Bad night last night, right? Real bad. Terrible night. Just the worst.
But hey, I have one piece of good news to share with you:
That is the vote tally on ballot Measure C, which would have granted the San Diego Chargers $1.15 billion of taxpayer money with which to build a new football stadium in San Diego. The measure, which would have raised the city’s hotel tax from 12.5 percent to 16.5 percent in order to pay for the stadium, needed a two-thirds vote in order to pass. It was defeated soundly.
What’s most encouraging about this result is that this particular stadium deal was structured in a way that voters typically find persuasive. The Chargers got to argue that raising the hotel tax would only put the burden of building the stadium on visiting tourists, and would take barely any money out of the pockets of San Diego residents. If you don’t think about it too much, that seems like a convincing argument.
The people of San Diego saw through the lie, and understood that billionaire sports owners don’t deserve handouts from the public no matter where that money is coming from. They also understood that an increased hotel tax would only foot the bill for as long as San Diego’s tourist economy stayed unchanged. Any dip in that sector would have left the city short and needing to get the money elsewhere.
Chargers owner Dean Spanos released a brief statement after the measure was voted down:
Despite the fact that Measure C failed to receive a two-thirds majority, I wanted to reach out right away with a very sincere thank you for your loyal support as a fan and for considering our initiative.
There is much we can be proud of tonight: the 110,000 residents who qualified the measure in just six short weeks; the vocal and passionate support from our fan groups and corporate partners; the strong endorsements and hard work of numerous civic, business, and labor leaders; and the heartfelt efforts of our alumni and players.
In terms of what comes next for the Chargers, it’s just too early to give you an answer. We are going to diligently explore and weigh our options, and do what is needed to maintain our options, but no decision will be announced until after the football season concludes and no decision will be made in haste.
The outpouring of support from friends like you, and so many others, has been heartwarming throughout the campaign and I will continue to be mindful of that in the weeks ahead.
Thank you, again, for believing in the Chargers. Everyone on the team and in my family appreciates your loyal support and continued patience, and we look forward to an exciting rest of the season.
Dean A. Spanos
Owner - Chairman of the Board
The Chargers are likely on their way to Los Angeles now. I’d like to say this vote marks a shift in how American citizens feel about the stadium financing scam, but Arlington just went and approved one of the worst stadium deals in history by a wide margin. The march of progress is slow and painful.