5 Big Problems with "Soccer City" Stadium Initiative – And How to Fix Them

If you are a voter in the City of San Diego, you may be asked for your signature soon to qualify a ballot measure that would force the sale of Qualcomm Stadium and surrounding public land to a private developer.

Before you sign the Initiative, you need to be aware of five big problems with the deal. Carl DeMaio had both supporters and opponents of the initiative on his show and has proposed solutions to each of the five big problems uncovered.

  1. Getting Fair Market Value for the Land: Under the Initiative as written, the developer could buy the stadium and all that land in Mission Valley for just $10,000! The developer forces the valuation to be set at the un-entitled value of the land rather than the rezoned valuable designation for residential, commercial and retail space approved under the Initiative. To solve this problem, Carl DeMaio proposes that Mayor Kevin Faulconer release his own valuation of the Initiative prior to any public vote on the deal.
  2. No Public Vote? The developer has been trying to avoid a public vote and get the Mayor and City Council to simply approve the deal. “This is a real deal-breaker – we must demand the people have a chance to vote on a project that involves so much public land and long-term development,” DeMaio says. This problem can be solved by forcing a public vote on the plan.
  3. Poison Pills: In the Initiative, the developer can punish San Diego taxpayers by withholding $20 million in funding for a River Park and the park may never get built. In addition, the developer can also delay the start of community park construction. “The developer should enter into a side deal before the public vote with the City to eliminate use of these poison pills,” DeMaio says.
  4. Traffic and Community Impacts: The development would authorize more than 4500 residential units and 2 million square feet of office and retail space. That’s a very dense development! To ensure all impacts of development are properly mitigated, a side deal negotiated before the public vote with the City should articulate additional remediation beyond what is contemplated in the Initiative.
  5. SDSU Support: SDSU has not endorsed the Initiative and has expressed concerns over the joint-use stadium. SDSU and the developer should come to agreement on joint-use prior to any public vote, DeMaio says. “We cannot throw SDSU under the bus by pushing this decision back past the vote because at that point SDSU and the public lose all leverage against the developer,” DeMaio concludes.

DeMaio has not endorsed the SoccerCity Initiative, but hopes that the 5 problems he has raised above are resolved to the satisfaction of all parties prior to a public vote.

Photo Credit: Mary Ayala

The DeMaio Report

The DeMaio Report

The DeMaio Report offers candid discussion on the latest in local and national political headlines, policies and reform. The show also features input and commentary from listeners, fueling political conversation and engagement in the larger San... Read more


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