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Hope For San Diego? Chargers announce ‘Citizens Initiative’

The Chargers appear to be giving the city of San Diego one last roll of the dice. In a last ditch attempt to mend the damage done when they


The Chargers appear to be giving the city of San Diego one last roll of the dice. In a last ditch attempt to mend the damage done when they announced their intent to move to LA, the Chargers have released a ‘Citizens initiative’ to suggest a way forward for the City and the team for the future. In a somewhat unexpected de-escalation of tensions in San Diego, it appears that the city and the team are trying to work together on a solution to the current problems facing both parties. The initiative proposes that the team and the city build a shared use Stadium and convention centre, to house the Chargers and the SD Comic-Con, amongst other annual events. This facility would be capable of seating 65,000 spectators, as well as being capable of expansion for larger events, such as the Super Bowl. The cost of this facility is still unconfirmed, but the Chargers have put their toe on the line, and have tentatively agreed to front a $650M fee, with the city covering the remaining balance by increasing visitor taxes (more on this later). On top of this, the Chargers would need to commit to a 30 year lease of the facility before any action beyond discussion would take place. Being a Citizens initiative, this is merely a motion, being prepared for submission to ballot. If the Chargers can get 66,500 citizens of the city – around 10% of the population – to vote for this submission, then the motion will be submitted to a general ballot for the city to vote on formally. The main crux of the agreement will be funding. With the Chargers initially looking to front the brunt of the costs, the city would need to raise funds from elsewhere. To avoid dangerous infrastructure cuts, the suggestion is that the city increase the current Transient Occupancy Tax (a kind of tourist tax, added on top of the hotel bill) from 10.5% to a maximum of 16.5%. This increase would be the exclusive source of the funding for the remainder of the new downtown facility. This is not the only concern which will need addressing. The city will obviously need to address infrastructure adjustments, and the movement of transport hubs to make room for the facility in the downtown area of San Diego. On top of that, the current facility site, in Mission valley, would need to be repurposed. The initial proposal for this would be to develop a river front park, with further options for the State to utilise the space for University expansion. With the dwindling attendance at games being a repeated concern for the Chargers, and cited as a reason for their attempt to relocate to LA this year, it is hoped that this last ditch effort will provide both the city, and the team, with something they want. A centrally located stadium will hopefully deliver higher turnouts for games, and better attendance for conventions and events within the convention centre. With some disappointing seasons behind them, the Chargers will definitely want to increase support within San Diego if they want to turn it around in the future. With the LA move currently still up in the air, this vote could well be the last roll of the dice for the Chargers, and the City of San Diego, to try and repair their failing relationship, and develop some new hope for the future. With $650M, and a 30 year lease on the line, it looks like this is a forever, or never deal. Let’s see how the dice fall, when the votes are finished in Mid-June.

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Hope For San Diego? Chargers announce ‘Citizens Initiative’

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