Measure C, the Chargers ballot initiative for a Downtown San Diego stadium/convention center hybrid, has earned an important endorsement: the San Diego Mayor.
Mayor Kevin Faulconer's Deputy Chief of Staff Matt Awbry confirmed the mayor has come to support the initiative, which will be on the November ballot.
Chargers executives told Faulconer they would cover any cost overrides for the construction or land purchases. They also guarunteed to him that the city's general fund money would not be used.
Executives also told Faulconer, according to his office, that they would give the city revenue generated from non-NFL events.
The Mayor told NBC 7 San Diego the letter with the promises is not a legally binding leter.
When asked how he would hold the Chargers accountable if the letter was not legally binding, Faulconer said that part of that was ensuring the protections were in writing.
"There's no uncertainty about what was agreed to," he said in an interview. "And I'm going to hold chargers accountable if Measure c passes. If they don't follow provisions, they won't have my support and it wont move forward, plain and simple."
"This is a public document and commitment; we can hold them accountable and I intend to do exactly that," he later added.
Faulconer said in a statement the reason it took so long for him to come out and support the measure was due to his long talks with the Chargers, experts and the community.
"I was driving a hard bargain because my job is to make
sure we are looking in best interest of city not for just this year but for decades to come," he said.
One opponent of Measure C has been Comic-Con International, which has in the past supported a contiguous Convention Center. However, Faulconer said he has spoken with the convention and is confident the city's relationship with them will continue "for years and years to come."
However, a lot of unanswered questions about Measure C still remain. Measure C does not specify many logistics, including financing details, eliminated parking, the design (which would block some waterfront views), among other concerns.
At previous events supporting Measure C, fans criticized the mayor for taking so long to decide whether he supported the plan or not.
“It is Mayor Faluconer's obligation to make sure the public knows all about this measure,” said Matt Awbrey, the Mayor’s Deputy Chief of Staff. “That's why he's bringing people to the table to scrub this measure. The Mayor is committed to making sure the public has all the facts. There needs to be vetting of the financials behind it. It would lead to the largest bond offering in the city's history. We need to have it reviewed to make San Diego's fiscal health is protected.”
The Chargers made public their 110-page citizens’ initiative in late March. Since then Awbrey says the Mayor’s financial experts have been working to verify the details of the proposal.
Opponents of the plan will have a news conference Monday, unveiling a new independent study that estimates the plan could cost taxpayers $3.4 billion over 30 years.
Most recently, the San Diego Downtown Partnership endorsed the measure.