Updated at 5:09 p.m. Nov. 9, 2016
Mayor Kevin Faulconer said Wednesday that he believes voters provided momentum to efforts to build a football stadium in San Diego, but Chargers Chairman Dean Spanos said he would wait until after this season to make decisions about his team’s future.
Measure C, which would have increased the city’s hotel room tax to partially fund a downtown project that also included convention meeting space, was supported by 43 percent of San Diego voters — far short of the two-thirds needed for passage.
“I’ve always trusted San Diegans to have their say on the stadium issue, and voters have clearly said they want a new plan,” Faulconer said.
“While there isn’t support for this particular measure, the results demonstrate that a large number of San Diegans love the Bolts and want them to stay,” he said. “We now have momentum to work together with the Chargers to develop a new solution to keep the team in San Diego.”
When such work might occur was brought into question by a pair of statements from Spanos.
“So I’m going to put aside any discussion of our possible next steps until after the season, to allow everyone to focus on football and to give my family and me time to think carefully about what is best for the future of our franchise,” Spanos said.
He said it was time “to give the stadium debate a rest and enjoy some Chargers football.” The team has won three out of the last four games following a difficult, injury-plagued start of the season.
His comments suggested that at least some movement could occur sooner, rather than later.
“Over the coming weeks you may hear news about steps that we must take to preserve all of our options,” Spanos said. “But please know that I don’t intend to make any decisions until after the regular season ends and that, in the meantime, I hope to enjoy with you one great Chargers game after another.”
Faulconer closed his remarks on the stadium issue with an optimistic note.
“I invite the team to work with the city of San Diego, fans and community so we can get this done and continue the legacy of the San Diego Chargers,” the mayor said. “I am confident that the public will approve a new home for the Chargers when the right plan is presented.”
Such a plan would have to overcome some opposition from the City Council, where three members and a councilman-elect campaigned against the proposition.
“San Diego voters know a bad deal when they see it,” one of those councilmen, Chris Cate, told City News Service. “Now the ball is in the Chargers’ court in terms of whether or not they want to have a negotiation, have a dialogue with the city and other stakeholders in order to get a deal done that’s in the best interest of both the team and taxpayers.”
Measure C was just one of a dozen local propositions that confronted San Diego voters in the general election.
Measure D, which was also handily rejected by voters, would have redirected tourism financing in San Diego, barred an onsite expansion of the convention center and set aside Qualcomm Stadium for educational and park uses if it’s abandoned by the Chargers. The measure also would have prohibited spending public money on a stadium project.
The San Diego Taxpayers Association opposed both measures C and D.
SDCTA President and CEO Haney Hong said it was time to put differences aside and pledged to “work with all parties in a civil and robust discussion to keep the Chargers in San Diego while protecting taxpayers.”
“This was never about defeating the Chargers, or the individuals who crafted Measure D,” Hong said. “This was about protecting San Diego taxpayers from two measures that were crafted without any input from taxpayers.”
Other city of San Diego ballot measures won, most by wide margins. One will require November runoff elections for city offices, while another will allow San Diego High School to remain in its location in a corner of Balboa Park.
A measure that will allow a larger percentage of revenue from Mission Bay leaseholders to be used to fund improvements in other regional parks and one that will establish a tax on sales of recreational marijuana — with state Proposition 64 passing — also passed.
–City News Service