Stadium, Hotel Room Tax Measure Undergoes Revisions, Additions

There's a new twist in the politics surrounding the Chargers stadium standoff -- a rewritten ballot measure aimed not only at that issue, but the future of San Diego's convention center and tourism industry.

It all starts with activist attorney Cory Briggs, whose lawsuits involving the convention center have kept the city over a barrel.

His citizens’ initiative has a lot of moving parts, especially when it comes to money to grease the wheels driven by big economic engines.

"A convention center is now made possible off the waterfront,” Briggs said in an interview Friday. “Because a deal with the Chargers is now made possible with an exemption that only the citizens can give. This seems to be a huge step forward."

Briggs was referring the idea of voters granting a new stadium in Mission Valley a total exemption from state environmental reviews.

In the first version of his measure, released last week, he offered an East Village stadium and convention center facility, favored by the Chargers,

Unchanged is re-jiggering of the city's hotel room tax structure by hiking the current rate of five cents on the dollar and redistributing the mulitimillion-dollar proceeds among the city's general fund, tourism marketing, the convention center and other needs.

But the mayor's office is not on board with the initiative.

And his stadium advisers are skeptical that voters will fully grasp it enough to sign petitions and market ballots for it.

"You've got to keep the issues narrow -- otherwise, you're going to lose them,” said Tony Manolatos, spokesman for the stadium advisory group. “They're either not going to vote, or they're going to vote no. And everything I know about this measure seems really difficult to understand, to peel the layers back."

Meantime, yet to be resolved are conflicting views over whether public funding is off the table for the stadium projects.

Initiative petitions for Briggs’ updated proposal should hit the streets in about three weeks.

His goal is 75,000 signatures to qualify for next June's ballot.

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