By Raoul Lowery Contreras
Ordinary citizens rarely have the ability to vote for a massive injection of jobs into the community. San Diegans have that opportunity on Nov. 6.
On that day they can choose between giving away our Mission Valley stadium and its massive parking lot for the construction of shopping malls, a tiny soccer stadium for a team that doesn’t exist, bars and restaurants, or expanding San Diego State University for the betterment of the city, the state and nation.
Making money off of retail stores, bars and fast food places is one thing; building college classrooms, developing university research facilities, expanding student and faculty housing and, ultimately, producing college graduates is another.
Any buildings designed and built under the auspices of SDSU have to be designed and built under state law for long lives. Moreover, any joint projects with private enterprise will be taxed by San Diego under “possessory interest.” These are the equivalent of property taxes. I know, because as a Port of San Diego tenant I paid thousands of dollars in possessory interest taxes.
SDSU has been at its existing, built-out campus site for almost a century. The SoccerCity idea has been around for a few years and is funded by out-of-towners, none of whom attended SDSU.
Their proposal is to lease the property for a period of years during which they can parcel out pieces to other out-of-towners. They won’t create a single college graduate who will earn a million dollars more during life than a non-graduate.
San Diegans can vote for SDSU West’s Measure G in November. If they do, they will be voting to add prevailing-wage construction jobs to the 12,800 jobs SDSU currently supports on campus and the 40,000 community-wide jobs SDSU supports. Prevailing wages are generally four or five times minimum wage.
Rarely do San Diegans get to vote on more and new jobs and economic impact that will benefit the city forever. Retail stores and shopping malls come and go, but the university will be forever.
As a committed San Diegan and an “Aztec for Life,” I’m voting “yes” on Measure G.
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.
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