San Diego, CA – A rally in support of Proposition C, the initiative that would develop a combination stadium and convention center in Downtown San Diego, took over The Local, a popular bar and restaurant located near Horton Plaza, on Friday, November 4. Supporters joined former Chargers players and Mayor Kevin Faulconer to help in a final push to pass the ballot measure. Independent sports reporter Dan McLellan, a former CBS Football Rapid Reporter, covered the event and spoke to several of those in attendance.
If passed, Proposition C would accomplish several goals. It would authorize $800 million for the construction of a convention center space and a multi-use stadium east of Petco Park. Part of that money would come from an increase in the Transit Occupancy Tax (TOT) that hotels charge to visitors. Additional money would come through the San Diego Chargers. A portion of the funds would go toward a retractable roof that would allow the field to be used as convention space or for normally indoor sporting events.
Former Chargers wide receiver (1976-1986) and Hall of Famer Charlie Joiner was one of the speakers who urged a yes vote on Proposition C. Joiner told fans that keeping the Chargers in San Diego would be no problem with the new stadium that the measure would allow to be built. He was joined by former center Nick Hardwick (2004-2014), a 2006 Pro Bowl star. Hardwick’s message focused on the family aspect of attending football games.
“It’s about the memories,” Hardwick told those in attendance. “And it’s about preserving the memories that have already been created here in San Diego amongst the team, amongst the city, between the two of those.”
“It’s also important to preserve the memories that have yet to be created,” Hardwick continued. “The ones that are going to happen over the next fifty-five years.” He then referenced the Chicago Cubs’ amazing comeback World Series win that erased more than a century of frustration and disappointment with a city-wide joy and celebration. “We deserve that in San Diego,” he stated.
While he was not initially a supporter of Proposition C, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer has since become a vocal backer of the measure following negotiations with San Diego Chargers owner Dean Spanos on certain financial guarantees. “The Chargers have been a part of who we are as a city for fifty years,” he told McLellan when asked about his switch. “It was the right thing to do.”
The day was not all athletes and politicians. One local man who has been very vocal in his support for the Chargers and Proposition C is Johnny Abundez of the group Bolt Pride. Abundez, who has traveled around the country supporting both the team and the ballot measure, spoke with McLellan about his efforts to keep the team from moving to Los Angeles, which have included meetings with Mayor Faulconer. “To see [Faulconer] and Dean in the same room smiling, looking at each other and doing something for the greater [good] of the future of San Diego is a proud moment,” he told McLellan.
While Proposition C is supported by a wide coalition including the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, the San Diego Building & Construction Trades Council and numerous other organizations, it also has it opponents. Much of the opposition centers around the use of the increased TOT for the “convadium” rather than for infrastructure repair and on the potential liability to the city’s General Fund. Opposition groups include the San Diego County Taxpayers Association and Councilmembers David Alvarez and Chris Cate. For more information about Proposition C, visit the San Diego County Registrar of Voters at www.sdvote.com.
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EP- Patty Ducey Brooks, Producer- David Kamatoy, Associate Producer- PM Bonds, Talent- Dan McLellan Written By – Stephen Prendergast