City Appeals Rulings on Legality of SoccerCity, SDSU West Ballot Initiatives

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A rendering of the proposed SoccerCity stadium. Courtesy FS Investors.

The San Diego City Council on Tuesday backed City Attorney Mara Elliott’s appeals over the legality of two initiatives to redevelop the Mission Valley stadium site.

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Both SoccerCity and SDSU West proposals were ruled qualified for the November ballot in two separate cases by different judges.

The City Council voted 5-3 to allow Elliott to go forward with separate appeals for each initiative.

“The Soccer City and SDSU West initiatives essentially force the lease or sale of City assets on terms set by the proponents,” Elliott said in a statement. “By filing writs with the Fourth District Court of Appeal, the city seeks clarity on whether this unprecedented use of the initiative process is legal.”

Elliott based her appeals on last week’s ruling by the California Supreme Court that pulled the 3 Californias initiative off the ballot because there were questions about its validity.

The ruling said a pre-election review may appropriate when there are questions about an initiative’s legality.

“Pre-election review of these local initiatives will ensure that an invalid measure is not presented to voters, avoiding years of costly litigation and delay,” Elliott said.

Both proposals earned 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 current SDCCU Stadium site in Mission Valley.

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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.

Friends of SDSU said after the appeal was announced that its initiative “was expressly written to give the mayor and city council the power to determine terms of an agreement to sell the stadium site.”

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