Mayor Faulconer: Special election ‘crucial’ for Convention Center expansion, SoccerCity development

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — Monday is shaping up as a crucial day for Mayor Faulconer’s plans to expand the San Diego Convention Center and for the SoccerCity development proposed for Mission Valley.

That’s when the nine members of city council will decide if a special election should be called for November of this year.

Related Link: Full SoccerCity coverage

If you’re a sports fan, here’s an analogy: Monday’s vote could be sudden death for both Mayor Faulconer’s plan to expand the Convention Center and for SoccerCity.

Prospects for a special election seemed to dim earlier this week when the council voted not to set aside $5 million for a special ballot this year.

The mayor isn’t given up though. He said he’s getting ready to issue a veto, which would restore the millions needed for that special election.

But even with a mayoral veto, the fate of both measures still hinges on Monday’s city council vote, on whether a special election should be scheduled at all.

The council’s four Republicans have said they will vote "yes" on the special election, but there are four Democrats who are opposed.

Council president Myrtle Cole, a Democrat, is said to be the swing vote. City hall insiders say organized labor and state Democratic leaders are learning on Cole to vote "no."

The head of San Diego’s tourism authority supports the mayor’s claim, that expanding the Convention Center has to begin as soon as possible.

Joe Terzi said millions of dollars in future convention business is at stake.

Opponents of the special election have argued that the $5 million price tag is too much. And some councilmembers have voiced reservations about the plan to hike the hotel tax, saying there aren’t enough details about who the money would also go to fix roads and address homelessness.

Councilmember Scott Sherman, the only councilmember to give his consent to pay for a special election, is also a strong support of SoccerCity. He noted that more than 100,000 people signed the petition to qualify the proposal for a vote. 

"It would be shameful if a handful of councilmembers deny San Diegans their right to vote on this measure when it counts in November," Councilmember Sherman said.

The mayor is also emphatic: Both measures can’t wait.

By law, the SoccerCity proposal, which is a voter’s initiative, must be put to a public vote. Theoretically, that could take place next year.

The developers, FS Investors, argue that their plan has to have a vote in 2017 because Major League Soccer will decide on its expansion teams at the end of this year. 

Categories: Local San Diego News, SoccerCity Proposal