-year lease with one of the Port's biggest tenants, Dole, who recently signed a long-term lease with the Port.

The statement by Lynch prompted one of the candidates for mayor, Rep. Bob Filner, D-San Diego, to demand that his opponent, Councilman Carl DeMaio, disclose his "correspondence and meetings regarding the 10th Avenue Marine Terminal." He made the same request of Lynch and U-T San Diego co-owner Doug Manchester.

"Today's revelation by KPBS that Doug Manchester and John Lynch have 'made significant progress' in promoting their plan to develop the 10th Avenue Marine Terminal 'with one of the mayoral candidates' shines a spotlight on the key issue in this mayoral race," Filner said.

"If they think they have one of the mayoral candidates, then it has to be Mr. DeMaio," Filner added.

The newspaper has endorsed DeMaio since the primary campaign. A spokesman for his campaign did not specifically state whether he would release the information.

"Instead of focusing on ideas to create jobs, Congressman Filner chooses to issue yet another wild conspiracy theory," said K.B. Forbes of the DeMaio campaign. "As the congressman knows, Carl DeMaio has never supported the waterfront stadium proposal."

DeMaio denied he was the candidate Lynch referred to in the email and said he opposes a stadium at the 10th Avenue Marine Terminal.

"I've been very consistent about that. You can put a stadium anywhere; you can't put a deep water port anywhere," DeMaio said.

10News' media partner Investigative Newsource has found a nearly 10-year relationship between Lynch/Manchester and DeMaio, including $150,000 in donations from Manchester and more than $38,000 in free radio time from Lynch to DeMaio's political committee in 2004 and 2005.

Lynch or Manchester did not offer any comment as of early Wednesday evening.

An editor's note in the U-T editorial promoting the stadium plan stated Manchester "no longer owns the hotels adjacent to the existing Convention Center."

Manchester sold his hotels that sit near the Marine Terminal, but federal records showed in return, he received hundreds of millions of dollars in preferred stock in the hotel conglomerate that bought them.

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