What's in store for San Diego in 2016?

Posted at 2:24 PM, Jan 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-01 17:24:44-05

San Diego goes into 2016 facing the possible loss of its National Football League franchise and a rough-and-tumble election season.

Team owners plan a special meeting Jan. 12-13 in Houston, where they could determine which of the three teams interested in moving to Los Angeles -- the Chargers, Oakland Raiders and St. Louis Rams -- will move to the potentially lucrative market. The teams can apply for relocation Monday.

This comes about 15 years after the Chargers began asking for a replacement for aging Qualcomm Stadium. The team's quest has been stymied by a dearth of suitable sites, past city financial troubles and the recession.

The Chargers announced in February that they planned to build a $1.7 billion stadium in Carson, in southern Los Angeles County, along with the Raiders if the teams couldn't reach agreements in their home markets. Rams owner Stan Kroenke is proposing a stadium for his team at the former Hollywood Park racetrack location in Inglewood.

In June, the team broke off negotiations with city and county of San Diego representatives over a proposal to build a new stadium in Mission Valley.

San Diego officials have since taken their case to NFL executives and owners, and the upcoming meetings might at least provide insight on how effective those efforts were -- and where the league is heading.

Local officials concluded their lobbying Wednesday by submitting a formal plan, including a proposed term sheet and a plea from Mayor Kevin Faulconer and county Supervisor Ron Roberts.

"San Diego has been a great NFL city for more than 50 years and we have put together a fair and viable stadium proposal to keep the Chargers here for years to come," Faulconer said.

Numerous scenarios have been aired about what may happen, including a negotiated settlement over which team or teams will be allowed to relocate to Los Angeles. Another possibility is holding a vote in which the affected owners will need the support of 24 of their colleagues to relocate.

It's also possible that no decision will be reached by later in the spring, in which case the Chargers would remain in San Diego for the 2016 season and could even, if they wish, reopen negotiations with local officials.

In the increasingly unlikely event that the Chargers and San Diego reach a deal, it would probably go on an election ballot for public ratification, even though a proposed financing plan does not increase taxes.

Such a proposition would add to a 2016 election ballot that could get crowded -- beyond high-profile votes for president and for San Diego mayor.

Already set for the June primary is a referendum that seeks to reverse a San Diego City Council-approved increase of the minimum wage to $11.50 an hour by 2017.

Also possible on a city of San Diego election ballot next year are multiple proposed revisions of the archaic City Charter, a formula to fund infrastructure projects, a bond to fund fire station construction, and an
increase in the hotel room tax to fund various city priorities.

Countywide voters could be asked by the San Diego Association of Governments in November to raise money for regionwide infrastructure projects, while Carlsbad residents will decide the fate of a proposed retail and
restaurant complex adjacent to the Agua Hedionda Lagoon.

The 2016 elections drawing attention include City Council races, in which numerous candidates have lined up to replace outgoing members Sherri Lightner, Todd Gloria and Marti Emerald. Four people have declared interest in succeeding termed-out City Attorney Jan Goldsmith.

County supervisors Dianne Jacob and Dave Roberts may face stiff competition as they battle to keep their jobs, and Rep. Scott Peters, D-San Diego, could face another strong challenge for his congressional seat.

Three people have indicated that may run for San Diego mayor in 2016 but none of the possible candidates have local name recognition.