Stadium Watch: Downtown vs. Mission Valley
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – The Chargers have always said a stadium will not get built in San Diego without support from the mayor, elected officials and the hotel industry.
Right now, their initiative has neither.
In fact, a majority of council members and the hotel industry are initially opposing it, some in rather strong language.
It’s not that the opposition doesn’t want to keep the Chargers in town, but how do you balance the unfunded needs of the city against the needs of keeping the Chargers in town?
The mayor hasn’t taken a position on the Chargers plan, but a majority of sitting council members and candidates for council are uniformly negative in their comments, including Council Member Scott Sherman who said raising the tax for a stadium will affect the city’s ability to enhance infrastructure.
"If we leave the tax where it is it won’t affect anything because its the same if we raise that tax, and what they’re saying if we raise that tax and put in all that money into convention center and stadium its still not going to affect where we were," Sherman said.
Where we are is $5 billion in unfunded needs for infrastructure. Then there’s return on investment, expansion at the Waterfront or the East Village.
April Boling, a former chair of the county taxpayers association who was involved in pension reform, says expanding the existing Convention Center it the way to go.
"That’s going to get us the best return on investment which is what I care about is the return we’re going to be getting, and we get that from a contiguous Convention Center which is not what we’re going to get in this plan," Boling said.
Sources at the TMD tell KUSI the hospitality industry, including the hotelier’s strongly oppose a downtown stadium with Convention Center space and will likely campaign against it.
The tourism marketing district, which promotes San Diego, said the Chargers initiative only guarantees them one percent of the tax, not 2 percent. They not get.
And $350 million will go to the stadium.
"I’m concerned about the 350-million of taxpayer dollars going in, there are many other needs that we have in the city but on the other hand we’d like the chargers to stay and, I would have preferred to see something where there was less taxpayer money going in," Boling said.
Council Member Sherman said the $350 million that was going into Mission Valley was paid for by eliminating the millions in annual maintenance at Qualcomm.
"So with this new proposal it seems to me that they want 350-million from the city plus maintain all of our obligations and debt at the Qualcomm site," Sherman said.
Chargers stadium point man Fred Maas said he’s disappointed about the opposition, but it was anticipated.
He continues to work through these issues but remains optimistic that when the voters hear the extensive campaign, explaining the initiative will not cost residents a dime. It will gather support.
That’s the fundamental question: where are the voters on the city’s needs versus the Chargers needs?
A recent poll shows 54 percent in favor of a downtown stadium. That’s 13 points from where the Chargers need to be and the opposition appears to be growing.