San Diego Chargers stadium plan heads to November ballot

SAN DIEGO (AP) — San Diego voters will decide in November on the Chargers’ proposal to raise local hotel taxes for a downtown stadium and convention facility.

City Clerk Liz Maland announced Saturday that the football team had secured enough valid signatures to qualify the measure for the 2016 ballot.

If approved, the proposal could keep the team from moving to the Los Angeles area, where it has been approved by NFL ownership to join the Rams in a new stadium being built in Inglewood.

Chargers chairman Dean Spanos expressed appreciation to those who signed petitions. “We gathered more than 110,000 signatures in less than six weeks, an extraordinary result that demonstrates the high level of community interest in a new multi-use stadium and convention center facility downtown,” Spanos said.

The initiative would raise the city’s tax on hotel stays from 12.5 percent to 16.5 percent to pay for a $1.8 billion stadium and convention center in downtown’s East Village, next to Petco Park, the San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper reported (http://bit.ly/29AOdEH).

The Chargers would contribute $650 million for the stadium portion of the project, using $300 million from the NFL and $350 million from the team, licensing payments, sales of “stadium-builder” ticket options to fans, and other private sources.

The city would raise more than $1.1 billion by selling bonds that would be paid back with the higher hotel tax revenues. That $1.1 billion would cover the city’s $350 million contribution to building the football stadium, $600 million to build the adjoining convention-center annex, and $200 million for land, the newspaper reported.

A coalition of opponents that includes politicians, business organizations and neighborhood groups has vowed to defeat the initiative.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer, a Republican, has raised many questions about the measure, but he hasn’t yet taken a position.

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Information from: The San Diego Union-Tribune, http://www.utsandiego.com

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