Archive for May, 2017

Momentum has shifted.  What seemed a done (and easy) deal is now doubtful.

While agreeing that SDSU should have publicly objected sooner rather than later to the Soccer City development, kudos to John David Wicker, Sally Roush and Elliot Hirshman for disengaging as partner (of sorts) to Soccer City and FS Investors.  Granted, this decision is risky, but better to create a challenge than continue to endorse an idea ill-suited to SDSU.

Mind boggling is the idea that FS Investors demand the school pay $13 million per acre when FS is proposing to acquire that same land for $100 per acre.  The proposal is pure larceny.  Why and how the city of San Diego agreed to such a sale price is the stuff of textbook idiocy.  However, if the city is willing to sell Q land to FS at $100 an acre, then why not offer the same price to SDSU for the approximate dozen acres the school desires for a much needed campus expansion?

Mr. Wicker is correct to assume that the $13 million per acres is indeed a subsidy to underwrite the losses of a San Diego MLS franchise.  Additionally, MLS granting a franchise to San Diego is not guaranteed.  The more information pertaining to the financial struggles of MLS (annual average franchise loss is $7 million per team), the less appealing an MLS franchise becomes.  This explains the MLS aversion to stadiums seating more than 20,000.  A half full soccer stadium looks better than a two-thirds empty soccer stadium.

San Diego City Attorney Mara Elliott’s 27 pages of response and question is most likely a death knell to Soccer City.  San Diego voters will be extremely reluctant to support a development that Ms.Elliott views as a guarantee of litigation.  “Contradictory provisions”, “No obligation or requirements . . . to build or construct . . .”, “Litigation costs could be significant” and other quotes in Ms. Elliott’s analysis of Soccer City’s 3,000 page initiative creates a great deal of doubt as to exactly what and when FS Investors actually build as Soccer City is developed.

Mayor Faulconer admittedly has not read the entire FS initiative.  Nor did any of his staff.  This reeks of a rigged game.  Since when does “Trust me.” become public policy?   The stink of professional and political incompetence is overwhelming.  Mayor Faulconer needs to receive answers from FS Investors that satisfies not only SDSU’s concerns of fairness and full inclusion, but also pass the substantial legal inspection of Ms. Elliott.  Without full legal obligation, FS Investors may very well build most of the commercial development and 4,800 housing units, but decline the rest of the project.  A perfect opportunity to properly develop the Q site to the benefit of all San Diego citizens may decompose into a half-assed spread of a missed chance.

Mayor Faulconer must publicly address the evaporation of the previous agreement to allow SDSU to play at the Q through the 2020 season.  Now the city offers only 2018.  This is a strong arm tactic to gain compliance from SDSU to participate in Soccer City.  Mayor Faulconer is an Aztec.  He needs to create benefit for SDSU in Mission Valley at the Q site.  He must stop acting as an FS Investor agent.

Transparency and fairness are required.  Soccer City offers neither.

 

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