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Calif. Senate Bill Opens Door For Downtown Chargers Stadium

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Video published October 15, 2010 | Download MP4 | View transcript

Above: How did last-minute state budget maneuvering position state legislators to outflank City of San Diego officials in the push for a downtown Chargers stadium? We'll discuss the senate bill and analyze what is means for San Diego.

How did last-minute state budget maneuvering position state legislators to outflank City of San Diego officials in the push for a downtown Chargers stadium? We'll discuss the senate bill and analyze what is means for San Diego.

Guest

Scott Lewis, CEO voiceofsandiego.org

Transcript

LAST WEEK CALIFORNIA LAWMAKERS FINALLY PASSED A BUDGET MORE THAN THREE MONTHS LATE, THE DELAY CAUSED HEADACHES AND WORRY AS THE STATE RAN OUT OF MONEY AND AT THE 11th HOUR AUTHORITIES SQUEEZED IN A BILL THAT HAD LITTLE OR NOTHING TO DO WITH CALIFORNIA AND LOTS TO DO WITH THE CHARGERS STADIUM PROPOSED FOR DOWNTOWN.

WE WILL ANALYZE WHAT THIS MEANS FOR SAN DIEGO. WHAT IS IN THAT DEAL?

IT'S A SWEET HEART DEAL, QUICKLY LOOK AT YOUR PROPERTY TAX BILL LIST IT AS AN EXPLANATION, REDEVELOPMENT IS ONE OF THE THINGS THAT IT GOES TO AND PART OF THAT IS DOWNTOWN IN SAN DIEGO. NOW THIS BILL SAID THIS CAN GO ON INDEFINITELY. THAT'S A BIG DEAL BECAUSE A LOT OF ENTITIES, THE COUNTY, SCHOOL DISTRICT, WERE WAITING FOR DOWNTOWN REDEVELOPMENT TO CEASE SO THEY COULD BENEFIT AS WELL FROM ALL THE INVESTMENT THAT IS MADE DOWN THERE.

SO REDEVELOPMENT CAN GO ON DOWNTOWN WHETHER THEY NEED IT OR NOT?

RIGHT. THEY BEGAN A LONG-TERM STUDY WHETHER THEY SHOULD CONTINUE TO DO THIS. WHAT THAT BILL WAS GETTING AROUND THE PROCESS. I WOULD NOT BE SURPRISED IF YOU SAW THE COUNTY BE SO UPSET THAT THEY FILE LEGAL ACTION.

WHY DID THE STATE GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS GET INVOLVED IN SAN DIEGO BUSINESS IN THE FIRST PLACE?

THIS WAS STARTED BY NATHAN FLETCHER. YOU REMEMBER HIM FROM THE CHILD KIDNAPPING --

RIGHT.

YES. IS A REPUBLICAN AND THEY NEEDED HIS VOTE TO PASS THE BUDGET. AND HE DID WHAT HE CALLS THIS GIFT TO SAN DIEGO. THE CITY COUNCIL IS NOT AWARE OF IT AND EVEN THE CITY COUNCILMAN REPRESENTS DOWNTOWN DID NO KNOW. THE MAYOR SAID THAT HE DID NOT TELL PEOPLE ABOUT IT BECAUSE HE THOUGHT IT MAY DERAIL THE PROCESS BUT THAT IS KIND OF A BIG DEAL.

SO IT WAS A SECRET PROCESS, AND WHAT WE ARE HEARING IS THAT IT WILL MAKE IT EASIER FOR A CHARGERS STADIUM TO BE BUILT DOWNTOWN, NOW.

THE CHARGERS RECENTLY DECIDED THAT THEY NEED TAXPAYER MONEY IF THEY WANT TO BUILD A STADIUM. AS MUCH AS $500 MILLION THE ONLY WAY TO GET THAT TYPE OF MONEY IS IF IT'S INCLUDED IN REDEVELOPMENT MONEY. REMEMBER THE CHUNK OF YOUR PROPERTY TAX BILL. THAT IS THE ISSUE. I THINK A LOT OF RESIDENTS ARE CONCERNED ABOUT A CITY THAT IS RIGHT NOW BEGGING FOR MORE TAX DOLLARS FROM SALES TAX WITH PROPOSITION D WONDERING WHY THEY ARE ARE CONDUCTING A HUGE TAX COLLECTION PROCESS.

