Libertarians Block Stadium Bonds

Two Libertarians filed suit against the San Diego, California, city council, arguing that the city must hold a vote on a proposed $66 million bond issue for the San Diego Chargers football stadium. The suit will be heard by a judge in February 1996.

Steve Green, chair of the Libertarian Party of San Diego County, California, and Richard Rider, 1994 Libertarian candidate for governor of California, said that since general tax funds guarantee the bonds against default, the bond issue must be approved by a two-thirds vote according to the state constitution.

The lawsuit delayed the bond issue and the corresponding improvements to the stadium. The two Libertarians attracted a good bit of attention, including a lengthy profile in the December 24, 1995, San Diego Union-Tribune. Said the newspaper:

It was Rider -- dismissed by the political establishment as Libertarian wacko -- who challenged the 1988 half-cent sales-tax increase that would have paid for new jails in San Diego County. The California Supreme Court declared the tax illegal in 1991. The result: San Diego taxpayers will save an estimated $1.6 billion, while California taxpayers may save more than $8 billion on the precedent set by the case, which California Lawyer magazine rated a 'blockbuster.'

... It was Green who led the 1993 battle against [a previous] bond measure. The result: Voters overwhelmingly rejected the $18 million plan.

While many consider the pair to be taxpayer heroes, City Council members have called them "mean-spirited," "contemptible," and opposed "to anything that is really good for this community." Green responded, "The issue is whether or not the California constitution ought to be violated by the City Council going ahead without a vote of the people."

Source: January 20, 1996, Advisory, "Libertarians lead the fight against $66 million San Diego bond issue," from the Libertarian Party.