Chargers unveil Citizens’ Initiative for stadium deal


As the Chargers move forward with their efforts to remain in San Diego, the team has pulled the sheet off the legal process that will be used to position the effort for an up-or-down vote of the electorate.

A “Citizens’ Initiative” has been finalized. If successful, the team will have the green light for a new stadium in San Diego.

“We are excited to report that our Citizens’ Initiative has been finalized,” Chargers chairman Dean Spanos said in a team-issued release.  “We believe this is a great opportunity for the community to come together and create something special: an iconic, modern multi-purpose venue while also supporting and expanding our tourism and convention industries.”

The ballot box opens on November 8 (the same day as the presidential election), if the Chargers can gather 66,447 signatures through a petition drive by the middle of June.

The city’s contribution of $350 million toward the $1 billion proposed stadium would come from a hotel tax, and the effort to gather signatures for the petition can begin three weeks after publication of the Citizens’ Initiative in the local newspaper.

The real question is whether the effort requires a majority vote or a supermajority of two thirds of the ballots cast.

“There is a brand new California Court of Appeal decision that will help determine the answer to these questions,” the team explains in a question-and-answer session regarding various issues, including the 2/3 majority. “That decision is now being carefully evaluated by the San Diego City Attorney along with lawyers all across California. In the meantime, our goal is to win the support of as many voters as possible.”

The percentage required may go a long way toward resolving the issue. Then again, given the current national mood regarding the subsidization of sports venues, the initiative may not even get to 50 percent.

If the effort fails, the chances of the team moving to Los Angeles increase, dramatically.

75 responses to “Chargers unveil Citizens’ Initiative for stadium deal

  1. Still don’t understand how the hell tax payer dollars get used to build entertainment venue’s, I mean that money should be spent on improving roads and infrastructure, helping 32 rich dudes get richer…

  2. I understand the mindset of the public paying for new stadiums and how ridiculous that is. Taxing the middle-to-low class to pay for a stadium of a billionaire is ridiculous. Unfortunately that’s the economic system we live in.

    However, this way seems to make sense for San Diego. The tax dollars will be raised through tourism, which means the locals shouldn’t feel the burden of financing the new stadium. As a person who loves to visit San Diego I don’t like the extra tax, but I don’t know how the city could not get behind it. You get a new stadium that will attract concerts, you get to keep a professional football team, and it isn’t really going to cost you extra (other than – most likely – jacked up ticket prices).

  3. Hope they don’t pass it. The league makes $12 billion a year in revenue. Build your own stadiums greedy rich …

    Maybe if we had public funds the Chargers would have resigned Brees, Vjax, sproles, turner, weddle, etc

  4. Citizens Initiative is fancy speak for give these poor billionaires ALOT more money or we move. In any other context it is called Extortion. He SD, how about spending $1B on a desalination plant so that those of us in NoCal that were smart enough to settle where the water is, instead of a desert, can wash our cars and water our gardens?

  5. I’m far from an expert, but I would imagine implementing a tax on staying in a hotel would not ‘increase tourism’.

  6. I think the best thing in this deal is that the city gets revenue from non-football events instead of the Chargers. Hello to concerts, soccer matches, motocross, monster trucks, rodeo’s, etc.

  7. Gotta love the tourism industry already throwing shade on this initiative. The guy running the TMD, which collects a 2% surchage(tax) on hotel tax and soon to be ruled illegal, makes $450k/year for marketing San Diego to tourists. That’s right up there with being a weatherman in San Diego.

    Yep, it’s great here.

    Of course he’s going to be unhappy with any deal…he wants to keep his incredibly plum position. 450k for marketing San Diego? You have to be kidding me.

  8. lanflfan says:
    Mar 30, 2016 1:39 PM

    LA doesn’t want the Chargers, leave them in San Diego.

    Seems San Diego doesn’t want them either…

  9. Not to mention the fact that the taxpayer portion is financed through municipal bonds, the interest on which is deductible in calculating Federal tax liability. Therefore, taxpayers from coast to coast foot the bill regardless of whether or not they benefit from the construction of the facility. I know I’m not benefiting from MetLife Stadium in Jersey from where I live a couple thousand miles away. To top it off, the fact that a hotel tax will pay for this while the league is saying the project will boost tourism is ridiculous.

  10. According to Forbes, daddy Alex Spanos real-time wealth as of 3/30/16 is $1.7 billion. Dang, no wonder they need taxpayer help . . . they can barely feed themselves!

  11. Taxpayer money well spent when you consider the revenue a franchise brings in to the metro area. Well spent money on economic development.

