Stadium Watch: New Chargers plan opposition - KUSI News - San Diego, CA

Stadium Watch: New Chargers plan opposition

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Chamber President and CEO Jerry Sanders Chamber President and CEO Jerry Sanders

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) - The San Diego Chamber has officially taken a position on a downtown stadium with Convention Center space.

The Chamber Board supports it while maintaining its original position of expansion at the waterfront.

This is the Chamber's way of saying the city needs more Convention Center space and it needs to keep the Chargers.

The Chamber is on the fence, like a lot of others, because they haven't seen the Chargers initiative plan yet. When that happens, look for the Chamber to re-evaluate its position.

Chamber President and CEO Jerry Sanders said he's talked with Dean Spanos and to Fred Maas, who developed the Chargers initiative, before taking it to the Chamber Board. The support, for now, is preliminary.

"Once the documents come out and analyze them, I think you'll see a different position but right now we're completely open to it, and I think we think it makes a lot of sense," Sanders said.

The Chamber wants to further evaluate the Chargers initiative once it's released to the public before making a final decision.

"When details are announced, when we actually have some hard and fast details, and we start seeing renderings and start seeing some of that I think some excitement will build I think people see this as an opportunity, that pathway toward success," Sanders said.

While the Chamber's position for now is support expansion at the Waterfront, and the East Village, Sanders comments would seem to indicate an endorsement of the East Village stadium plan is imminent.

"We left the door open to become a more active part of that," Sanders added.

Meantime, an opposition campaign appears to be developing. The hoteliers, still adamant about expansion at the Waterfront, also worry about hiking the hotel tax by 6 percent, saying San Diego will lose a competitive advantage over other cities for convention business.

"It's always a valid point from a hotel perspective, I mean they worry about higher transit occupancy taxes, 4 percent actually over the TMD amount, but it does put us on par with Anaheim, L.A. And San Francisco," Sanders said.

The TMD amount, 2 percent, is being collected but cannot be spend because it's a pending court case.

Sanders said the Chamber has had some conversations with members of the hotel industry saying they see some value in this plan.

"I think what's important is the hotel people have been brought in for the first time and that's really important," Sanders said.

But members of the hotel industry we've talked to oppose the initiative and may campaign against it.

The TMD, or Tourism Marketing District, will hold an emergency meeting Friday to unify their position with the hoteliers. In mid-April, the downtown partnership will host a breakfast panel on the Chargers initiative.



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