How to vote Padres this election


Did you know there’s an election coming up? I bet you didn’t.

When you go to the polls to help America decide between a corrupt Russian-esque President or a President who would win with help from actual corrupt Russians, you might need a guide to help you decide on the over thirty (!) local and state measures on the ballot.

If you’re a big San Diego Padres fan and don’t really give a shit about these measures, maybe you’re willing to vote Padres. Allow me to help.

I’ve gone through every local ballot initiative and given the Padres’ recommendation. The purpose here is to vote with only the Padres in mind. This isn’t necessarily how the Padres would vote, since their owners might have a vested interest – like real estate holdings – in seeing a measure succeed/fail. This is how the Padres would vote if they voted with only the future success of the franchise in mind.

Keep in mind: this is not how I would vote. I have very different political beliefs. But if I was a “single issue voter” and that single issue was “Padres”, this is how I would vote.

(The Voice of San Diego has an excellent summary of each bill here.)

Measure A – SANDAG Sales Tax
Proposes a sales tax increase earmarked for regional transportation initiatives. Included is a new Trolley stop at the Fairgrounds, among other Trolley improvements, and general highway/road repair.

While the sales tax will affect demand for concessions, tickets, and so on, I think the Padres are only marginally affected. On the flip side, the Padres stand to benefit from increased regional transportation, helping some fans reach their games with greater ease.

Verdict: Yes

Measure B: Lilac Hills Ranch Development

Basically, it approved a large, new development out in Valley Center. It’s more complicated than that, but not to the Padres. They love any population increases within their marketable territory, so 1700 new homes is an easy choice for the team.

Verdict: Yes

Measure C: Chargers Stadium Proposal

Measure C would basically build Chargers Stadium in downtown. The city’s portion of the bill would be paid through a tax increase on hotel customers, although there are potential outcomes that result in the stadium being partially funded by the city’s general fund.

Whether the Padres will benefit or suffer without the Chargers is a difficult question to answer. (I’d bet they probably benefit from reallocation of entertainment budgets, but that’s not substantiated by any numbers I have.) At any rate, it’s not a given the Chargers leave anyway, especially since the Raiders appear like they will not accept their Los Angeles option (instead opting for Las Vegas), so I’m going to ignore that part of the equation.

However, Measure C does do two things which will hurt the Padres. First and foremost, the proposed events revenue split for the new stadium will unequivocally hurt the Padres‘ bottom-line. Since baseball does not have a salary cap, this will materially impact the quality of the team.

Secondarily, it would demolish one of the few parking structures that the Padres currently control, biting into their parking revenues and potentially causing congestion issues that may reduce fan access to Petco. At the very least, the Padres’ revenue share from the current lot they control will decrease.

Verdict: No

Measure D: Citizens’ Initiative

This wildly convoluted bill simultaneously increases the hotel tax (by varying degrees, depending on hotel choice), and also paves the way for the construction of a new convention center on the Qualcomm lot. It doesn’t directly do that, but it would authorize the land to be sold for that purpose.

While the Padres don’t necessarily want Measure C’s method of placing the Chargers downtown, I think that they ultimately do want the Chargers (and especially the convention center it may expand) downtown. Moving the convention center away from Petco will likely hurt gameday walk-up traffic and would also shift resources away from transportation needs around the stadium. The Padres want that area thriving.

Verdict: No

Measure E: Removing City Officials

I don’t see how the Padres would care either way. A corrupt official could help or hurt the Padres, depending on the type of corruption, so I just don’t see the franchise having a vested interest in this measure.

Verdict: Abstain

Measure F: Job Security for Deputy City Attorneys

Again, I don’t see how the Padres would care. The Padres don’t interface with city attorneys often, and I doubt changing tenure from two years to one would ever have an effect on the team.

Verdict: Abstain

Measure G: Changes to the Citizens’ Review Board

Again, not much for the Padres here. The only thing I can reasonably come up with is if something happened at a Padres game for which the team would need to investigate the actions of a police officer, they may benefit from this law. For example, if something similar to the Bryan Stow tragedy happened in a parking lot controlled by the Padres, they may end up wanting the police audit executed by a third party.

It’s really not much of a yes, but it is the verdict the Padres would probably choose.

Verdict: Yes

Measure H: Contracting/Purchasing Process Change

This is a huge nothing burger for the Padres.

Verdict: Abstain

Measure I: San Diego High Permit Renewal

This measure renewals SDHS’s permit on their Balboa Park land. The permit expires in 2024, which would require a new high school to be constructed.

A high school nearer to Petco would be a nightmare for both traffic concerns and its possible adverse effect on attendance. They’d rather have the new school not exist and see that land used residentially. Not to mention the cost of the school can be better used in ways that could help the team, like improving transportation.

Verdict: Yes

Measure J: Bonds for City Parks

Basically allows the city to issue bonds to pay for Balboa Park improvements, while also increasing revenue allocation flexibility.

The Padres would (crassly) vote no. Balboa Park, Mission Bay Park, and other local parks affected by the bill ultimately fall under the “entertainment budget” umbrella that the Padres also fall under. If Balboa Park is improved, the Padres will hurt on the margins as some fans will take their money there, rather than Petco.

Verdict: No

Measure K: Forcing a November Runoff

A yes vote here requires the mayoral election to coincide with the general election. A no vote keeps it as it is, which allows for elections to be won in June, depending on vote total.

This basically comes down to whether or not the Padres prefer a Republican or Democrat mayor. If they preferred Democrat, they’d vote yes since voter turnout for general elections tend to sway more Democrat than most other ballot dates.

I’m not sure there’s a preference from the team – maybe the Democrat would be more willing to consider transportation improvements funded by the taxpayers? – and I doubt it’s a large enough preference to consider voting a particular way on this one.

Verdict: Abstain

Measure L: Forcing November Ballot Initiatives

This is the same as measure K, except it involves ballot initiatives rather than mayoral races.

Whereas the Padres probably wouldn’t have much interest in the mayoral race, I do think they could end up benefiting from having the option to push a ballot initiative in June, rather than November. I don’t know what exactly they’d need to put on the ballot – just spit-balling here, but maybe the purchasing of land to construct a new parking lot or digital advertising viewable outside the ballpark – but it may be more beneficial to have June available as an option, rather than being forced to have it on the ballot in November.

Verdict: No

Measure M: Increasing Rent-Controlled Housing Limit

I can’t imagine the Padres could possibly want this.

The economic analysis of rent-controlled housing is a fairly slam-dunk one: it leads to housing shortages, which artificially increases housing prices to everyone else. Basically, there would be less people in San Diego and they’d mostly be paying more than they currently are. (You’d think there’d be some people who pay less than they currently are, but the studies show that isn’t true; generally, rent-controlled inhabitants end up in a larger place than they would otherwise pay for, and do not end up pocketing the difference.)

All told, it means less disposable income for Padres fans in downtown and fewer Padres fans, as the people-per-unit ratio decreases.

Verdict: No

Measure N: Taxing Marijuana

Here’s an obvious yes for the Padres. The tax revenue goes into the general fund, which could be used for infrastructure costs which benefit the Padres, while it touches an industry very orthogonal to anything the Padres sell.

Verdict: Yes


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