Legal Concerns Raised Regarding San Diego's 'Soccer City' Initiative

San Diego City Attorney Mara Elliott has raised serious concerns about the 'Soccer City' initiative plans for Qualcomm Stadium

As reported by the San Diego Union-Tribune, City Attorney Mara Elliott echoes what the Public Land, Public Vote coalition has been saying all along — voters need to be aware that the FS Investors initiative doesn’t do several important things:

  • It doesn’t guarantee a professional soccer stadium
  • It doesn’t guarantee a river park
  • It doesn't guarantee taxpayer protections against legal risks and expenditures
  • It doesn't cover possible taxpayer costs for environmental cleanup of the Qualcomm stadium site.

The 27-page analysis points out numerous contradictions and lack of clarity in parts of the 3,000-plus-page initiative.

Elliott wrote, “The initiative includes novel and untested issues, as well as seemingly contradictory provisions.” The City Attorney warned that expensive litigation could arise if voters approve the initiative.

"The initiative includes novel and untested issues, as well as seemingly contradictory provisions."

Mara Elliot, San Diego City Attorney

FS Investors said the many concerns raised by Elliott and others could be resolved in a lease they would be required to negotiate with Mayor Kevin Faulconer if the initiative is approved.

Elliott says those concessions, which are not part of the initiative language and are therefore not binding, were not included in her analysis.

She noted: The “fair market value of the leased Property is not intended to include any increases in the Property’s value caused by the passage of the Initiative or the passage of time.” Elliott also pointed out that FS Investors has the power to sell its interest in the property, and that it’s unclear whether the buyer would be obligated to abide by concessions made in an agreement separate from the initiative.

The City Attorney’s analysis comes just weeks before the City Council decides whether to grant FS Investors' request to put their initiative on a Special Election ballot for November 2017. If the Council approves the request, it will cost taxpayers at least $5 million.

San Diego State University has called the plan a land “hijack,” the likes of which the City has never seen, and called for the City Council to place the initiative on the General Election ballot in November 2018. They have also requested the City solicit competing proposals so voters have a chance to compare the FS initiative with other potential uses of the site.

Source: Public Land, Public Vote