Poll: 70% of San Diegans Oppose Chargers Stadium Subsidy

Vince Vasquez Vince Vasquez 1 Comment

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According to a new Survey USA poll, San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders’s proposed public subsidy for a new Chargers stadium is a tough sell to the public.

In the October 13th poll that surveyed 500 adults in the City of San Diego, 70% of respondents opposed an annual $38 million taxpayer subsidy to fund a new football stadium for 30 years. Among those strongly opposed are Independents (80%), conservatives (77%), Caucasians (75%), and women (75%).

The poll references the “rough estimate” recently floated by Mayor Jerry Sanders as the public’s contribution towards the cost of an $800 million stadium in East Village. The annual amount would cover bond debt payments, and would not require higher or new taxes.

It’s important to note that $38 million is more than triple what the city’s downtown redevelopment agency (CCDC) pays each year towards bond debt for the Padres’ downtown ballpark ($11.3 million).

It is unclear how annual bond payments would be structured financially for the Chargers stadium. Prior to 2009, the City of San Diego paid its bond debt obligations for the Padres ballpark out of the General Fund – the same fund that pays for libraries, parks, police and fire protection.
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NOTE: Interestingly, the SurveyUSA poll also reveals that 60% of San Diego City residents think that switching city employees to a 401(k) retirement plan from a defined benefit plan is a good idea, and San Diego Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher (R) received a negligible boost for his mayoral bid from the endorsement of Brent and Kelly King, the parents of Chelsea King.

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Comments 1

  1. WOW!

    Now I am sure we will hear the boosters blame “Small town San Diegans” for these results but isn’t it ALSO testimony to….

    A) Why the HECK are you letting a hired-LOBBYIST be your spokesperson? I would love to see the approvals/trust and name ID on Mark Fabiani. Just SO un-san diego to trot out the lobbyist and not present the owner as the public face.

    B) Failure to read the political dynamic. Why in the heck do you pick a fight with the hospitality industry IN PUBLIC? They have deep pockets and, most importantly, EMPLOYEES. Did Chargers also forget that the convention center is one of the larger quasi-private unionized employers in the region? Seriously, if you are going to pick a fight don’t do it there.

    C) Moving the goal post. You just can not move from “there will be no taxpayer $$ involved” to “well we will need hundreds of millions to do this” without LOTS of ground work.

    D) Perception of Under performing. My goodness. Has any franchise so poorly mismanaged expectations? If you let the story be “we are winning the Superbowl” and you get eliminated in the first round of play offs you probably are in trouble. First rule in politics – under promise and over deliver.

    E) Doing the deal so privately/behind closed doors. In the era of MP I and II, Sunroad, City of Bell, etc. etc. you just can not do these deals “in private”. The public is clearly just beyond skeptical ACROSS the board (there isn’t a single cross tab which favors the Chargers). The vote ultimately is about ‘trust” – guess what, these results say there is none.

    F) Almost impossible to do this without deep local ties. While it was probably a misconception, leading up to Prop B the Padres did EVERYTHING right in terms of building the idea of local ties. BIG tix. philanthropic donations. Strategic partnerships with local real estate entities, building relationships with the press. Probably not going to get a vote when the perception is that the owners are more Stockton than San Diego.

    It was always going to be an uphill fight. I think that those that don’t believe in sports stadiums are happy. But it is also a good case study in how to NOT manage a public affairs effort. Perhaps a classic one.

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