On June 2 in front of Vons in North Park, at 30th Street and Howard, a paid signature-gatherer stood next to a sign. It read: "Please sign the new Comic-Con petition."
Reader contributor Dryw Keltz asked the gatherer about the purpose of the petition. The gatherer said that the petition would raise hotel taxes to keep Comic-Con in San Diego. Keltz asked the gatherer if this was really a petition in favor of a downtown Chargers stadium. The gatherer did not respond to that question. Keltz figured that a petition raising the hotel tax was put out either by the Chargers or attorney Cory Briggs, who has another initiative. Both those initiatives want to raise the hotel tax sharply.
Keltz called me. I got to Cory Briggs. He said his initiative stopped gathering signatures at the end of April. I emailed Fabiani, asking if this was a Chargers signature-gatherer and if the team is authorizing its gatherers to say that the purpose of the petition is to keep Comic-Con in San Diego. Twenty-four hours later, I have not heard from Fabiani.
I emailed David Glanzer, chief communications and strategy officer for Comic-Con International. I asked him if Comic-Con authorizes anyone making the claim that that the initiatives raising hotel taxes will keep Comic-Con in San Diego.
"Absolutely not," replied Glanzer. "We are on record as being in support of a contiguous expansion [of the convention center] and have even had to resort to issuing statements in opposition to signature-gatherers who use our name in their efforts."
At one point, signature-gatherers were claiming "Save the Chargers and Comic-Con." To thwart such dishonesty, Glanzer wrote a piece for the Union-Tribune. The lead paragraph said, "Some proponents of a non-contiguous plan...seem to use Comic-Con as an instrument to rally their supporters. Some signature gatherers even featured signs reading, 'Keep Comic-Con in San Diego,' giving the false impression that Comic-Con supported those efforts. And recently Comic-Con was mentioned in a statement from the San Diego Chargers as the team announced its support of a multi-use stadium facility unconnected to the current convention center." (Italics mine.)
And then in his email to me Glanzer re-emphasized, "We do not support separate facilities from the current center."
The following day, Keltz returned to the North Park site and the signature-gatherer was not there. Keltz also drove around Mission Valley today (June 3). He asked one Chargers signature-gatherer if the petition would help save Comic-Con. The fellow was vague — thought it might, but couldn't say for sure.