Supreme Court adds roadblock to Chargers race to November ballot - KUSI News - San Diego, CA

Supreme Court adds roadblock to Chargers race to November ballot

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SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — There's a new development on the stadium front and it's a big one.

The two stadium initiatives expected to be on the ballot in November will require approval by a two-thirds vote.

This greatly lessens the chance these initiatives will be approved, and if not, Los Angeles may be the Chargers only alternative.

The stadium plans by the Chargers and the Briggs Citizen's plan chose the Citizen's Initiative route because it's a 50 percent vote, affirmed by an appellate court ruling in March.

Related Link: CA Supreme Court mandates two-thirds vote for tax increases

But the state Supreme Court decided to review that ruling and aside the simply majority vote.

A lot of attorneys believe the court will reverse the lower court, citing Prop 13 and 218, both of which require a two-thirds vote to increase taxes.

Others said those propositions limit tax increases by governments, not citizens.

While we wait for a decision, City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said absent further court rulings, we plan to return to well-established law, requiring two-thirds voter approval.

The Chargers have always assumed that a two-thirds vote is required and that has not changed. Their big selling point is the tax paid by visitors, not voters.

"Ultimately you have to make the case and it needs to be reasonable to get enough people to support it," Fred Maas said in April.

Also in April, Goldsmith dealt another blow to the Cory Briggs plan, calling it legally flawed. He tried to negotiate changes without success.

"Nobody in this initiative is looking out for the city, the city and the taxpayers are hanging out to dry," Goldsmith said.

Briggs dismissed the criticism and went forward with his Citizen's Plan, banking on a simply majority vote, which is now in doubt.

"There's nothing illegal about the Citizen's Plan. That's the bottom line," Briggs said.

The other problem here is appellate reviews take time, months or ever years to decide. Even if the case is expedited, we're not likely to get a decision before the election.

Until the court decides, the tax thresholds is a two-thirds vote in the law of the land.

In the meantime, both initiatives have yet to qualify for the November ballot, though they likely will. The Registrar's Office is still verifying signatures.

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