SAN DIEGO -- Last month, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell told fans of the San Diego Chargers he was confident owners would back a new stadium supported by a Super Bowl.
Goodell may be ready to firm up that commitment. During this week’s quarterly NFL owners meetings in Charlotte, owners are expected to consider guaranteeing the return of a Super Bowl to San Diego if a stadium is built here.
The Los Angeles Times was first to report the news.
NFL owners will hear a progress report on the stadium issue in San Diego, which will include a summary on whether a citizens’ initiative ballot measure in November will require a simple majority or a two-thirds vote.
The Chargers plan to build a $1.8 billion stadium and convention center expansion downtown, next to the San Diego Padres’ Petco Park.
Fred Maas, stadium adviser for the Chargers, said the team remains on target to collect 100,000 signatures by the first week of June, creating a buffer in order to have enough signatures certified.
The Chargers have to qualify the measure for the ballot, which requires 66,447 valid signatures certified by the office of the registrar by mid-June, and present it to the San Diego city clerk’s office before ultimately having it approved by the city council.
According to California state law, measures requesting an increase of a special tax for a single purpose in local government require a two-thirds vote.
However, a recent court decision involving the city of Upland ruled a citizens’ initiative is not a measure by the local government, but by the citizens. And therefore since the tax is imposed by the citizens, that constitutional provision does not apply.
The city of Upland is appealing the decision to the state Supreme Court, which means the Chargers will have to wait for a decision to gain clarity.
Also, neither San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer nor the local hotel community has declared if they will support the downtown stadium project. The Chargers continue to have meetings with both parties to gain support.
“This initiative, if approved by voters, calls for the largest public bond offering in San Diego’s history -- so it’s only fair that the public knows all the facts,” Faulconer said in an email to ESPN.com. “The Chargers are making their consultants available to the city’s financial staff to scrub the numbers and assumptions that make up the financial model behind the proposed stadium-convention facility.
“We must continue to peel back the onion on this plan so the public has a chance to see all the layers. We’re going to be fair but we’re also going to continue asking tough questions.”
Faulconer is up for reelection in a June 7 primary. If he does not receive more than 50 percent of the vote, Faulconer would be forced into a runoff in November.
One key issue with the mayor’s office is the value of part of a property that would house the stadium, a local bus yard run by the Metropolitan Transit System (MTS), with an appraisal expected to be completed in July.
“We’ve had ongoing conversations with his office, which that issue is one among many,” Maas said. “We want to have an ongoing dialogue to try and come up with a resolution. And I think the mayor, as someone who represented downtown for years, understands that, irrespective of the Chargers, it’s important to find a solution for MTS.
“It’s a huge impediment to realizing the promise of downtown, and it needs to get fixed.”