Chargers countdown: Getting Chargers initiative on the ballot - KUSI News - San Diego, CA

Chargers countdown: Getting Chargers initiative on the ballot

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Local Attorney Bob Ottilie Local Attorney Bob Ottilie

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) - Mayor Kevin Faulconer told KUSI Monday he anticipated a meeting with the Chargers this week.

The mayor has said he's open to discuss whatever the Chargers propose.

We know the Chargers never accepted the Mission Valley deal that's on the table.

But will there be a new deal and what might that involve?

It would appear the only alternative to the mayor's plan is a citizens initiative, much like what the Chargers did in Carson and the Rams did in Inglewood.

The Chargers never accepted the mayor's Mission Valley plan, believing it's Environmental Impact Report was legally suspect and would be tied up in the courts for years.

Local Attorney Bob Ottilie, who opposes any public money for a private business, said where the Chargers to do a citizen's initiative, it would bypass the entire environmental process.

"If this goes to the ballot you will see more money spent on this campaign that has ever been spent on a campaign in San Diego before," Ottilie said.

Ottilie is concerned about the mayor saying he'll entertain any proposal the Chargers bring to the table.

"The mayor's out trying to negotiate a deal when he's told us it's not his call it's the voters call, and yet he's crafting the very thing that's gonna be presented to the voters," Ottilie said.

"We've got the cards now but the leadership of our team which is the city attorney, the mayor and Mr. Roberts seem to be saying we can give you even more," he said.

But isn't the public contribution capped at $350 million?

"My guess is he's gonna be flexible on that but caped or not it's a ton of taxpayer money," Ottilie said.

A citizen's initiative is a lengthy process, meaning the negotiations will have to be compressed because a ballot measure would have to be in the hands of the registrar by as early as the end of March.

Here's how the process works:

  • A Notice of Intention is filed to circulate a signature drive by the end of March.
  • In mid-April, the petitions begin circulating to gather about 100 thousand signatures.
  • In June they need to be turned in for certification.
  • The initiative then goes to City Council to either adopt it or send it to the voters.

"Presumably they put it on the ballot cause they've told us they're not gonna do this deal without voter approval," Ottilie said.

Financially, the Mission Valley plan is possible since the NFL gifted the Chargers with an extra $100 million to keep the team in San Diego.

  • The league contributes $300 million.
  • The team contributes $350 million.
  • The city and county adds another $350 million.

That's a billion dollars toward a $1.1 billion stadium.

Negotiations will determine if those numbers change.

"We ought to be lowering our former proposal because we're now in the driver's seat," Ottilie said.

An initiative is not without risk. The environmental community is a force in San Diego and bypassing the environmental process will surely cost votes.

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