An organization called San Diego Stadium Coalition has joined with Save Our Bolts and other civic and fan groups, calling for a boycott of three hotel companies they claim are collectively opposing development of a hybrid downtown stadium and convention facility favored by the San Diego Chargers.
A statement from the groups identified three companies -- Evans Hotels, Atlas Hotels and Bartell Hotels – who they said are among operators “financially influencing local politicians who are collectively opposing the development of a downtown mixed-use facility.”
Hotel operators are formulating a response to the boycott, announced May 16.
Evans’ local hotels include The Lodge at Torrey Pines and Catamaran Hotel; Atlas operates Town and Country Resort and Convention Center; and Bartell’s local properties include Hilton Harbor Island and Humphrey’s Half Moon Inn & Suites.
The Chargers and supporters are currently gathering signatures to place before voters in November a measure that would effectively raise the city’s current total hotel taxes from 12.5 percent to 16.5 percent. Proceeds would help finance a proposed $1.8 billion facility combining a stadium with convention and meeting space, on a site in East Village.
Like other members of the local tourism community, hoteliers generally favor an expansion of the existing San Diego Convention Center, over plans to build non-contiguous meeting space. The Chargers’ proposal, as well as a similar ballot proposal by a citizens’ coalition that would hike hotel taxes, would both eliminate a current 2 percent hotelier-approved room tax that specifically funds tourism promotion.
The San Diego Stadium Coalition and Save Our Bolts said their combined 42,000 members have joined forces and received support from various NFL fan groups to execute the hotel boycott.
The stadium coalition was formed in 2008 and merged in 2010 with a group called San Diego Fans, Taxpayers and Business Alliance. The coalition advocates for construction of a stadium within San Diego County for the Chargers, SDSU Aztecs, college bowl games and other large-scale events.
“Whether you feel strongly about the Chargers and their quest for a new stadium or not, the influence that the hotel industry wields over local officials has created a dysfunctional political ecosystem where voter and taxpayer interests are being mortgaged to the highest bidder,” said Jason Riggs, the coalition’s founder and chairman, in the statement.