Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
KPBS Midday Edition

San Diego Taxpayers Association Gets Rebuffed By Chargers

A concept design of a proposed Chargers stadium in downtown San Diego is shown in this undated photo.
Manica Architecture
A concept design of a proposed Chargers stadium in downtown San Diego is shown in this undated photo.

San Diego Taxpayers Association Gets Rebuffed By Chargers
The San Diego County Taxpayers Association is disappointed the Chargers won't meet with them to discuss the team's stadium initiative on the November ballot.
San Diego Taxpayers Association Gets Rebuffed By Chargers
San Diego Taxpayers Association Gets Rebuffed By Chargers GUEST: Erik Anderson, environment reporter, KPBS

Our top story on Midday Edition, the Chargers previewed a video this morning to build support for their stadium plan. The teams $1.8 billion downtown stadium proposal which relies on a big bump in hotel occupancy taxes will go before city voters this November. The San Diego regional Chamber of Commerce recently came out with an endorsement of the Chargers plant but most of city leaders remain either skeptical or silent about the team's stadium initiative. Joining me now is Eric Anderson who attended this morning's video preview. Eric, Welcome picks thank you,. Who organized the meeting and who was there? This was a meeting put together by the urban land initiative. I'm sure they invited the Chargers to come and talk about the proposal. That's what they did for about an hour at the University club downtown. A beautiful view from their, by the way. There is a new video. Can you tell us about it? They previewed a video that they intend to release in about a week or so. It's impressive. It's interesting to watch. It opens with the scenes of colorful scenes, beautiful scenes of San Diego's landscape. It has Dan Faust, a former quarterback narrating the video, talking about his history in San Diego and the team's history in San Diego. And how this will allow the team to move forward in the region. Very much a chance to see from different angles the model or mockup of the stadium structure with the city serving as the backdrop. And talking about the connection. How was it received? It was received very well. I think they were talking to a friendly group there. the urban land Institute is a collection of architects from around the San Diego region. Will we be say it, the public? I got the impression they are putting the final touches on it. It's not completely finished. It's something they expect to unveil in a week or so. The Chargers went to this meeting. You are saying they were most likely invited by the urban land Institute. The Chargers turned down an invitation to prevent their plan to the San Diego County Taxpayers Association what was the Chargers explanation for that? The taxpayers Association had been petitioning the Chargers from a number of months to get them to come in for the panel so they could talk about their 200 page ballot initiative. That's a hefty document that will appear on the ballot in November. They wanted some explanation of the documents, some explanation of the intricacies and some of the assumptions. And what the Chargers came back with was that they respectfully declined the offer to talk in front of the taxpayers group because they did not feel it was a welcoming audience. They felt like they were entering into an arena where they would be criticized unfairly. So they chose not to go in front of the San Diego County Taxpayers Association. The people who are backing the competing citizens initiative, they have already appeared in front of them. The taxpayers Association said it's not going to's top them from doing an analysis of the initiative. There -- they will not have the benefit of talking to the charters about it and if they have questions they were not answer to answer those. They will still do analysis ahead of the election. Talking about, and has happened today, promoting this stadium initiative -- seems like it's been a critical for the Chargers to try to reach out to as many civic groups and organizations as they can before November. Yes. The timetable is not long here for the Chargers. They have a few months to convince more than two thirds of the voters who will be voting in that election, there will probably be a good turnout because of the presidential election -- they need to convince two thirds of those voters to support their project. They are doing it in an environment where they are competing for attention with another similar project that is also going to be on the ballot and also competing for votes one would think if you were a campaign strategists that you would want to talk to as many people as possible in advance of that. To try to get your message out as much and as clearly as possible. And answer questions when they come up. You kept emphasizing the two thirds. There has been -- there have been city leaders who came out and have proclaimed that it's going to need two third majority vote of the voters in order to pass this stadium initiative. There had been some question about that because of a court ruling earlier this year that if a tax increase is put on the ballot through an initiative that does not begin with the city Council or the Board of Supervisors, that begins with citizens, so to speak, it only needs a majority of the voters to pass. But apparently city leaders come like our city attorney, don't buy that. There was a court ruling in favor of that 50+ one idea. Than it was another ruling that overturned that idea. The city attorney took the matter into his office. They reviewed the court rulings and looked at it. It is their opinion that the Chargers initiative and the citizens initiative, two competing stadium ideas on the November ballot, both need two thirds majority in order to pass. 66.6% of all the votes cast need to be cast in favor of those measures for the measure to pass. One thing we should remark on here is as I said in the open, many city leaders have remained skeptical about this. Mayor Faulconer has remained basically silent about this saying that he is going to take a very close look at this proposal and will come out with some kind of opinion in the future. And there's really no pressure for him to do anything at all I suppose. If he decided he wanted to stay on the sidelines, that could be an option. But you would think it would behoove the Chargers to try to get as much public support and as much widespread support as they can. I suspect call --, although I can't say for sure, there were probably be movement in that area. They were probably be discussions again, I suspect I don't know for sure, just because of the threshold, the balance is so high. The Chargers have such a high bar to jump over if they want to get this approved. I have been speaking with Eric Anderson. Thank you.

Chargers officials declined last week to meet with the San Diego County Taxpayers Association later this month saying the team didn't expect the organization to give the project an objective review.

The ballot measure is more than 200 pages long. The taxpayers association said it wants a better understanding of the proposal's content and economic assumptions so it can make a recommendation to voters.

"Since the Chargers have declined the invitation, that doesn't stop us from doing the independent analysis that we do, otherwise, on any policy proposal," said Haney Hong, San Diego County Taxpayer Association president.

The taxpayers association is reviewing the Citizens' Plan for San Diego, a competing ballot measure for November. Citizens' Plan backer Cory Briggs has met with the taxpayers association board twice.