Kudos to Mara Elliott for Saying SDSU / Stadium Deal Is Seriously Flawed

by on May 11, 2020 · 4 comments

in San Diego

The former Qualcomm stadium flooded, 12-23-10.

BRAVA! Mara Elliott

By Colleen O’Connor

Kudos to City Attorney Mara Elliott for doing what is in the best interest of San Diegans. She has made several clear, lucid and legally cogent arguments against the sweetheart developer/SDSU deal.  All of them legitimate.


First of all, the bidding for the largest piece of prime real estate in San Diego should have gone to open, competitive bidding.  Not restricted to two ballot propositions between San Diego State and its need for some housing and a new, larger football stadium and Soccer City.

“City Attorney Mara Elliott has never approved of the plan to transfer the city’s Mission Valley stadium land to San Diego State University. She thought Measure G, which authorized and mandated the sale, was plainly illegal. And she verified not that long ago that she still thinks that, but she couldn’t get the mayor and City Council to agree.”

Only Elliott has had the honesty to confront that reality.  And she has added multiple other egregious examples of City malfeasance in the contract that was signed.  Each of which should disqualify the sale, transfer, increased indebtedness and liabilities the City will face.

For example. The give away without competitive bidding should invalidate the entire land transfer and sale.

Next, how about of the loopholes to transfer the majority of liabilities to the City, not SDSU.

Then, how to abide by water, sewer, and pure water/waste water recycling. And how to keep the city taxpayers free from non-compliance if SDSU finds even more loopholes than they now enjoy?

Why the rush?  Because time provides closer scrutiny and greater heft for Elliott’s arguments.

Yet, the Mayor and City Council are determined to press ahead quickly with the agreement. The deal must be confirmed by the Council.

Hurry, do not let a Coronavirus crisis go to waste.  Ram it through while others are just trying to stay safe.

Super questions abound and not a single politician expresses any concern?  Higher office ambitions, developers’ contributions, and other stakeholder concerns seem to have silenced even the more judicious members of the Council.

Which leads to the other big move. The one by newly elected District 2 Councilmember Jan Campbell to remove the 30-foot height limit in the Midway District.

Perhaps even more audacious than the City plan to redo the Bankers’ Hill/ Hillcrest area to open it to massive high-rise construction and include the old stock neighborhood of Mission Hills in its jaws.

What happened to the City Architect?  Did anyone feel Sunday’s earthquake?  Why more high-density high-rise buildings?  Has nothing been learned from the COVID-19 pandemic?

This Council and Mayor have proven to be even more developer friendly and constituent-deaf than the mega-developers of the famous “Tourist Go Home” era.  And the results are more storage-facility housing contracts than anything remotely imaginative.

Drive around (in this era of home confinement) and look at the back streets in your neighborhood.  See anything attractive?  Watch the speed with which the one family homes become “6-pack” lego units.

Who is minding the store? Only City Attorney Mara Elliott seems to have the best interests of her clients at heart. That would be the people.

Brava Mara Elliott! And congratulations to your staff. You deserve unending applause.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

John O. May 12, 2020 at 5:05 pm

Of course it is flawed… JMI is all over it. Does anybody know his history? $611,000,000 in family stock profits taken while he is Chairman… others are indicted. He parlays that into downtown development and becomes a “pillar” of the community. Moores cancer center… Padres, etc. And now the next phase… SDSU is a great “partner” to redevelop the Mission Valley properties…
Peregrine – http://www.espn.com/sportsbusiness/news/2002/0724/1409448.html


William Hammett Sr May 27, 2020 at 3:40 pm

Exhibit A – Why San Diego cannot accomplish anything of any great impact. There are back benchers howling about how evil developers and corrupt politicians are selling us all out. I guess the “giveaway” of the prime oceanfront property now known as UCSD was an example of bad faith negotiations and PETCO Park has really disappointed with it’s billions of dollars in economic impact, despite the very same chicken littles crying foul back when downtown was undergoing its miraculous transformation. Now, SDSU, which has been a city tresure and massive economic engine in the City for over 100 years, is to be denied access to a once in a lifetime opportunity to expand its footprint beyond the landlocked mesa into Mission Valley. I suppose Mara Elliot and Ms. Occonor would prefer to have a few more condos and a shopping mall instead of a world-class university campus and state of the art athletics field. Good luck in your rush backward, thank God there are some progressive thinkers left here.


John O. May 27, 2020 at 7:33 pm

I’d definitely prefer to have more affordable housing rather than a stadium. And I’d also prefer that it not be developed by someone that was connected to a half billion dollars+ worth of stock fraud.


Geoff Page May 28, 2020 at 8:36 am

A broader public sale of this land would just result in developers filling the space with as much as they possibly could to maximize profits. Take a look at the Civita development to get an idea. You can’t put serious restrictions on a public sale. This deal at least ensures this won’t happen because it does contain development requirements. What we get is an expansion of an educational institution, an athletic venue, and parks. The valley is crowded enough and will be getting worse once the other developments coming are realized. Look at the golf course, it will soon look like Civita. Let’s do something better with the stadium property.


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