By Raoul Lowery Contreras
San Diego State University’s last football game of the season was played in the afternoon on a day when thousands of students were home all over the country; the result, attendance was 29,000, the same as the last night game the week before.
As I walked towards the stadium from the trolley, I was approached by several people asking if I would like to sign a petition to put SDSU West on next year’s November ballot. Unfortunately, I don’t live in the city, so I couldn’t sign it, but I hope everyone else who lives in the city does sign the petition.
We are awaiting details of the proposal.
One thing is certain, the proposed stadium to replace the current one must be larger than 30,000 seats. Sure, it would have looked great to see 29,000 plus people in a 30,000-seat stadium, but attendance is certain to increase. At least 40,000 seats, if not 45,000 seats, are needed for the football program to grow.
The fact the soccer people want 30,000 seats is immaterial. Soccer must not dictate where we are going with this project. The only direction for building on the current site should be SDSU’s needs; it simply needs more real estate and it can’t grow on Montezuma Mesa.
We know from the number of applications it receives every year (80,000 plus) that it can grow by another 10,000 15,000 students; we know that research grants will follow; we know that private enterprise will spend lavishly to build dormitories, apartments and enterprises that will fit into the educational scheme of things. That includes hotels and restaurants that will hire students majoring in the hospitality industry, which is critical in California.
One aspect that most people don’t know is that these private ventures on university land pay rent and in-lieu property taxes. If the competing SoccerCity proposition is implemented, all that money would flow to private pockets and SDSU would be left with only a few acres to build a building or two.
Not good enough.
The University of California, San Diego has 2,600 acres to grow on and it is growing while building a quality university that is ranked among the top ten public schools in the world. With the land SDSU West is seeking in Mission Valley, there is no reason that SDSU can’t climb higher in the ranks of best public universities while it produces thousands more graduates that our San Diego economy needs.
Sign the petition; let the people decide.
Raoul Lowery Contreras is a political consultant and the author of “The Armenian Lobby & American Foreign Policy” and “The Mexican Border: Immigration, War and a Trillion Dollars in Trade.” His work has appeared in the New American News Service of the New York Times Syndicate.
>> Subscribe to Times of San Diego’s free daily email newsletter! Click hereFollow Us: