Report From Midway Rising Public Meeting

by on February 9, 2023 · 12 comments

in Ocean Beach

By Geoff Page

The OB Rag carried the following PSA announcement on Tuesday, February 7 about a public meeting:

On Monday, Feb. 6, the City of San Diego announced that Midway Rising, the team pushed by Mayor Gloria and selected by the City Council to redevelop the Sports Arena site, will host its first quarterly public meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 8.

The meeting will be from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. and held at the EF International Language Campuses located at 3455 Kenyon St., San Diego, CA, 92110.

(The Rag does not get nearly as much credit as it should for regularly providing this kind of useful information. Editor dude deserves a thank you.) Look at the timeline, folks. The link to the city’s announcement went to Twitter where the city Tweeted about the meeting at 9:55 a.m. on February 6. That was not a lot of notice.

This was a public meeting and such require 72 hours of public notice. The city may have posted proper notice somewhere, but the Tweet clearly did not qualify. The city department handling the project provided even less notice. Here is what is on the city’s Real Estate and Airport Management Department web page:

Upcoming Public Meetings

Feb. 8, 2023:

Midway Rising will hold its first quarterly public meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2023, from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. It will be held at the EF International Language Campuses located at 3455 Kenyon St., San Diego, CA, 92110. RSVP for the meeting here. To sign up for updates, visit:

That was dated the day of the meeting. That would not qualify as sufficient public notice either.

Fortunately for some people The Rag noticed, or was alerted to, the city’s announcement and helped get the word out.

The Meeting

The meeting was held in the EF Language School as advertised. The first floor of the building is a very large open area, much of which is dedicated to a cafeteria, and the meeting area appeared to be a sectioned off part of it. It was separated from the eating area by some cloth partitions on stands. The partitions were mainly delineators and did not form a solid wall. A lot of noise filtered through from the many young diners.

There were 50 to 75 people in attendance. It is difficult to judge how many attended from the public as opposed to the various groups of professionals there to show the project. The room was set up in five stations where people could talk about what that particular station was set up to show. The five stations were:

  • The Midway Community Plan
  • Housing
  • The Sports Arena
  • Mobility & Connectivity
  • Community Benefits

Each station had a number of professionals staffing it, which made judging the community crowd difficult.

The meeting was opened by Shelby Johnson, who was with Legends, one of the Midway Rising partners. The Midway Rising website has this to say about Legends:

“We are the industry leaders in designing, planning and realizing exceptional experiences in sports and entertainment.”

Johnson immediately gave the floor to Venus Molina, Chief of Staff for District 2 council member Campbell. Molina first apologized for Campbell’s absence saying the council member was home recuperating. It has been reported that Campbell has been absent since the beginning of the year with some kind of health issue but her office has not issued any notice explaining her absence.

During her remarks, Molina said the “The Midway community really wanted this,” meaning the development. She said “Midway folks are really excited about this.”

If that was the case, the Midway-Pacific Highway Community Planning Group, did not show it. Only two members of the group were in attendance, the current chair Dike Anyiwo and the former chair, Cathy Kenton.

When asked where the rest of the planning group was, Anyiwo shrugged and said the group members were not his responsibility and that they were invited. Anyiwo did not seem to place any significance in the lack of interest shown by his planning group concerning this major project. So what community was Molina referring to, if not, at least, the planning group?

The mike was passed to Jim Anderson who introduced himself as representing Chelsea Investment Corporation. According to the Midway Rising website, Chelsea “is focused on creating and preserving high quality affordable rental homes.”  The company name does not conjure up images of affordable housing.

Johnson then stepped up to explain that this was the first of the quarterly public meetings Midway Rising is required to hold. He also said there would be “other presentations” beyond the quarterly meetings but did not elaborate.

The purpose of this meeting was to collect questions and suggestions from the attending public, information that would be aggregated and available to the public later, according to Johnson.

Johnson took care to explain that Midway Rising had only earned the right to negotiate with the city for the next two years and was not at all ready to put a shovel in the ground. This is important because Johnson also noted that Midway Rising is doing its site “due diligence” now.

This means that Midway Rising is taking a much more detailed look at the development site. Information from site investigations can cause current plans to be deemed infeasible or more expensive than planned. This information may figure into the on-going negotiations.

