‘Citizens Plan’ Ballot Campaign Surges Toward Signature Goal

The petition drive to get the so-called 'Citizens Plan' initiative on the ballot is closing in on its goal.

Big money and hot-button sales pitches have been fueling its momentum.

The initiative is aimed at hiking the city's hotel room-tax rate, to generate more money for public safety and services.

But there are some other moving parts.

And in the minds of many petition signers, they boil down to saving the Chargers and Comic-Con.

On Thursday, at Liberty Station, the “The Mighty 1090" radio station staged it sixth annual "Clean Your Drawers" clothing drive to benefit the Alpha Project for the Homeless.

But the Citizens Plan campaign was the other beneficiary

It's now collected 45,000 valid signatures from registered voters -- more than two-thirds of the 66,000 needed to qualify the measure for next year's city ballot cycle.

But even if the NFL delays a franchise relocation decision, and the measure passes, that won’t guarantee a new Chargers stadium in East Village next door to a Convention Center annex, a potential overflow venue for Comic-Con crowds.

Voters interviewed by NBC 7 conceded the initiative may be too little, too late to save the Chargers.

But if things turn out otherwise, why not throw a "Hail Mary"?

"I'm not even a Chargers fan, I'm a Chiefs fan,” confessed Clairemont resident Martin Ropp. “ But I live in San Diego and I think it's great for the city to keep the Chargers here in San Diego, absolutely. I can't imagine living in a city that's not an NFL city. It's great for the city."

As for the team and NFL, "I think their silence is saying a lot,” said Bankers Hill resident Garrett Hays. “They're not really giving us anything to be hopeful for, unfortunately. So yeah, time will tell."

December 28th is the deadline for submitting the ballot petitions.

For the signatures gathered so far, the "validity" rate has been 72 percent.

The campaign is backed by a treasury of nearly $450,000.

While the Citizens Plan has the Chargers' seal of approval, they're not addressing rampant speculation that Sunday's season-ending game will be their last here in San Diego.

Councilman David Alvarez endorsed the measure.

However, Comic-Con has not.

So far, no organized opposition has surfaced, but that could change if it qualifies for the ballot.

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