DIDN'T I HEAR THAT THEY COULD NOT AFFORD TO PUT PUBLIC MONEY INTO A CHARGERS STADIUM?

RIGHT. BUT THAT IS GENERAL FUNDS MONEY, THAT IS FOR FIREFIGHTERS AND POLICE. WHENEVER THEY SAY WE ARE BUILDING THIS PROJECT, A CONVENTION CENTER, WHEN THEY SAY WE CAN ONLY USE THIS THE MONEY FOR THIS PROJECT IT'S BECAUSE IT'S REDEVELOPMENT MONEY. AND THE REASON THEY CAN SAY THAT IS BECAUSE OF DECISIONS LIKE THE ONE MADE THURSDAY NIGHT. WHERE THEY HIDE ALL THIS MONEY FOR REDEVELOPMENT. HEAT --THAT'S THE ISSUE. NOW THEY ARE SAYING THAT THE STADIUM WILL HELP THE DOWNTOWN BENEFIT FROM IT.

THE VOTERS, THERE WAS A POINT AT WHICH IT WAS UNDERSTOOD THAT IF THERE WAS A CHARGER STADIUM DOWNTOWN THAT VOTERS WOULD HAVE A SAY.

WELL IT UP IN THE HAIR WHETHER THAT SAY IS GUARANTEED MUCH. WHETHER THERE WILL ASH VOTE. I FIND IT DIFFICULT TO IMAGINE THAT THE CITY WOULD INVEST THAT MUCH MONEY IN A FOOTBALL STADIUM WHILE THE REST OF THE CITY GOES DOWN HILL WITHOUT ASKING VOTERS TO WEIGH IN IN. THE CITY COUNCILMAN THAT SUPPORTS IT, ONE OF THE THINGS HE WAS FRUSTRATED WITH WAS HE WANTED THE THE WHOLE YEAR TO WIN THE ARGUMENT ON ITS MERITS.

FIREFIGHTERS BEING CUT, POLICE ARE BEING CUT. HOW DO PEOPLE FEEL ABOUT SOMETHING LIKE THAT?

THE FIREFIGHTERS UNION HAS COME OUT AGAINST IT. I THINK A LOT OF PUBLIC EMPLOYED UNIONS ARE SEEING THAT IT STEELS MONEY AWAY FROM CITY SERVICES.

SCOTT LEWIS THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

THANK YOU.

Comments

Avatar for user 'ageless1952'

ageless1952 | October 16, 2010 at 3:11 a.m. ― 4 years ago


As our city infrastructure rots and homeless camps line our city streets, our mayor has cut a secret backroom deal to channel unlimited city funds to one of his wealthy supporters for an unneeded football stadium.

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ageless1952 | October 16, 2010 at 3:56 a.m. ― 4 years ago

Here is the full SB 863 that sparked the outrage. Section 7 was inserted in the dead of night by Mayor Sanders and his developer friends without the knowledge of either the San Diego City Council or the San Diego City Attorney. It was then voted as part of the State Budget.
The core provision of Section 7 is: "Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary or any redevelopment plan previously adopted by the City of San Diego .....the dollar limit on the receipt of tax increment for the Centre City Redevelopment Project is eliminated ". This means that as regards CCDC revenue, the powers of the San Diego City Council, sitting as the Redevelopment Agency, are forever preempted.

At City Council on Tuesday, President Hueso opened the defense of the Sanders move by parroting what was to emerge as a well coordinated line from each developer lobbyist: "don't look this gift horse in the mouth".

But is it a "gift horse" or a "Trojan horse"?

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ageless1952 | October 16, 2010 at 3:57 a.m. ― 4 years ago

In Homer's epic story of the destruction of Troy it was an elite group of Greek soldiers who sprang forth from the Wooden Horse and opened the gates of Troy for the main Greek army who then destroyed the city. Was it an elite group of Spanos lawyers that concocted SB 863? Was it our own misguided King Priam, Mayor Sanders, who opened the city gates for them? If so they will destroy San Diego as surely as the Greeks destroyed Troy.

