More details are in on how San Diego Chargers owner Dean Spanos plans to piggyback his stadium plan on a November ballot initiative to expand the city’s convention center, and the answer appears to be: He can’t, and is going to have to gather signatures for a whole new initiative.
According to California law, after an initiative has been drafted and submitted to the public for signature gathering, nothing in the initiative can be changed. We’re talking nary a crossed “t” [or] dotted “i.”
The Briggs initiative began the signature-gathering process in November of 2015 so if that one makes it to a vote in November of 2016 it’s going to be about a Convention Center expansion alone. However, the Chargers are going to keep their drive towards Downtown on track by using a different tactic.
“We are continuing to work with JMI and the Citizens’ Initiative/Briggs/Frye coalition on various approaches, and we continue our regular dialogue with the City of San Diego,” said Chargers Special Counsel Mark Fabiani, who continues to work on the stadium situation. “As a result of all of these discussions, we hope to have a conclusion to present to the public within the next two weeks, at the latest.”
What that very likely means is they’re crafting a brand new citizens’ initiative.
It’s also still unclear whether any initiative could be passed by a simple majority (possible, maybe) or would require a two-thirds supermajority (now that’s crazy talk), something that it almost certain to end up in court.
NBC San Diego’s Derek Togerson also reports that “there are rumblings that the Bolts have found a way to finance the stadium using 100% private funding,” though the only mechanism he mentions is to somehow call upon Goldman Sachs, who, sure, were going to finance the money for a new stadium in Carson, but there was also supposed to be a whole lot more stadium revenues in Carson to repay their loans. (Remember, everyone’s a billionaire here, so having access to a pile of money isn’t the problem, it’s figuring out how to profit from it.) More to come within a couple of weeks, I guess? Either way, this could be way rougher sailing than just getting all the mayoral opposition candidates on board.