Qualcomm Stadium: Councilmembers say land should be declared surplus property

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — A memo to Council President Myrtle Cole from four council members said they Qualcomm site, and Murphy Canyon Practice Facility should immediately be declared a surplus property.

If approved, who will eventually control the Qualcomm properties? SoccerCity? Competitive bids from developers? or years and years of delay?

What ever happens will depend on how the council votes when debates begins sometime in August.

This is another power play between the mayor and council.

If council deems this as surplus property, it can expect a veto from the mayor. The question is, can it muster enough votes to override. Remember it could not override the veto for funding for a special election.

The councilmembers memo said surplus land falls under state law, the initiative notwithstanding. Thus the city is required to first notify all government agencies within the city as to the availability of the property.

This means those agencies get the first crack as purchasing for leasing that land.

"A citizens initiative in San Diego is preempted by state law. It has to be subject to state law," said former City Attorney Jan Goldsmith.

Whatever happens over this struggle for power, remember over 100 voters said we will decide.

"The votes will have the last say with the initiative, however the one caveat is if this is really deemed surplus land the initiative is subservient to state law," Goldsmith said.

If the council cannot override an expected veto from the mayor, then we wait for the 2018 election. If voters approve SoccerCity’s initiative, it goes forward.

"They step in the shoes of the government and say get out of the way we are going to exercise this power so whether there’s a council policy or not or what the mayor does is really irrelevant when it comes to an initiative," Goldsmith said.

If the initiative fails, SoccerCity goes away and the land will be open to proposals from other developers, including SDSU in a competitive bid process.

Goldsmith said what’s been lacking here is a common vision of what should happen to this land. Do we really want another fight over it?

"That is a better approach than a hard course. Here’s a public opinion, the council is right, the mayor is right, the other party’s wrong, You’re only going to create more conflict," Goldsmith said.

Goldsmith also noted that surplus land has rarely been used except for small parcels of land, not big projects. 

Categories: Local San Diego News, SoccerCity Proposal