Now … the game is REALLY on.
The San Diego Registrar of Voters confirmed on Saturday that the Chargers were able to gather enough signatures to put their citizens’ initiative for a Downtown stadium/convention center on the November ballot in 2016.
A random sampling of the 110,380 signatures turned in on June 10 showed the projected total of valid signatures was 78,964, giving them 12,517 more than necessary to put the initiative before voters. The official title of the initiative, “San Diego Integrated Convention Center Expansion/Stadium and Tourism Initiative,” is now in the hands of the San Diego City voting public.
“The entire Chargers organization is grateful to all of those who helped qualify our initiative for the November 2016 ballot," said Chargers Chairman Dean Spanos in a statement. "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. I would again like to thank all of those who signed the petition along with the fan groups, labor organizations, and businesses large and small that helped with our effort.”
The citizens’ initiative would allow for a new NFL-caliber facility for the Chargers and conventional center expansion in the East Village that would be built with a combination of public and private funding. The National Football League and San Diego Chargers would provide a total of $650 million while the rest of the estimated $1.7 billion would come from raising a transient occupancy tax to 16.5% on San Diego hotel rooms (a 4% increase).
One of the several questions now is how much voting support the initiative will need. Another court case has muddied the waters and might allow for a simple majority of voters to approve the plan. If not, the proposal will only pass with two-thirds support.
The Chargers will now start a costly campaign to try and gain as much public support for their plan as possible. If it loses the vote in November the Chargers will have the option to try and put together another proposal to build a stadium somewhere in San Diego or accept a standing offer to be a second team in the Los Angeles market by moving to a new facility in Inglewood that will be constructed by Rams owner Stan Kroenke.