Barrio Residents Say ‘Basta’ to Downtown Stadium Plans
July 15, 2016
By Mario A. Cortez
A group of citizens from Barrio Logan and neighboring communities gathered on Friday to protest the Chargers’ initiative for a Downtown Stadium.
BASTA, or Barrios Against Stadiums, staged their peaceful silent protest took outside of the Barrio Logan Family Health Center’s annual Spirit of the Barrio luncheon fundraiser. The luncheon featured members of the Chargers organization speaking on behalf of the Downtown stadium initiative.
“We are one block from the proposed stadium site. Barrio Logan is slowly undergoing a gentrification process and numerous property speculators have bought properties here,” said Brent Beltran of BASTA. “A new stadium will accelerate that process and push out the renting residents and small businesses of this community.”
The demonstration was staged to send a message to members of the Chargers organization, showing off project renderings of the new stadium at the luncheon, that residents of the adjacent neighborhoods do not agree with the stadium project.
The Chargers’ ballot initiative proposes raising hotel tax rates from 12.5 up to 16.5 percent to help finance the $1.8 billion stadium project. Of the total cost, the Chargers would provide $650 million, nearly half of which is coming from the NFL, towards the project.
Aside from gentrification, the groups is also concerned about issues such as displacement of homeless individuals from the East VIllage into Barrio Logan, worsening parking in the neighborhood, and an increase in pollution in one of the most polluted zip codes in the state and a lack of infrastructure work in the Logan Heights area.
“[The Downtown stadium] is going to destroy our homes. When they built Petco Park it pushed the homeless into Barrio Logan. They say the stadium cleaned up the East VIllage but it only pushed the homeless out into the surrounding neighborhoods,” said Hector Villegas, a Barrio Logan resident present at the silent protest.
“Until it happens to your community you’re going to see it. Eight games a year to destroy three communities in the process is not worth it,” added villegas.
The Chargers ballot initiative on which the stadium project depends on will be voted on in the November general elections. The initiative must pass on a two-thirds majority voter approval.