Anderson took over the presentation and explained that there will be 2,000 affordable housing units. “That is a locked-in number” Anderson said. The vast majority of those units will be for people earning from 30 to 80 percent of the AMI, or the Area Median Income. A smaller number, 250 units, will be for people earning from 80 to 120 percent of the AMI.

Anderson referred to the site map of the design that shows the new Sports Arena facility located at the far east end of the project. All of the housing was on the west side. Then, Anderson made one of those developer comments that jar the senses. He said the arena was located there because it would be closer to public transit and save a few minutes of travel time.

The comment made no sense. First, a person could walk from the west end of this site to the east end in five to ten minutes. Second, the housing, full of residents who may need, or use, public transportation, is the farthest from that transportation.

The explanation for Anderson’s comment is probably that the developer has decided where it wants the Sports Arena and is dreaming up justifications for it like this.

The presenters touted that this would be a union-built project and that all the jobs the project creates, after it is built, will be union jobs. It will be interesting to see if that goal is really possible.

There will also be a job training component to the project. But, it was very telling what the training would be for: the hospitality business, the tourist business. For those good paying jobs in that industry. This one screams for more research.

Once the initial presentation was over, the crowd was then released to visit the various stations to ask questions and provide suggestions on the five areas.

The information gathered from this will be reviewed after Midway Rising aggregates and publishes it. This will be the focus of a follow up article on this process. In the meantime, the public is invited to visit Midway Rising’s website to ask questions or make suggestions.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Geoff Page February 9, 2023 at 11:43 am

One thing I forgot to mention, Molina and her accompanying staff left immediately after the opening remarks. Probably didn’t want to take a chance engaging with the common folk. District 2’s participation in this first kickoff meeting of the development they wanted so badly was pathetic.


Gravitas February 9, 2023 at 7:04 pm

Geoff: Campbell’s unexplained illness/absence! Good job reporting. Input from folks affected probably close to nil.


Torri February 10, 2023 at 1:19 am

Thank you OB Rag for keeping us in the loop about Midway Rising, the city, and Jennifer Campbell’s lack of notifications and communication with those of us who live in this neighborhood.


Will February 10, 2023 at 6:04 am

It pains me how close the trolley comes to major venues used by literally thousands of people, such as the arena, while remaining far enough away to not be a viable option. This is not as bad as the airport but is of that theme.


lyle February 10, 2023 at 8:13 am

Spawars campus is being redeveloped soon. Right next to a trolley station and enough acreage for a stadium. I don’t suppose Todd Gloria could convince his developer colleagues to “Get it done” though.


Geoff Page February 10, 2023 at 10:49 am

Lyle, the city has been pretty much absent from the Navy’s redevelopment project. Faulconer tried to insert himself into this to no avail. SANDAG tried to get in the action too and also failed. This will be developer driven and a stadium is very unlikely.


Laura Dennison February 10, 2023 at 10:44 am

Thanks Geoff, for this report! Went to the “get updates” website to sign up for notices. Get out your reading glasses folks. Your typed info is a very light grey simple font against a turquoise block. Very difficult to see.


Mateo February 11, 2023 at 9:14 am

The area surrounding the Sports Arena is one of the only industrial zoned areas left in the City. There are several dozens if not hundreds of fabrication businesses working in every material from wood to plastic to metal. It will make it impossible for businesses and individuals to fabricate prototypes, or advance processes that are only allowed in industrial areas.
This myopic maps assumes the City is going to acquire all the industrial zoned properties and permanently shutter this segment of industry so Fraud Gloria and the Philly Fraudster can continue to keep tapping into unlimited dark money contributions for the corrupt California Democratic Party, DNCC and the DNC.


Geoff Page February 12, 2023 at 8:29 pm

The new community plan only shows “urban industrial” between Washington and Laurel Street, nowhere near the Sports Arena part of town. And, it is labeled “Live/work only.” Check out the plan


Geoff Page February 19, 2023 at 5:10 pm

I received an email from the city about this piece. It said:

“In regards to your story “Report From Midway Rising Public Meeting,” the meeting was held by the developer, not the City, for the public. This means it was not a public hearing that required a 72-hour notice.

We kindly ask you to correct your story.”