The primary mission of any city is to provide municipal services through taxation. First claim on this taxation has now been ceded to the Spanos family. They and an army of mercenary politicians, led by a smiling Jerry Sanders, have deified "public entertainment" in the form of a $1 billion Chargers Stadium and dare to call it "public infrastructure".

A downtown stadium would rob the General Fund to the extent that San Diegans would drive through potholed streets to get to it, they would forego police and fire protection in their neighborhoods and sacrifice their children's education to pay for it. To this end, Sanders secretly arranged for the unlimited diversion of downtown tax revenue away from our schools and city services into the pockets of politically powerful developers.

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ageless1952 | October 16, 2010 at 3:59 a.m. ― 4 years ago

Neither the citizens nor City Council were given any say in the matter. It was a breathtaking power grab. This alarming reality sparked an acrimonious debate at City Council on Tuesday. It gave us a rare glimpse into the ugly political underpinnings of San Diego politics. Jagged political rocks were exposed as during an unusually low tide.

It started when Donna Frye used Councilmember Non-Agenda Public Comment to seek a two-thirds vote of the City Council for "an exemption to notice" under the Brown Act to place an emergency motion on the Docket for immediate consideration. Her stated motion was to send the Governor a letter of opposition requesting that he veto SB 863.

Faulconer and Young voted to kill the motion as, sadly, Marti Emerald was at that very moment "tucking in" her husband in a hospice. But Marti bravely attended the afternoon session and made one of the most memorable contributions to San Diego civic life I have ever seen.

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ageless1952 | October 16, 2010 at 4 a.m. ― 4 years ago


Ironically, the City Council revisited the CCDC revenue cap issue following a 4-4 failure to approve a Homeless Emergency Winter Shelter. Faulconer, DeMaio, Young and Hueso had voted down the homeless shelter. Hueso's fear was that "the news would get out that San Diego was providing free housing for people". They preferred unlimited tax revenue diversion to CCDC for the benefit of downtown developers.

Councilmember DeMaio started by pointing out that the Mayor is the Executive Director of the Redevelopment Agency and is appointed by the City Council sitting as the Redevelopment Agency. What bothered DeMaio was not raising the cap, but, by advocating and secretly guiding SB 863 through Sacramento, Sanders had ignored and disobeyed the legislative body, the Redevelopment Agency. DeMaio found that "outrageous and unprecedented".

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ageless1952 | October 16, 2010 at 4:02 a.m. ― 4 years ago


Councilmember Emerald went further and called it a "firing offense". The people had been betrayed, she said. Choking back emotion as she thanked her colleagues for excusing her while she "tucked in her husband" at the local hospice in the morning, she complained of those "who snuck around behind our backs ... to sneak this piece of legislation through as part of the State Budget", adding that it was "all about building a football stadium".

Councilmember Faulconer followed, saying that he is a strong supporter of lifting the CCDC tax revenue cap because he believes that public investment spurs private investment. While he was "not pleased" with what took place in Sacramento he could not support overturning it.

Tony Young openly welcomed Sanders midnight ride to Sacramento because he felt it would "expedite the process"! It would save the City $500,000 he said. He challenged the City Attorney Jan Goldsmith, to say that there was anything illegal about the midnight coup. He said that they do it all the time and that it was fine with him. The Building Industry Association has invested wisely in Tony since 2002. He has never let it down.

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ageless1952 | October 16, 2010 at 4:04 a.m. ― 4 years ago

Goldsmith said that he had only learned of this legislation on Friday when he read a report online and that his office was not consulted. He added that he would "have liked to have been consulted in advance" because he could see several potential legal problems such as the "single issue rule". Young was showing signs of being sorry he had asked and tried to cut Goldsmith off, but Goldsmith managed to make his point.

