SoccerCity: Will City Council approve it or send it to voters?
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — Now that the Registrar of Voters has determined SoccerCity has enough valid signatures to get on the ballot, the process will now shift to the city council.
When the Registrar informs the council on June 5 the initiative has qualified for the ballot, the council has 10 days to act.
Council can either adopt the initiative or place it on the ballot, which by charter under Measure L passed last November, says initiatives have to be voted on in the next scheduled general election which would be November of 2018, not a special election.
Related Link: Full SoccerCity Coverage
"Two-thirds of San Diegans supported putting the Citizen’s Initiative on the ballot when most people vote, which is in general elections," said San Diego Attorney Bob Ottilie.
Ottilie has handled election law issues before. He said most people are under the impression SoccerCity and the mayor’s tax issue to expand the Convention Center will be on the ballot this November.
"I can’t imagine the mayor and the business community are going to override the wishes of a majority of San Diegans to rush this through," Ottilie said.
Ottilie said the charter also allows the council, in an emergency, to override the wishes of the voters and call for a special election at any time.
"There’s no emergency here. There’s no soccer team and there’s no real intention to build a stadium," Ottilie said. "We’re gonna build a SoccerCity that doesn’t have a soccer team, and we’re gonna create a Convention Center, and vote for a Convention Center on land the city doesn’t own," Ottilie said.
Both of these ballot proposals are very contentious issues. Ottilie sees an emerging consensus in the community after San Diego State ended negotiations with SoccerCity investors last week .
" … and the way they really abused San Diego State and the way they treated them after the decision to pull out. I think people are starting to say why are we letting a few hedge fund managers control the destiny our city," Ottilie said.
Others wonder why the city would spend $5 million on a special election when we have a budget crisis.
"I see a real emerging sense in the community that we should not put this on the ballot, I think Councilmember Ward said it the best, this appears to be a fools errand," Ottilie said.
Proponents of these measures want a special election because there are half as many voters than you would get in a general election.
"They want a small group of people to make decisions in special elections rather than have everybody come to the polls," Ottilie said.
When this comes before the council, there are at least three voters opposed to a special election for either of these two ballot measures.