Ray Ellis and Barbara Bry. Campaign photos
Ray Ellis and Barbara Bry. Campaign photos

City Council candidates Barbara Bry and Ray Ellis are sparring over whether proposed financing for downtown development constitutes a tax increase for a football stadium.

“Barbara Bry supports what would be one of the largest tax increases in the city’s history,” said Ellis.

But Bry countered, “Let me be clear: I oppose any public funding for a stadium for the Chargers.”

The issue arose in a mailer sent to District 1 residents by a political action committee supporting Ellis’ candidacy.

Bry opposes a downtown stadium but supports the Citizens Plan for downtown development, which would finance a convention center expansion at Tailgate Park. It prohibits using public funds for a football stadium, but would make it easier for the San Diego Chargers to build a joint-use facility downtown.

That plan, like the San Diego Chargers’ own proposed ballot measure, would increase the tax on hotel visitors by several percentage points. It is a tax increase, but one few San Diego residents would ever pay.

Ellis also objects to a downtown stadium, arguing that “it would permanently block an on-site expansion of the Convention Center in favor of an annex that would likely drive Comic-Con and other large conventions out of San Diego.”

Mayor Kevin Faulconer, who has endorsed Ellis, has proposed issuing bonds to renovate Qualcomm stadium. The bonds would be repaid using proceeds from leasing the facility. Faulconer has yet to say whether he would support a downtown stadium.

District 1 includes Carmel Valley, La Jolla and University City and is historically the linchpin over whether Democrats or Republicans control the City Council.

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.