San Diego Chargers Chairman Dean Spanos said the team is mulling its options, after city voters firmly rejected a proposed hotel tax hike – Measure C -- intended to finance a dual-purpose downtown stadium with convention facilities.
“In terms of what comes next for the Chargers, it’s just too early to give you an answer,” Spanos said in a team statement issued Nov. 9. “We are going to diligently explore and weigh our options, and do what is needed to maintain our options, but no decision will be announced until after the football season concludes and no decision will be made in haste.”
Options previously discussed by local officials include the possibility that the Chargers could return to talks on a renovation or replacement of the existing Qualcomm Stadium in Mission Valley. Another possibility is that the Chargers will exercise an option to relocate to Inglewood and play in a stadium being developed by Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kroenke.
The Chargers’ proposal, Measure C on the Nov. 8 ballot, called for a net 4 percent hike in current hotel taxes, from 12.5 to 16.5 percent, and it needed two-thirds of voters’ support to pass. Measure C was defeated by a vote of 168,677 (approximately 57 percent) to 127,433 (43 percent), according to initial results from the county registrar.
City voters also rejected Measure D, proposed by a citizen coalition that included attorney Cory Briggs and former councilmember Donna Frye, by a vote of 167,792 (59.6 percent) to 113,536 (40.4 percent). That measure would have raised hotel taxes by a net 3 percent, to 15.5 percent, to fund potential future projects including a non-contiguous downtown convention center expansion or redevelopment of the Qualcomm Stadium site. Funds also might have gone toward a downtown stadium or dual-purpose project, but only after a separate future public vote.
In its own statement, the non-profit San Diego County Taxpayers Association, which opposed Measures C and D, called for more public discussion on ways to keep the Chargers in San Diego while protecting taxpayers.
“This was never about defeating the Chargers, or the individuals who crafted Measure D,” the association said on Nov. 9. “This was about protecting San Diego taxpayers from two measures that were crafted without any input from taxpayers.”
“The Chargers have made wonderful contributions to our community in the form of charitable giving, and certainly enjoyment of the fans,” the statement said. “We should work together on next steps.”
Also on Nov. 8., voters effectively turned down Measure A, a half-cent countywide sales tax proposed by San Diego Association of Governments to fund road and other transportation improvements. It needed two-thirds support to pass, but received Yes votes from 57 percent (385,700 to 290,543).
Also defeated at the polls was Measure B, the countywide proposal that would have cleared the way for the 1,746-home Lilac Hills Ranch development near Escondido. It lost by a vote of 409,130 (64.2 percent) to 227,993 (35.8 percent).