Stadium Watch: Week in review April 11-15
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — This week, the stadium issue finally went public and what we learned is the two competing initiatives are preparing to wage war on each other to get voter support.
We also learned a city attorney memo reviewed one plan and found it to be seriously flawed and open to court challenges.
The week opened with Attorney Cory Briggs, who authored the Citizens’ Plan for San Diego, pushing his plan for a Convention Center annex with or without a stadium.
He said the chargers share some elements of his plan and they’ve been meeting to reconcile differences. Although both would raise the hotel tax, the Chargers see too many problems with his plan.
"The Chargers think they need some public money, they’re trying to fill in what they believe to be a gap in our initiative. That’s fine if they can persuade the voters, that’s great," Briggs said.
On Tuesday, the pressure began to build to get Brigg’s to withdraw his plan. City Attorney Jan Goldsmith wrote a caustic memo, calling the plan legally flawed.
Three weeks previous, Goldsmith had met with Citizens’ Plan lawyers to get the legal problems resolved.
"I asked the lawyers, give me some response, maybe there’s something we’re missing. They didn’t give us a thing. The only thing they asked was, hey hold off on this, give us a chance, and I kind of figured maybe they’re gonna drop it," Goldsmith said.
Getting no response, the city attorney went public with his memo.
"Nobody in this initiative is looking out for the city, the city and the taxpayers are hanging out to dry," Goldsmith added.
Briggs saw the memo as pressure to drop his initiative, leaving only the Chargers initiative on the November ballot.
But Briggs held his ground.
"There’s nothing illegal about the Citizen’s Plan, that’s the bottom line," Briggs said.
On Wednesday, Briggs got into a spat with the Tourism Marketing District (TMD) when he said the two had settled his lawsuit, challenging the TMD raising the hotel tax without a vote of the people.
"I made sure that the TMD was comfortable with me at least saying that we had an agreement," Briggs said.
That statement was followed by this statement from TMD Board Chair Bill Evans.
"The TMD directors have not taken any action in regards to a settlement. We have had and will continue to have, productive conversations but there has been no action taken by the board."
Thursday brought the first public forum on these competing initiatives. Briggs reaffirmed his intention to put his plan on the ballot and he put the Chargers on notice.
"Chargers, if you want to build in conjunction with a convention center, no problem. There’s just one condition, you gotta bring your checkbook. You won’t get the publics checkbook," Briggs said.
Briggs promised a vigorous campaign. Chargers stadium point man, Fred Maas, said the Chargers are prepared to make their case.
"Ultimately you have to make your case, and it needs to be reasonable to get people to support it, and so we’ve worked very hard with groups around the community, and tried to come up with the best proposal that we could," Maas said.
The Chargers will begin collection signatures on April 23. Four days later, the Citizens’ Plan will turn in its signatures. By mid-July, we’ll officially have competing initiatives quality for November.