Voter Fraud, Democratic Dissonance and Parking Peril: San Diego Summarized | 4-9-18
Welcome to San Diego Summarized where each week we examine headlines from around the city:
This week we kick off the summary with the blockbuster news that there is another citizens initiative drafted by environmental attorney Marco Gonzalez. The initiative would mandate that whoever develops the Mission Valley SDCCU Stadium site include a park along the San Diego River with a minimum of $40 million in private investment. The developing party would have to agree to operate and maintain the park for 99 years with no taxpayer assistance.
The measure also puts an end to all city subsidies on the site, including the existing arrangement to operate the stadium at an annual loss of $7 million while SDSU’s football team calls the venue home.
Gonzalez confirmed that he is a client of La Jolla based FS Investors, who are backing the SoccerCity plan to transform a blighted path of concrete and asphalt into a vibrant and booming entertainment district, complete with a new stadium for a Major League Soccer expansion team as well as SDSU athletics.
“I’ve maintained discussions about how we might get the city to do another initiative to make sure that river park gets built, and on the schedule that FS Investors (the group behind SoccerCity) promised,” Gonzalez said.
It is pretty safe to say that this secondary initiative is an attempt by FS Investors to dispel some of the more mythical claims being made by the Friends of SDSU in their West Campus Expansion initiative. The 13.5 page document includes a clause indicating that “said River Park improvements be made at no cost to the City General Fund and completed not later than seven years from the date of execution of the sales agreement.”
Interestingly enough, the City General Fund is not the account by which funds for park restoration, maintenance and upkeep are pulled from. Those come from the Capital Improvement Fund.
Mandating that the winning developer on the site adhere to the private financing plan that FS Investors themselves have laid out in their SoccerCity plan is a swift and simple way to eliminate the smoke and mirrors that have been employed by the backers of SDSU West.
Marco Gonzalez also agrees with City Council member Scott Sherman’s assessment that the language used by the Friends of SDSU in the SDSU West initiative is illegal and constitutes voter fraud.
“If there’s one thing I hate, it’s a fraud on voters,” he said. “We have been watching this group grossly manipulate messaging to suggest that their vision is an SDSU vision.”
The city attorney has yet to reply to the memo sent by Scott Sherman nearly three weeks ago, but in a statement made to Voice of San Diego, a spokesperson for the city attorney said, “Our response will be geared toward providing the Mayor and the Council with information they need to fulfill their respective duties. Our Office can only respond to issues raised in the memo that are appropriate to address using public resources.”
The contest for Mission Valley remains relatively quiet for now, but FS Investors appear to be warming up their legs before getting back in the game.
Moving on from Mission Valley, we turn to the news that 30 prominent Democratic women published an open letter this week on Voice of San Diego's website, claiming that women are mobilized to support Democrats.
“Activism, employment and candidacy within the San Diego County Democratic Party, however, remains unsafe, rife with potential for unchecked sexual harassment and worse, despite several attempts to create fair internal systems of accountability since the resignation of disgraced former Mayor Bob Filner in 2013.”
“We have had enough,” they wrote.
The group included Sara Jacobs, who’s running for Congress and Vivian Moreno, who’s running for the San Diego City Council seat that David Alvarez currently holds.
Shake up from within political parties is nothing new, but it will be interesting to see how this declaration impacts the balance within the party itself and across the city. In a recent Chronicles of San Diego Podcast, Hank Ramirez called for women to take over leadership roles in San Diego. Good to know these ladies listened.
In other news, San Diego is in the mix for the dubious honor of being crowned the most depressing parking crater in North America. San Diego’s Midway District was highlighted as worthy of this award by an anonymous person who described the location as such:
“This is an area of San Diego that connects to the communities of Ocean Beach and Point Loma. It is predominantly industrial with suburban big box stores of which are served by the parking lots. Sports Arena Blvd, Midway Drive, and Rosecrans Street are the major arterials which connect the communities, but they are entirely bloated high speed stroads with horrendous walking and biking infrastructure.
Intersections in this part of town are huge, with crossings ranging from 4-8 lanes. The San Diego Trolley (light rail) Old Town Station is on the other side of an underpass of I-5, but it’s nearly impossible to reach it on foot and extremely dangerous by bicycle. The highly desirable Liberty Station as a destination is completely cut-off from any mode of transportation besides a car except for two bus stops and a narrow bike lane along the Rosecrans Stroad of the premises of Liberty Station. Even then, More than half of the land devoted for guests at Liberty Station is devoted to surface parking lots.
San Diego has plans to redevelop this area, but the scale of construction required to fix the issues will take many decades and enormous political will power. In the meantime, this area is [one of] the biggest urban blights on the coastal San Diego landscape.”
As the submitter mentions, there are plans underway for the district to be rezoned and development to occur, but nothing is happening any time soon.