San Diego, CA – With one week to go before the June 7 primary, the chairman of the Republican Party of San Diego County, Tony Krvaric, and the executive director of the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction, Eric Christen, held a news conference at the San Diego County Registrar of Voters and threatened to kill the Chargers Initiative while calling the team’s leadership names.
Krvaric asserted that the GOP will stand with Christen in opposition to the Chargers’ plan. “We are against a tax increase,” he said. “We oppose this initiative because it is a tax increase.”
What Krvaric and Christen made no mention of is the “tax increase” is an increase on tourists, not on residents. The Chargers proposal would raise the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) from 12.5% to 16.5%. That’s an increase that tourists would pay while staying at area hotels. The issue has been hotly contested in city campaign races.
Christen said the Chargers entering into a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) with labor unions to build a downtown stadium was “tone deaf and stupid” and called Tom Lemmon, head of the San Diego County Building and Construction Trades Council, a “bigot.” He also said his group would actively work to defeat the Chargers Initiative if it makes it to the November ballot.
Tom Lemmon attended the event and told IVN San Diego, “when it comes to diversity, the building trades generate 95% of all apprentices in the state, and as far as name calling? It doesn’t bother me when you consider the two men responsible for this event.”
Christen says the team is “discriminating against 85% of the local construction workers that is union-free,” and called the Chargers Initiative an “ill-conceived scheme.”
Lemmon countered, saying:
“The efforts by anti-PLA groups seeking to undermine the Chargers efforts to stay in San Diego are both dishonest and baseless. The Associated Builders and Contractors represent 0.3% of licensed contractors in California but have the dubious distinction of having incurred 24% of labor violations in the state.”
Chargers special counsel Mark Fabiani told IVN San Diego the team agrees with the sentiment of Lemmon and decided to not issue a statement of their own. The team continues to collect signatures for its downtown stadium initiative.