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If things continue as they have, San Diego’s next mayor will be the third to deal with the Chargers’ search for a way to finance a new football stadium.
As the mayoral campaign heats up, a new stadium proposal has gained momentum in Los Angeles and there’s a new urgency to find a solution in San Diego.
In continuation of our regular polling of San Diego’s 2012 mayoral candidates, we put another key issue to them for their viewpoints. This time around, we’ve asked all 14 candidates.
We asked candidates to choose which statement best described their position on the Chargers stadium:
A. A voter-approved tax increase for the city of San Diego to help finance the stadium.
B. A voter-approved tax increase countywide to help finance the stadium.
C. An increase to the hotel-room tax (transient occupancy tax) approved by hoteliers and the City Council that would finance a Convention Center expansion and stadium.
D. Selling the Qualcomm Stadium and/or Sports Arena properties, with proceeds helping pay for the new facility.
E. No public financing.
F. None of the above.
They were also asked to provide a maximum four-sentence explanation.
Here are their responses:
Explanation: I love the Chargers and I want to see them continue playing football in San Diego. We have to keep in mind that taxpayers have been burned on bad stadium deals in the past and simply raising taxes and writing a blank check to pay for a stadium is not in the taxpayers’ best interest. Instead I propose we pursue a public-private partnership model that caps the City’s participation at the current funding levels or lower and ensures a fair deal for taxpayers. Working within those basic business deal parameters, I believe we can reach a deal to keep the team in San Diego.
Bonnie Dumanis, District Attorney: We do not choose a multiple choice answer.
Explanation: I don’t support a tax increase for a stadium, and I can’t comment further until I have a financing plan to review.
Bob Filner, Congressman: Declined to answer.
Explanation (from previous survey): Frankly, I think it’s an insult to ask us to choose options and then four sentences. These are complicated issues and deserve more than these kinds of answers that you’re asking for.
Nathan Fletcher, Assemblyman: F, None of the above.
Explanation: Any new stadium should be more than a stadium that gets used a few times a year. Additionally, it should serve as a catalyst for a larger district that includes entertainment, retail, restaurants, residential and possibly high-tech offices, similar to the China Basin neighborhood of San Francisco that has grown around AT&T Park. We should consider the use of redevelopment funds for such a project if it were shown to generate high-paying jobs, new city revenues, and develop a vibrant neighborhood that could attract new economy businesses, and amenities for convention attendees, other visitors and local residents. However, I will not support use of city general fund revenues for such a project, and voters must have the final say on whether or not such a major project should proceed.
Sharam Adhami, self-employed auto dealer and construction consultant: F, None of the above.
Explanation: I believe the solution to the financing of the stadium is a combination of several of the proposed options. Selling Qualcomm, coupled with a contribution from the Chargers, plus the hotel tax could help get the job done without putting the burden all on one source of financing. The Chargers are important to San Diego. A new stadium downtown will attract even more patrons and will enhance our beautiful city.
Hud Collins, trial attorney: F, None of the above.
Explanation: None of the choices that are out there before the public, including public financing of the stadium, are realistic. When one thinks outside of the box, a total financing plan can be gotten from the retirement fund (the fund has $4 billion, and with my asset transfer plan – over $6 million is available for the fund for the stadium financing). The land and the building can be put up as collateral for the fund; and a reasonable interest can be worked into the total package.
Loch David Crane, magician and retired teacher: F, None of the above.
Explanation: I feel as a private company it should build its own stadium on land it owns, not con taxpayers into paying for land and stadium and then enriching them out of proportion. The Chargers, who have seldom been spectacular and never been Super Bowl champs, do not deserve a new fancy house based on merit or on achievement. I say pay for your own stadium, perform better, and the citizens will flock to you again: but not with taxpayer funding and City largesse.
Steve Greenwald, compassionate physician, businessman, and civic activist: E, No public financing.
Explanation: Please register my vote for no public financing, however I would lease the land where Qualcomm is situated for 99 years to the Spanos family and allow them to build a multibillion dollar real estate development complex made up of commercial, residential, shopping, and sport/entertainment center. The site has easier existing access routes by freeways and trolley and commuter buses from the south and north parts of the county, unlike downtown which already is too congested!!! The owners will not move the team for generations if they own this complex.
Rob Harter, owner of Girly Girly Shabby Chic Furniture: E, No public financing.
Explanation: Girlygirlyformayor.com’s take on the stadium issue, putting aside my sadness that Petco Park is not a duel sport stadium. We do not need a new stadium. How many woman in our city feel there are loftier goals for our city than football. We should build a cardboard recycling plant that makes computer paper, and sell it to the rest of the country, making forever future monies for our great city.
Tobiah L. Pettus, unemployed: F, None of the above.
Explanation: Let’s use this opportunity for “America’s Finest City” to ignite our economy not only at the City level, but also at the State and Federal levels, as well… by driving San Diego’s economy, the second largest city in California, in the most powerful State in the Union, the economic recovery of the United States of America will benefit. In an effort to recover our national economy, President Obama has infused $4,247 billion dollars into the economy, so let’s ask him for $1 billion+ to build the new Charger’s Stadium – thus, driving San Diego’s economy forward and our great state and nation, as well. Subsequently, let’s go to corporate America and find a sponsor such as Apple, Google or Microsoft, with the knowledge that, advertisers have paid $600 million just for naming rights in other stadiums (ex: Los Angeles’ Farmers Field), so, for $1 billion+, give them exclusive creative design within parameters, brick and mortar ownership of the stadium for life, and luxury transportation and accommodations for their company’s funding of our new Stadium in Downtown San Diego. Also, we should build a new sports arena for a professional basketball team, such as the Sacramento Kings, under a similar deal and bring the NBA to San Diego!
Scott Wilson, businessman: C, An increase to the hotel-room tax (transient occupancy tax) approved by hoteliers and the City Council that would finance a Convention Center expansion and stadium.
Explanation: Convention Center needs an expansion to bring more conventions etc. to town which generates tons of money for our city (plus it’s Comic-Cons argument for possibly leaving SD). A new stadium will not only keep the Chargers here but will bring the Super Bowl (which has complained about our stadium being too small and out of date but they love the city) and the super bowl (along with concerts/events etc) also bring money to SD, via hotels, restaurants, shops etc. By taxing the hotel room we are using the money the hotels make from the people coming to all these events…. they go hand in hand, without conventions, events etc people won’t come, and without the hotels people can’t come… so they should help each other with the costs.
The other three declared contestants Toby Lewandoski, and Bradley D. Slavens failed to respond to emails and voice mail message, while David Cardon didn’t return calls.
Lamii Kpargoi is an international fellow working with voiceofsandiego.org. He will be working on elections issues and media best practices in community relations. You can reach him directly at email@example.com and 619.550.5671.
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