Opponents of downtown stadium plan launch petition drive

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — In November, San Diegans will decide whether they’re in favor of building a new stadium for the Chargers downtown and increasing the hotel room tax.

On Thursday, a petition drive was launched to try and get more people against the idea.

Tens of thousands of visitors are in San Diego right now for Comic-Con and they’re spending a pretty penny in town.

"Between hotel, airfare and food and beverages, probably about $1,500," said Paula Hernandez, who is here for Comic-Con.

She said a big chunk of that amount went to hotel costs.

"It’s about $250 plus tax per night plus parking … it’s almost $300. I guess with tax and parking," Hernandez said.

KUSI’s Elizabeth Alvarez asked Hernandez if she would come back to San Diego for Comic-Con if the hotel room tax went up.

Her response, "I’m not quite sure about that because the hotel tax is pretty expensive."

And that’s part of the concern one group has with the Chargers downtown stadium plan.

Their plan calls to increase the hotel room tax to 16.5 percent to pay for the stadium.

And now, the "No Downtown Stadium Jobs and Streets First" committee has launched a petition drive.

"The Chargers 1 Billion dollar plan is on the ballot as you know, there is no taking that off … So the petition is a way to ignite support to get a sensible stadium plan.  Which a lot of us believe that the Mayor and Supervisor Roberts put together in Mission Valley," said Tony Manolatos of the No Downtown Stadium Jobs and Streets First.

This new group believes a hotel room tax hike could cripple the local economy by keeping conventions and tourists away.

But not everyone agrees. The hotel room tax increase could be anywhere from $30 to $50 for example.  And some folks said that’s not much of a difference to them. 

"People would still stay local … I’m sure they’d be a little disgruntled about it," said Tricia Murphy, a Comic-Con attendee.

One Comic-Con is staying downtown from Riverside.

"I’m such a huge fan of the Chargers so anything to help keep them here in San Diego would be awesome," said Joel Jones.

This new committee said it’s not just the hotel tax their worried about. 

The Chargers stadium plan also includes building a convention center annex, which those opposed say is not what the city or Convention Center attendees need.

"So Comic-Con and other large conventions have been very clear, they do not want an annex they want an expansion of the existing convention center," Manolatos said.

In the end, the opposing says the Chargers plan is too risky.

Meanwhile, another study on the stadium issue is expected to come to light in the near future.

Categories: Local San Diego News