Judge Rules SDSU West Initiative Is Legally Qualified for November Ballot

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A rendering of the SDSU West campus green looking west toward the campanile and stadium.

A Superior Court judge has tentatively ruled that the SDSU West initiative is legally qualified for the November ballot.

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“The court must defer to the electorate’s constitutional right to enact laws through the initiative process,” Judge Randa Trapp wrote in her order on Tuesday, explaining that the court should “shortcut the normal initiative procedure only where the invalidity of the proposed measure is clear beyond a doubt.”

Trapp’s tentative ruling will be argued in Superior Court Thursday, and the validity of a competing initiative for SoccerCity will be considered by a different judge next week.

In May, City Attorney Mara Elliott asked the court to review both measures, arguing that they infringed on the authority of the mayor and City Council.

“By seeking pre-election guidance from the courts, the city hopes to avoid a situation where voters act on measures that are later found to be legally invalid,”Elliott said at the time. “Even if the court finds no problems with the measures, it may narrow post-election issues, which will save taxpayer money and potentially expedite city actions to implement a successful measure.”

Both the SoccerCity and SDSU West proposals have garnered enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot. Whichever measure receives the most votes — assuming it exceeds 50 percent — will win the rights to negotiate with the city to redevelop the former Qualcomm Stadium site in Mission Valley.

The SDSU West plan proposes the sale of about 132 acres of city property to San Diego State University or an auxiliary organization to clear the way for a new 35,000-seat Aztecs football stadium. The facility would also accommodate professional soccer, concerts as well as other events, and could expand to accommodate a future NFL franchise.

The SoccerCity initiative, meanwhile, proposes a 99-year property lease and construction of a 23,500-seat soccer stadium that could be enlarged for football games.

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