Chargers' new downtown stadium garners enough signatures to qualify for November ballot

The Chargers have submitted enough signatures in support of its downtown stadium and convention center annex plan to the city of San Diego to qualify it for the November ballot, the City Clerk's Office announced Saturday.

"The petition has been verified and found sufficient in signatures to qualify the ordinance to be submitted to the city council for adoption, or for rejection and submission to the electorate," City Clerk Elizabeth Maland said Saturday in a memo to the mayor and city council.

The "San Diego Integrated Convention Center Expansion/Stadium and Tourism Initiative," as it is formally known, received almost 79,000 projected valid signatures from supporters, according to figures released by the San Diego County Registrar of Voters Office.

The initiative required 66,447 valid signatures to qualify for the November ballot. The Chargers submitted 110,380 signatures that were collected over a six-week period for consideration. A random sampling of three percent of the signatures indicated there were more than enough, according to the clerk's memo.

The plan calls for a 61,500-seat facility in the East Village. If it's passed by voters in November, the project would raise the necessary funds by increasing the hotel room tax to 16.5 percent, while the Chargers would chip-in $350 million and use a $300 million NFL loan.

The hotel room tax in San Diego is 10.5 percent, plus a 2 percent fee used for tourism promotions, so the hike would effectively be four percentage points.

Voter approval of the plan is required due to the tax increase, but because of a recent court ruling, it's unclear if a simple or two-thirds majority will be required in November. Chargers officials said they will aim for two-thirds to be on the safe side.

Many city elected officials have come out against the Chargers plan because of its use of public funds.

The Chargers have been asking for a Qualcomm Stadium replacement for more than 15 years. In January, NFL owners rejected their plans to build a playing facility in Carson jointly with the Oakland Raiders, after which Spanos announced he would give San Diego another try.

If the San Diego effort falls through, Spanos said he has an agreement in place to have the Chargers become the second team in a future Inglewood stadium with the Los Angeles Rams.

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