Pro-stadium group calls for hotel boycott

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SAN DIEGO — A coalition of Chargers fan groups called Monday for a national boycott of certain San Diego hotels that they claim are standing in the way of plans to build a downtown stadium.

In a statement, the San Diego Stadium Coalition and Save Our Bolts said they have been joined by other civic and fan groups in demanding in boycott of hoteliers they believe are “financially influencing local politicians who are collectively opposing the development of a downtown mixed-use facility.”

A spokesman for the hotels said they were studying the boycott demand and had no further comment.

The Chargers are circulating petitions for their plan to build a stadium and convention center annex. The project would be funded by a mix of team and National Football League contributions, along with revenue from increasing the hotel room tax by, effectively, four percentage points. The team hopes to qualify an initiative for the November ballot.

While Mayor Kevin Faulconer has not said publicly whether he supports the Chargers’ plan, numerous other political figures in San Diego have come out in opposition.

“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, San Diego Stadium Coalition founder and chairman.

“In 2008 we started working with various civic groups to find a stadium solution in San Diego,” Riggs said. “During that time one roadblock has remained consistent, and that’s the hotel industry’s opposition to a downtown multi-use facility.”

He said the groups are asking people to not patronize the hotels until the owners and “politicians that represent them” transparently discuss and negotiate the Chargers’ stadium plans.

Leaders of San Diego’s tourism industry contend the tax hike would hurt them in a competitive marketplace. They also believe that adding floor space to the existing convention center is better than building an annex several blocks away.

The fan groups’ boycott target list includes the Town and Country Resort; Evans Hotels, which owns the Bahia and Catamaran resorts, and the Lodge at Torrey Pines; and Bartell Hotels, including Humphrey’s Half Moon Inn & Suites and the Sheraton La Jolla and Hilton Harbor Island.

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