  12. 350 million. There are numerous ways to better spend 350 million than on a stadium for a rich guy’s nfl team. Why can’t people see this? Two decades of new NFL stadiums have cost tax payers 7 BILLION while the league pulls in about 10 billion a year in revenue. This is simply corporate welfare. Cities do not need the NFL and the majority of the most popular and best cities for business growth are not NFL cities. The league is fleecing the citizens immensely.

  13. C’mon San Diego! The poor Spanos family just need to make a tad more than the $65M profits of last year for their little $1.52BN business (bought in 1984 for $70M). Is it too much to ask for hundreds of thousand$ of yet more ransom money – er, I mean, public funding? Spanos needs to keep his family in private jets somehow – and levering it from the city treasury is the only thing he’s good at.

  14. …….I can’t wait for the day when CORPORATIONS & conglomerates own the NFL teams and stadiums…’s going to happen. The current younger owners have really screwed up the NFL experience because of pure greed.

  15. pretty ridiculous that the money is coming from a hotel tax if u ask me. imo the people who pay for the stadium should be the ones who reap all the profits and benefits from it. thats right, the fans. san diegons should have to pay the full 1 billion right outta there overstuffed pockets. its not fair to make tourists or mr spanos foot the bill because of theyre greedyness!

  16. The stadium will only be used for 10 NFL games per year, 8 regular season games and 2 preseason games! That’s why if you make the stadium with a convention center, it can be used for multiple events. The city can make money renting the site out with boat shows, comic-con, conventions, etc.

    The only hiccup about conventions in San Diego, it’s not exactly centrally located. So everyone going to San Diego for a convention is only coming from the north or east.

  17. I think it’s a good plan. Noone heading to San Diego for vacation would change plans due to an extra few bucks a day in hotel tax and it might bring in more tourists to offset the cost when you factor in that every new stadium gets a SuperBowl that brings in tens of millions into the local economy. Not to mention the construction jobs it will create. There is public gain from stadiums, to think otherwise is naïve. To think any owner, or anyone for that matter, would turn down 350 million in exchange for what amounts to a minority share of their business is even more naïve.

  18. More evidence of how right wing the NFL owners are. Pay with your real estate money Spanos. You own almost half of the bay area and SD. Of course they want people from other cities to come pay for their stadium.

  19. My great uncle lived in Escondido before he died and Alex Spanos was one of his neighbors, so he said. He confirmed that the Spanos own pretty much all of the things in the San Diego metro area worth owning. Selfish tools.

  20. Bernie will make sure they get one! After all, it’s not fair for another city to have a stadium and this one doesn’t. Redistribute them all!!

  21. If the city can make so much money from rent and having conventions etc… you’d think the NFL would want all that revenue for themselves….if it were true.

  22. kane337 says:
    Mar 30, 2016 1:39 PM

    I think the best thing in this deal is that the city gets revenue from non-football events instead of the Chargers. Hello to concerts, soccer matches, motocross, monster trucks, rodeo’s, etc.

    Not to mention for all those extra events the hotel stays, food purchases, shopping etc etc etc. The more you market your attributes the more people will want to see them.
    I fully understand the dislike for funding the billionaires but a multi use facility can be a worthwhile endeavor for all if done right.

  23. The Chargers have NO leverage at all. Move to L.A. and not only do the Chargers owe the NFL $500Million they get to pay rent to Stan Kroenke. Move to San Antonio & you get to pay $500Million AND help fund a new stadium (unless San Antonians have extra $$ they want to give you). St. Louis might keep their $150Million offer on the table for you, but you’d still need to pony-up $500Million to the NFL and then beg them for the same $650Mil that they offered in SD… you LOSE in every scenario accept manning-up and helping pay for a new SD stadium.

  24. argh88 says:
    Mar 30, 2016 1:39 PM

    I’m far from an expert, but I would imagine implementing a tax on staying in a hotel would not ‘increase tourism’.


    “We strongly disagree” – Nevada and Florida, who both enjoy no state income tax, thank you very much.

  25. Ruh roh. You just KNOW it’s fishy if they’ve decided to label it a ‘Citizens’ Initiative.’ A complete crock to be sure. Spanos has spent millions supporting his right wing political hacks, make HIM pay for it!

  26. Easy solution. Require each of the 66K signatories to this petition to pony up $5,200 . Put their money where their…signature…is. If my math is correct, and I think it is, that would roughly come out to $350M, and only the people who really support it are paying. Win-win. Give them a couple of cheap seat tickets for a Chargers-Cleveland game or something.

