Soccer City: Our View

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Opinion.

June 9, 2017. (Sa Diego) with the vote in the city council, even if Major Kevin Faulconer vetoes the city council decision, and it is sustained, there are issues. These are major issues that reflect on the city power structure and way of doing business. It also should require a major revision of the plan document for The Valley. Convenient that the Mission Valley Planning Board is in the midst of that revision.

There are a few things at play here. The first is that the property is worth over $100 million. The city needs to carefully consider this as the property is an asset for the city. If the city wishes to transfer ownership there are short and long-term benefits depending on who gets the property.

FS Investors are promising a lot of jobs. However, every stadium development does that, and they rarely deliver. It is the promise of “if you build it, they will come.” There is a long history of this to convince municipalities. While this particular carrot is not including tax payer money directly, there will be tax payer money regardless. In this case, the city is exploring the expansion of ramps, and roads to handle traffic. Before. The Chargers left, the planning group did not have to look at daily increases in traffic. However, Soccer City is likely to produce increased traffic every day, far above what we have at present.

The project is also following a faster process, avoiding a lot of the studies done in the past. It is also following a familiar story in San Diego. It is not lack of vision that drives some of the opposition. However, the city is showing an utter lack of institutional memory. The consequences of it are still with us. This was written by Steven P. Erie, Vladimir Kogan, and Scott A. MacKenzie in Paradise Plundered in 2011;

 While noting the city’s massive infrastructure backlog, the General Plan stated only that San Diego voters would have to choose how to finance the city’s public facilities and infrastructure needs. Ominously, it noted that residents voted down recent tax increases. To some senior city staff, the effort represented a clear failure to adequately plan for and invest in the city’s future. “The ‘City of Villages’ process should have been halted early on until the reality of the situation were allowed to sink in with the voting public, the media, the bureaucracy, and most of all, our elected officials,” recalled Hank Cunningham, the city’s former head of community and economic development. “Instead, this exercise in futility was allowed to plod along under its own volition until it became law in 2008 with adoption of the current General Plan update.”

 

It seems the city, which still has that growing infrastructure backlog, is ready to do what it can to serve developers.

San Diego State would have a development that would relieve some of the pressure from the Mesa. It would get a permanent stadium for the football program. However, student housing and research buildings would benefit the University and a growing series of doctorate programs. This, in turn, would have a good synergy for the city labor force. Oh, and SDSU is not going anywhere. A sports team will if there are better prospects elsewhere.

Then there is the special election. We urge the mayor not to overturn the defunding of the special election. Citizens voted for Prop “L” to stop a long-standing practice. Unpopular projects are placed in off-year special elections to ensure they will pass, or have a better chance of passing. We are updating this to point out the mayor has used the veto.  

Strong mayor cities give a lot more power to mayors. However, when the city cannot afford to fill potholes and replace old water mains, this project is not a win-win for the citizens. It will impact roadways that are already heavily impacted. Also, the regulatory checks and balances will miss major issues, even those that the city is committed to.

This includes: “the Multiple Species Conservation Program (MSCP) and associated preserve system that encompassed much of the land called out as a part of the potential “environmental tier”. This is from the 2015 General Plan revision. The San Diego River is considered a critical environment that needs protection. Increased single traffic could also affect the Climate Action Plan.

 

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