There is still another reason to vote against the so-called convadium in November. This reason is the huge and growing pension deficit.
Former city attorney Mike Aguirre says the city's pension plan has $8.859 billion in debt and only $6.204 billion in assets. That leaves a hole of $2.2655 billion. The city's pension plan has reached "legal insolvency" because the assets are materially and substantially less than its liabilities, says Aguirre. A multi-billion shortfall has ballooned in the period beginning in 2009, when both the stock market and bond market have soared in value.
This is another reason that it is folly to discuss a multibillion-dollar convadium (combination stadium/small convention center).
The convadium would raise hotel taxes by more than 50 percent to 16.5 percent. Comic-Con has already said it doesn't want any so-called "annex" of the convention center being five or six blocks from the existing center. Comic-Con may well leave if the convadium passes.
Most importantly, San Diego's infrastructure deficit has grown to multibillions of dollars. San Diego needs good streets and roads, clean and safe parks, adequate police and fire protection, a sustainable water supply. The convadium cost could be $2.3 billion, more than double the $1.1 billion the Chargers have estimated.
And keep in mind that the Chargers' contribution could be next to nothing. The team will get the revenue for naming and advertising rights, among other things. These could wipe away most of all of the Chargers' contribution. (On September 14, Forbes magazine said the Chargers are worth $2.08 billion, a 36 percent increase over last year. Yet the team continues to figure ways to squeeze money out of San Diego taxpayers.)
Aguirre points out that many pension reforms are needed. Elected officials have excessively generous pensions — for example, they can purchase more pension credits than permitted under term-limit law. City pensioners have too many benefits; for example, they are permitted to receive both salary and pension benefits for five years after they reach retirement age, and this program is not cost-neutral as required by law.
The Chargers are attempting to pick San Diegans' pockets in broad daylight. Infrastructure and pension deficits are hurting the city now. That is where reforms are needed.