Chargers Fans Must Vote on Measure C

Tuesday is a big day for voters in San Diego as they not only have to pick a presidential candidate, but decide the fate of their hometown Chargers. They must vote on a stadium initiative, Ballot Measure C, which will help keep their beloved team. Team owner Dean Spanos is looking to get his team a new stadium in an ideal area for the NFL. San Diego is a tourist attraction because of the weather, beaches, and lifestyle. Commissioner Roger Goodell already has plans for the Chargers to host a Super Bowl if the initiative passes.

Measure C garnered the signatures of over 110,000 San Diego natives. It will do two things if it passes with over 66 percent of votes by the locals. First, it will create visitor’s tax of four cents on the dollar per hotel stay to pay for the new stadium and convention center. There will be an additional tax of two more cents to fund Tourism and Marketing District regional promotions. There have been other teams that have used this approach before and successfully got a stadium built or refurbished.

In other words, San Diego locals will not be paying for the development or operation of the new facility. People that come in from out of town will be the one’s experiencing the tax because they are the ones that have to stay in hotels. The hotel tax inflation will go from 12 and hike up to just over 16 percent. The Chargers and NFL will spend $650 million in a private investment to complete the stadium.

The second part of Measure C is there will be a vision for a new governing structure to oversee the design, building, operation and upkeep of the facility. The new plan would not entail any general fund dollars. The new initiative would help relieve the current general fund of about $18 million per year.

Yes, this initiative is esoteric, but this is just the beginning. The new proposed downtown stadium would seat 61,500 people and would cost $1.8 billion. In the event of a Super Bowl being hosted in San Diego, the Chargers could seat over 72,000 people. Qualcomm stadium cost over $27 million when it was built as times have certainly changed. The “convadium”, the name for the stadium project, would include a convention center with a 130,000 square-foot exhibit hall.

In a recent poll conducted by the San Diego Union-Tribune, it showed only 45 percent of voters are in favor of Measure C. If the votes add up to anything below 50 percent, Spanos might not be so reluctant to keep the Chargers in San Diego. The owner might start looking to other cities to regain leverage or seriously move the Chargers like Art Modell did in 1995 with the Cleveland Browns. If the votes add up to anything over 50 percent but just below 66 percent, this will be a surprise. Again, the recent poll suggests the measure will fail, but the Chargers would be at the mercy of the California Supreme Court. They could approve the tax and allow the stadium to be built or the Chargers would file a lawsuit.


If the votes reach a percentage over 66, it will be deemed a miracle and the Chargers will start the stadium operations.

It is unlikely the Chargers even reach 50 percent of votes. The Chargers would have a decision to make on an option given by the Los Angeles Rams. They would need to decide by January 15, 2017 if they would stay in San Diego or try to extend their option to move to LA by a year. Keep in mind, Spanos does not have to leave San Diego any time soon. The Chargers contract in San Diego runs until 2020. They could very well drag this scenario out for the next few years. This scenario is not ideal for anyone as it would only delay the inevitable.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer believes it is important for the Chargers to remain in San Diego. He said, “I believe it’s very important for San Diegans to have professional sports — it brings us together just like music, arts, strong cultural institutions –professional sports are one of the building blocks of a world- class city.” Faulconer believes it will keep the city unified and enhance the future in San Diego.

Philip Rivers echoed those same sentiments as he looked back on Peyton Manning’s retirement speech. He stated, “Voting yes on Measure C gives the Chargers the best chance to remain the San Diego Chargers and to play here in San Diego.” Rivers recognizes the special bond between a team and a community.

The percentage of approvals for Measure C will be imperative for the Chargers. The team has been there for decades as the fans have seen stars like Lance Alworth, Dan Fouts, Charlie Joiner, LaDainian Tomlinson, Junior Seau, Antonio Gates, and Rivers. At halftime against the Titans, LT and Fouts encouraged fans to vote yes on the plan. It is a small market, but San Diegans certainly love their team. If the recent poll taken by the Tribune is accurate, the Chargers might be Los Angeles bound.

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