  27. The number one question for voters should be, “Who pays for cost over-runs?”

    There are ALWAYS cost over-runs. Most (if not all) of these stadium deals push those overages to the taxpayers.

    Absolutely no motivation for the team or contractors to keep the cost down. Why would they? The taxpayers are a money tree.

  28. If San Diego is smart, they’ll tell Spanos not to let the door hit him on the way out and then use the money they would have spent on the stadium to expand the downtown convention center. That would be a much better use of the funds.

  29. If the measure does NOT pass San Diego loses because their team goes to LA

    If the measure passes, San Diego still loses because the Raiders go to LA

    Either way, a 1/2 empty stadium is in the forecast for San Diego without the visiting team’s fans showing up.

    Sad but true

  30. The real question is why doesn’t Rivers ever get crapped on by the media for never having won anything?

    Lord Manning got this crap from day one, and smote down the narrative into a fine dust.

    Rivers needs to eat more crap for never having done anything in our league.

  31. Have you all heard Goodell say: “Maybe Las Vegas. We’re looking into London. San Antonio is a possibility…etc.. etc..”

    It’s all a threat to current cities to pony up or lose your teams. If all the cities just made a pact to say NO to corporate welfare, the NFL would almost surely stay put.

    I’ll channel my inner Nancy Reagan: “Just. Say. No.”

  32. If the measure does NOT pass, San Diego wins because hotel prices will not go up and tourism will not suffer (SeaWorld, San Diego Zoo, Legoland, golf resorts, etc..).

    If the measure passes I’m changing my San Diego vacation plans this summer.

  33. vikesfan320 says:
    Mar 30, 2016 1:30 PM

    As a person who loves to visit San Diego I don’t like the extra tax, but I don’t know how the city could not get behind it. You get a new stadium that will attract concerts,
    Concerts will NOT go to the new stadium. There are a ton of venues around here for that including Petco Park.

  34. Who needs “corporate welfare” – just raise ticket prices by roughly $700 each for the next 10 years to cover the $350MM plus interest and enforce all blackouts. Problem solved…..

  35. zerotrophiessince1961 says:
    Mar 30, 2016 2:47 PM
    If all the cities just made a pact to say NO to corporate welfare, the NFL would almost surely stay put.
    But that’s the problem. You can’t get 100 municipalities to make such a pact and stick to it. There will always be a city that will put up the money (with or without the citizens’ approval).

    With that in mind, this sounds like a decent deal. The citizens aren’t paying the entire cost, and I read something a few weeks back that if this gets built the Comic Book Geek Festival will be held in SD permanently. There’s about 1 billion of those geeks, and their tourist revenue could probably fund the entire SD city budget.

  36. “Taxpayer money well spent when you consider the revenue a franchise brings in to the metro area.”

    With all due respect, none of that metro area revenue is going into my pocket.

  37. It will go to a public vote and lose by 70%+

    They want prime real estate AND the city to pay for a portion of it. Lol, that’s rich.

    I love how they call this “The Citizens Initiative™”.

  38. Oh boy, you got lawyers, politicians, and billionaire’s involved. I would love to see the under the table money being exchanged here!

  39. While this does sound like about the most benign kind of tax to propose, I still think they’re missing the boat.

    Build the best $650 million stadium you can. It’s in San Diego, it doesn’t need the kind of all-weather extras that other places do. Spare taxpayers any impact, and you end up looking great to everyone, you’ll certainly get Super Bowls hosted there, and all the bad karma of the last few years could be undone.

    Or mess all that up for $350 million of stuff that isn’t really necessary.

  40. Why should visitors have to pay for a Multibillionaire’s workplace? For that matter, why should ANY taxpayer have to give one single red cent of public money to a multibillionaire? I often travel to San Diego from LA for business and holiday. This stinks that I’ll have to shell out an extra $20-30 for the NFL and Spanos.

    San Diego needs to renegotiate this “deal”.

  41. Don’t do it San Diego !

    Not one stinking dime for the scumbag owners and the league.

    Its not enough they have 9 billion+ of revenue every single year.

    its not enough they are making further billions from their shadow ownership of the daily fantasy gambling sites.

    The unbridled greed of the league and owners is beyond disgusting.

    Not one stinking dime !!!!!!

  42. Seems like a no brainer honestly. No local tax money or money used from the general fund. Get the tourists to pay for it. It’s not like a TOT increase will stop people from coming to San Diego, cause well, it’s San Diego. As it stands San Diego’s TOT is already too low when compared to LA, Seattle, and San Francisco.

