Of all local politicians, San Diego City Council member Chris Cate took the boldest stand against the former San Diego Chargers’ effort to build a downtown stadium and convention center expansion.
Now that the Chargers have left — partially because the stadium effort got only 43 percent of the vote — will Cate face heat at the voting booth when he runs for re-election in 2018?
Or could the opposite happen? Might voters rally to re-elect him because the Chargers were perceived as greedy and Cate a brave, civic watchdog?
Cate was hardly alone if voicing opposition, but he’s the only local politician up for re-election in the coming future. Council members Scott Sherman and David Alvarez also attacked the stadium concept, but they’re both in their second terms and can’t run for the council anymore because of term limits.
Mayor Kevin Faulconer, who supported the measure — but did so very late — is in his second term as well.
Cate was also singled out by the Chargers for his opposition. The team purchased ads on Facebook and Twitter which questioned why he was against the stadium and asked fans to call his office for an explanation.
A couple hundred did so.
But most of those callers did not live in District 6 and some did not even live in the city of San Diego, said Rebecca Kelley, his communications director.
Cate is not concerned about any kind of backlash when he’s up for re-election, she said. “He did what was best for the district, what was best for the city,” she said. “He was very black and white on this issue. He was unwavering.”
She said a number of people expressed their thanks to Cate for taking such a stand.
Cate also made it clear he did not want to see the Chargers leave. Cate, a former vice president of the San Diego County Taxpayers Association, felt the stadium was a bad deal.
After the November vote, Cate joined other council members in offering the Chargers an alternative deal. The team could lease the 166-acre Mission Valley site for a dollar a year for 99 years and develop it as they saw fit.
The Chargers opted for Los Angeles instead.