I responded:

“The meeting was advertised as a “public meeting” by the city and the developer. Midway Rising said it was required by the city to hold these quarterly public meetings. It was never made clear, in anything I have seen that, what you have stated here. Perhaps I missed that. Please direct me to where this distinction was made publicly by the city. I will consider changing my story when I see that. Thank you.”

They city’s response:

“The Brown Act, including any related notice requirement for public meetings, does not apply to an informational workshop where City staff and developer representatives seek input from the local community. The informational workshop held earlier this week was not a meeting of a local legislative body, and therefore, was not subject to the Brown Act.

Although the point is moot, I also just wanted to mention that the date posted on DREAM’s webpage was not the date that it was posted, but the date of the meeting.”

Notice the city referred to the meeting as an “informational workshop.” Twice. I asked the city to show me where the advance notice of the meeting referred to it as an informational workshop. Of course, I got nothing.

The last paragraph was a head shaker. The DREAM webpage is the city’s Real Estate and Airport Management webpage. I don’t know anyone who checks that website regularly, if ever. Then, they said the date above the notice on their webpage was the date of the meeting, not the date of the notice. This made no sense at all, the date of the meeting was in the body of the announcement. The date above the posting should have been the date the notice was posted.

The city kept insisting that this wasn’t a public meeting, despite that being the only description in any advance notices. I pressed the city to say when it was posted on the city’s website and when it was posted on social media. They said this:

“We posted the date and details of the meeting on our webpage on Dec. 13, 2022, and then added the location on Jan. 31, 2023. We posted about it on social media on Feb. 6, 2023.”

This was ass backward. They didn’t post anything on social media until two days before the event, the one place that people do check regularly. And, they did not send anything to substantiate when they said they posted on the website no one follows.

I then asked Midway Rising and they said this:

“Hi Geoff, thank you for reaching out. As you might know, Midway Rising is not subject to the Brown Act. That said, we are excited about what the project will deliver to the community and we plan to hold many more informational meetings in the future and will continue to notify the community in advance to encourage robust engagement.

For the first meeting, Midway Rising worked through its own digital channels via website and e-blast updates as well as with the Midway-Pacific Highway Community Planning Group and City of San Diego to share event-related information. With over 150 RSVPs received and approximately 100 in-person attendees, we are grateful to those who participated and will be expanding our outreach efforts, broadening communication channels and exploring larger venues for future meetings.”

They also made a comment about the Brown Act that requires a 72-hour advance notice of meetings. I doubt many people are daily monitoring Midway Rising’s website and the eblasts would go to people they have email addresses for. It is not known what effort, if any, the Midway Planning Group made to publicize the meetings.

I would quibble with the number of attendees at 100. There may have been that many people there but, as I said in the story, a large number of presenters was there.

The point of all this is that the city seems to have made very little effort in publicizing the meeting. Since these will be quarterly meetings, everyone will have to keep an eye for the next one in the second quarter. Here is Midway Rising’s web address again: And the DREAM website is


Jeremy Kennon February 21, 2023 at 11:57 pm

Actually, traffic will be the worst during game days and special events using the arena, and the bulk of that high volume game-day traffic will be people traveling to the arena, so it does in fact make the most sense to have the arena closest to Public transit. As you said, it’s a fairly short walk from one end of the development to the other, so people who live there can still use the public transit. But this way, they don’t have to contend with hords of game day fans traveling through their neighborhood to get to the arena on the other side.


Nicky b March 8, 2023 at 8:05 am

We have a MaJOR homeless problem on sports arena and they want to rebuild? The place is a sheethole. All of midway, old Town, the 8 highway has huge homeless camps. Let them Put up million dollar condos and a new arena. It’s turning into LA with more people,business, homes comes more homeless. More drugs. More prostitution. You will have homeless people take over those new parks immediately like the fountains and parks along the waterfront in front and behind the convention center. We already have snapdragon stadium and they just built the shell on the water. How many venues do we need? We don’t even have professional sports teams!? This is crazy AND stupid. Just because you build something new doesn’t nessacsarily clean up the neighborhood. Look at the gaslamp. Fix the homeless and housing issues we currently have before building new trash. More greed and corruption. Lipstick on th pig.


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