  43. If the measure does NOT pass, San Diego wins because hotel prices will not go up and tourism will not suffer (SeaWorld, San Diego Zoo, Legoland, golf resorts, etc..).

    If the measure passes I’m changing my San Diego vacation plans this summer.


    That extra $4 per night is really gonna break the bank for you, huh?

  44. vikesfan320 says:

    Unfortunately that’s the economic system we live in.

    The economic system we live in gave you your inexpensive home computer and everything else you own. The economic system we live in doesn’t put you on a 15 year waiting list to buy a car, with only one car option.

  45. Read today’s Acee column in the SD U tribune. All these dumb fans of other teams, well their cities are all paying more in public funding than this proposal with the exception of SF, I think there’s another one or two, that’s it. Every other city, like Minneapolis is paying almost twice as much. So go tell someone not to do it but look at yourselves first. Plus this is locating it downtown and it combines a convention center expansion. Get it done, I’ll vote for it, so what, couple more bucks a year big deal. Everyone has to quit crying and get it done. This city delayed Petco’s build for 2 years and now it’s completely rebuilt the Gaslamp area. Just approve it and get it done.

  46. Another billion dollar stadium. STADIUM. Limited use entertainment venue. Something the average schmoe can’t rent out for their weekend family time or party, but will foot the bill so it can sit vacant for 6 months a year.

  47. 35% sounds high but certainly not as high as some other cities have paid. I realize a hotel tax is paid mostly by visitors and if its in the city its probably mostly funded from the high dollar hotels that is paid by business and hopefully teams when they stay for their games baseball or football.

  48. This may sound strange, but the Chargers record may very well come into play for the referendum. If the Chargers are 6-2 going into November 8th, people will think they are worth saving. If the Chargers are 2-6, it will be harder got people to vote YES. Winning will have an effect on the poll results.

    We need to look at the schedule when it is released, which should be soon.

  49. Earth To Posters:

    Mark Davis doesn’t like the idea of sharing a stadium with another NFL team. It isn’t Raider like, and he wouldn’t want to be Kroenke’s tenant. The Raiders will probably move to San Antonio or Las Vegas, both are areas of growth. Oakland does not have the economy or willingness to help the Raiders with a new stadium.

  50. If the Chargers owners are not paying for the new stadium they should be paying the city of San Diego every year, every game to play in this new stadium so that revenue not only comes in the form of PSL’s

  51. Hey Spanos!
    Kurt Douglas called;
    He wants his ‘Greed is Good’ routine back.

  52. The room tax adds a whole $ 4.00 on a $ 100.00 room so if thats enough for all you people to change your mind about coming to San Diego………….you could not afford to come in the first place.

    The best craft beer in the nation is made in San Diego and the weather is always good…..the stadium means jobs and growth in the downtown area, expanded convention center means more jobs and growth in the downtown area

    but the best one is……where would you rather have a Super Bowl played in January or February ?

    San Diego……75 and Sunny or New Jersey…..-4 and ……..New Jersey

    This will pass when it gets on the ballot

  53. For all those saying the new tax money should be used on infrastructure what do you think a stadium/convention center is?

    The city can use the new stadium for other events, and concerts which will also bring in extra tax and spinoff revenue for the city as people stay and go to restaurants, bars etc. Use it for SDSU teams, events as well.

    They also would have to renovate Qualcomm or build a new stadium in the next 10 yrs as it is a relic so this just moves the schedule up.

  54. Stadiums don’t generate new revenue for cities and they definitely don’t pay for themselves. St. Louis is still paying for the 20 year old stadium the Rams are vacating.

    You would think the NFL owners (who are very Republican) would opposed a new tax. But obviously they don’t when the tax benefits them.

    Say no to publicly financed stadiums. Say no to corporate welfare.

  55. bubbybrister/shovelpass says:
    Mar 30, 2016 8:26 PM

    Hey Spanos!
    Kurt Douglas called;
    He wants his ‘Greed is Good’ routine back.

    Lawl. Thanks for bringing your “Fail is Hilarious” routine.

  56. Don’t approve the tax, San Diego. As soon as the Chargers bolt to Inglewood, the Raiders will become the next team to occupy the Q, as it is vastly superior to sharing

  57. This the referendum November 8th, it better be majority wins. It better not require 2/3 of the votes or more.

    If there are more yes votes than no, we keep the Chargers and take our economy to a whole new level!!!!

    SAVE THE BOLTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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