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A public vote for a new downtown Chargers stadium isn’t required if the city of San Diego uses only redevelopment dollars, City Attorney Jan Goldsmith told me today.

We received a number of questions about whether a public vote was needed in wake of the last-minute deal from state legislators eliminating the city’s downtown redevelopment cap, the major hurdle preventing the city from having the means to finance a new Chargers stadium.

The city is expected to subsidize up to $500 million of the estimated $800 million project.

Mayor Jerry Sanders has pledged a public vote for the stadium as soon as 2012.

But if the city uses only redevelopment dollars, it wouldn’t need to have one, Goldsmith said.

The City Charter requires a public vote for city-funded major construction projects that provide a significant private benefit. A new Chargers stadium fits the charter definition of a “major construction project,” but technically the city wouldn’t be funding the stadium. The city’s Redevelopment Agency, a separate legal entity, would be financing it, the city attorney said.

“If solely a redevelopment agency project, charter provisions do not apply,” Goldsmith said in an email.

Goldsmith addressed many of these issues last September in an opinion on the proposed new City Hall.

None of this is to say the city wouldn’t have a public vote for a new stadium, but it’s not required.

Please contact Liam Dillon directly at liam.dillon@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.550.5663 and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/dillonliam.

Liam Dillon

Liam Dillon was formerly a senior reporter and assistant editor for Voice of San Diego. He led VOSD’s investigations and wrote about how regular people...

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