City council places SoccerCity on 2018 ballot, but is there still a chance for a special election?

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — With Monday night’s city council vote, the SoccerCIty project in Mission Valley is now in deep water.

However, there is a lifeline to save the project, but the odds are stacked against it.

The door is open because the council still has the option to call for a special election at any time. The deadline to get five votes is August if there’s to be an election in November.

"There’s still an opportunity to reschedule and have it docketed and heard for a special election," said Councilmember Scott Sherman.

"You left the option in there. It says unless the council decides to place the matter on the ballot of a citywide municipal special election prior to that general election," said City Attorney Mara Elliott.

Councilmember Sherman said 112, thousand voters signed the initiative to have a vote this November, but the council said no, the vote will be next year.

"Our job is to implement the will of the voter and not impose our will on the voter, and that’s what we’ve been doing here for the last couple of weeks," Councilmember Sherman said.

Barbara Bry voted for a 2018 election along with her four Democrat colleagues. This is her first elective office and she said politics have a learning curve.

"Your opponents of yesterday can become your allies of today and tomorrow," she said.

SoccerCity lost votes at council because of these obstacles. The initiative was seen as a land grab. Labor opposed it and there was no competition and there was nothing workable for San Diego State.

The concessions made to mitigate other concerns by side agreements are not enforceable, according to the city attorney. 

"Commitments and other agreements are possible that there is an opportunity to build consensus around a stronger project, but those commitments unfortunately are not build into this initiative," said Councilmember Chris Ward.

And it did not sit well with Councilmember David Alvarez to learn the mayor had been negotiating with SoccerCIty for more than a year.

"We’ve got a backroom deal that’s been going on for quite some time and you can agree that it’s a good deal or not a good deal, but it’s a backroom deal nonetheless," Councilmember Alvarez said.

Councilmember Chris Cate said he hopes the door isn’t shut on having a special election this year, but even an election in 2018 would have benefits. 

"We are that much more in position and being in a position quicker, faster to have a determination on what happens to that land on Qualcomm," Councilmember Cate said.

It’s a long shot, but SoccerCity will continue to lobby for a November election. If it doesn’t happen, a stadium cannot be built by 2020, foreclosing San Diego’s chance to get a soccer franchise. 

No Franchise, no project.

If the investors were to cut a deal with labor to have a project labor agreement for union workers only, and put up $5 million for the election, it’s possible to sway enough votes to have that election this year. 

Categories: Local San Diego News, SoccerCity Proposal