A group of private investors is circulating the SoccerCity initiative, which would be one of the largest land transactions and development approvals in San Diego’s history.
The initiative allows FS Investors to acquire the 166-acre Qualcomm Stadium site from the city of San Diego and redevelop it into 4,800 homes, 2.4 million square feet of office space, 740,000 square feet of retail space, 450 hotel rooms, three 330-foot high-rise towers, 55 acres of parkland and a joint-use stadium.
The City Council has already been asked by FS Investors to directly enact the initiative three months from now in June, without a public vote.
If that happens, the initiative avoids public hearings and expert evaluation triggered by the normal environment review and specific plan approval processes.
It also avoids the city charter mandate that voters approve sales of 80 or more acres of public land by limiting FS Investors’ land purchases to 79.9 acres while permitting a 99-year lease of the remaining 86 acres. Private uses will be placed on the 79.9 acres and public uses (parks and streets) on the rest.
The initiative would allow selection of the lessee, approval of the 99-year lease agreement and the sale of 79.9 acres without City Council approval or a public hearing.
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Has the mayor and council members even identified all the partners who make up FS Investors as part of their “robust vetting process.”? WHO ARE THOSE GUYS? Will they divulge their whole membership? What previous deals and projects has the group invested in before? Did FS Investors comply with the law and carry out all their promises when it funded previous projects? Do any of the partners in FS Investors have criminal records? The city charter has a section requiring that all companies and organizations doing business must fully divulge their membership. The city has never enforced this charter provision since the voters adopted it decades ago. Will the city enforce it in this case? The voters adopted the charter change when it was discovered that the city hall politicians had been unknowingly been negotiating with a Maria Don. How do we know that history isn't repeating itself?
When the project was first announced, FS Investors went to great lengths to say that they would pay fair market value for the property. It was only later that they defined fair market value as an amount reduced by the costs of tearing down the present stadium, constructing the park, and other various add-ons. I can see why they would want to reduce their purchase price by those amounts but they should have said that in the beginning. A little bait and switch is going on.
Also, these citizen initiatives are an odd way of enacting public policy. Announce a plan, publish an unreadable supplement in a newspaper, pay signature gatherers who will say anything to get people to sign, allow the city council to ignore voters, and bypass the normal planning process. Is this what the original intent of the folks who first started these initiatives were after? I kind of doubt it.
Whose statements do: "FS Investors said one of its key goals is transparency" and "The City Council has already been asked by FS Investors to directly enact the initiative three months from now in June, without a public vote" sound most like:
Nancy Pelosi announcing the vote on the Affordable Care Act "to know what is in this bill you have to vote for it"
Barrack Hussein Obama in his pre-election mode talking about making his presidency "the most transparent administration in history" ?
Everybody eagerly awaits Kevin aka "Winky" Faulkner's next words and winks on this initiative.
Oh Winky, the voters put you in and the voters can stop you from rising. You must demand that the will of the people to be heard and prevail, no winking or crossed fingers behind your back.
I have found that if someone is pushing you to make a decision RIGHT NOW, usually the best thing to do is to walk away. If it is a good deal then it will still be a good deal when everyone understands what is going on. If it is a bad deal, they don't want you looking at it too closely.
Lastly, the high density development so beloved by urban planners, does not lead to the formation of neighborhoods. I would argue that above a certain density it is almost impossible to form a neighborhood and what you have is a rabbit warren. Not the cute one depicted in "Watership Down," but the one with rules, schedules, no one caring about their neighbor or the common facilities, that is the other one depicted in "Watership Down." The one people where trying to escape from, for good reason.
Where is the text of the petition available? I couldn't find it anywhere on the soccercity website or elsewhere.
I was told by the signature gatherer today that signing the initiative was to get it on the ballot. Only by pressing him did he say it was to get council approval without going to ballot