San Diego Announces Special Election Can Occur This Year for Stadium Vote

San Diego - Today San Diego officials announced a citywide special election can occur this year, which would allow voter approval of a new San Diego stadium before the NFL allows teams to seek relocation next year.

"San Diegans deserve a vote on the stadium, and we can have a special election this year," said Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer. "We have all the ingredients for success in San Diego if the Chargers work with us. We have the City and County working together, a publicly released financial framework, and world-class experts to negotiate a fair stadium agreement. We can get this done this year if the Chargers want to get it done."

The NFL has stated that it will allow teams to apply to relocate to Los Angeles in January 2016. A special citywide election can be held by Dec. 15, 2015. The City Council has until Sept. 18 to approve ballot measures for a special election and send them to the Registrar of Voters.

The City/County negotiating team is prepared to meet as often as necessary with the Chargers to reach agreement on a stadium financing plan.

The Chargers now have three options for a stadium election. If the Chargers choose to remain in San Diego another year, a vote could occur during one of the next regularly scheduled elections in June or November of 2016.

"If both sides stay focused, we can get this done," said Supervisor Ron Roberts.

A public vote provides more certainty than authorizing the project through the City Council because it removes the possibility of a costly and lengthy referendum challenge. Also, a civic project of this size and involving public funds should be ratified by majority vote. The special election would be conducted by mail ballot, which costs less than a typical election, and funded by the City.

"The parties have a narrow window of opportunity to negotiate a fair agreement to present to voters by December," said City Attorney Jan Goldsmith. "This can be accomplished as long as both sides are motivated."

This announcement for a special election is the latest in a series of steps taken by City and County leaders to keep the Chargers in San Diego.

In his first year in office, Mayor Faulconer became the first mayor since the Chargers began their stadium search more than a dozen years ago to state unequivocally that a new stadium needed to be built on his watch. During his first State of the City speech in January, he announced the creation of the Citizens' Stadium Advisory Group to develop - for the first time - a real stadium plan that included the optimal location and how best to pay for it.

At the Chargers' request, the advisory group agreed in February to expedite its recommendations and report back within 90 days. In March, the group selected the current Qualcomm Stadium site in Mission Valley as the best location for a new stadium.

In April, City and County leaders unanimously approved a partnership between the two local government agencies to work collaboratively and share consultant costs for a potential new stadium. Later that same month, the City hired investment banker Citigroup and law firm Nixon Peabody to assist with developing possible financing options and related development for a stadium. Both firms have extensive experience with professional sports facilities throughout the country, including several NFL stadiums.

In May, the Citizens' Stadium Advisory Group released its recommendations for a $1.1 billion stadium project in Mission Valley and identified funding sources of $1.4 billion as a financing framework.

Mayor Faulconer, Supervisor Roberts and City Attorney Goldsmith held their first negotiating session with Chargers owner Dean Spanos and his counsel Mark Fabiani on June 2.

CONTACT: Craig Gustafson at (619) 453-9880 or [email protected]