The Chargers' Initiative for a joint-use stadium and convention center downtown has received enough valid signatures to qualify for November ballot.
According to the document shown in the embedded tweet above, the Registrar of Voters counted 110,380 signatures. A random sampling of 3,312 of those signatures indicated 2,434 were valid signatures from registered voters in the City of San Diego. After applying that rate (73%), and accounting for duplicate signatures, the Registrar estimated that the Initiative contained 78,964 valid signatures. The minimum number of signatures needed to guarantee the Initiative reached the November ballot was 66,447 - equivalent to 10% of registered voters in the City of San Diego.
This means the Registrar estimates the Initiative qualifies with an estimated 12,517 signatures to spare.
Chargers' Chairman Dean Spanos had this to say:
"The entire Chargers organization is grateful to all of those who helped qualify our initiative for the November 2016 ballot," he said. "We gathered more than 110,000 signatures in less than six weeks, an extraordinary result that demonstrates the high level of community interest in a new multi-use stadium and convention center facility downtown. I would again like to thank all of those who signed the petition along with the fan groups, labor organizations, and businesses large and small that helped with our effort."
Now that the measure has qualified with over 10% of valid signatures, the City Council will have the option to either approve the Initiative outright or send the Initiative to voters.
In a nutshell, the Initiative asks voters to raise the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) from its current rate of 10.5% to 16.5% to generate revenue of $350 million for the stadium portion, $600 million for the Convention Center element, and $200 million for land acquisition. The Chargers and NFL would contribute $650 million to the stadium.
At this time, it is expected the Initiative will require a 2/3rds 'yes' vote to pass. However, according to City Attorney Jan Goldsmith, this may not be set in stone. As we've discussed in the past, there had been a recent decision by the California 4th Appellate Court, which ruled that Special Tax increases in Citizen's Initiatives only require a 50% + 1 majority to pass. In an interview with the Darren Smith Show on July 6th, Goldsmith said this:
"I'm sending a letter to the (state) Supreme Court, and if the decision hasn't been made by November, which is likely, I'm going to ask the court to take jurisdiction of the San Diego election, and then expedite (a decision). I'm hoping we don't have to wait 18 months, I mean, that would be terrible. If they could expedite it, and then just take jurisdiction of the results, so we don't actually announce the results until their decision comes out."
The success of the Initiative is quite likely riding on a decision by the State Supreme Court, as the 2/3rds 'yes' vote threshold is incredibly difficult to reach under even ideal circumstances.
Everything we've seen since the end of March has been prelude. Now, the fun begins.