Hueso offered to support Frye's motion "for discussion purposes only" warning that it did not imply that he would vote one way or another. Those of us who watch Hueso closely, recognized that he was perching himself firmly on the fence on this one. It only remained to see how he would succeed in actually ducking the vote. We soon found out.

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ageless1952 | October 16, 2010 at 4:06 a.m. ― 4 years ago


Frye's initial motion for immediate docketing was passed 6-2 with Faulconer and Young voting No. She then made her motion to send a letter to the Governor disapproving the cap waiver legislation. DeMaio seconded it. Frye assured Young that far from saving the City $500,000, it would cost the City plenty because there would undoubtedly be lawsuits.

She urged her Council colleagues to keep their word to the public and stick to the promised process. She warned those who liked what Sanders had done, that someday they would find themselves in her position if they allowed his latest usurpation of their powers to stand.

DeMaio then made a very good point: "what do we do if the Governor signs the legislation?" It showed how clearly he thinks on his feet, not merely obeying instructions from special interests as others do.

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ageless1952 | October 16, 2010 at 4:08 a.m. ― 4 years ago

In response, Hueso donned the flimsy mantle of defender of the City against lawsuits. The State, he claimed, had accepted sole liability by unilaterally lifting the CCDC cap. He challenged Goldsmith to say he was wrong. Jan countered that if, upon studying SB 863, his office found that it was legally flawed, the City would be required to follow Redevelopment Law as it was before SB 863. That drove Hueso crazy.

He tried to brow beat Goldsmith into giving the "right" legal advise but Jan was unmoved. The ultimate politician, Hueso then tried to turn defeat to advantage by pretending he was now totally confused and unable to make up his mind which way to vote. Nice move. Running for the State Assembly he has campaign contributors on both sides of the cap issue and desperately needed to punt. What an unprincipled menace he will become at State level if he is elected in November to the 79th Assembly District.

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ageless1952 | October 16, 2010 at 4:09 a.m. ― 4 years ago

Next came one of the most memorable moments in the history of the Council Chamber - Marti Emerald grilling CCDC's Frank Alessi. CFO Alessi had the misfortune of being the senior CCDC official in the Chamber. Fred Maas was in Syracuse NY. She started by telling Alessi that she would have great difficulty believing anything he or his staff ever told her again.

The Mayor's staff had by now abandoned the room, leaving Alessi no choice but to "Take the Fifth". He kept saying "I don't have an answer to that question". He admitted to having heard of the Sacramento caper about two weeks earlier. Emerald asked him if he was instructed by the Mayor to keep it a secret. He declined to answer. Marti wanted to know "who hatched this idea and why it was kept from us"?

Finally, Emerald said "if you are not willing to answer our questions, somebody will and we will have to have some serious discussions down the road about the future of this agency, serious discussions". You could cut the tension.

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ageless1952 | October 16, 2010 at 4:11 a.m. ― 4 years ago

Then a parade of special interest lobbyists repeated the clearly agree-upon "gift horse" theme. Mike Aguirre challenged the Mayor to come up to the Chamber and face the City Council. Aguirre told Hueso that far from shifting legal liability to the State, the Mayor, by his involvement in this midnight coup, had made the City liable for undermining its elected legislative body.

From his uncomfortable perch on the fence, Hueso waffled on about what he could and could not support. DeMaio saw an opening. To accommodate Hueso he would split the motion into two parts, to be voted upon separately. DeMaio saw that a letter to the Governor would fail so he decided to move against the Mayor in a different way.

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ageless1952 | October 16, 2010 at 4:12 a.m. ― 4 years ago

Hueso saw the trap and suddenly called a two minute break. He had obeyed the lobbyists' instructions to the letter, but their game plan was now unraveling. I noticed that he delayed to collect all his paperwork before leaving the Chair. That was a sure sign that he was not coming back for the vote. His true allegiance was laid bare in the low tide of money politics. Like Young, he has remained a faithful puppet of the special interests that control him.

Councilmember Faulconer now took the Chair. DeMaio resumed explaining his amendment that apparently had spooked Hueso. DeMaio would require City staff to do what they had been instructed to do before the Mayor's coup. He wanted a staff study of the effects on the General Fund of lifting the tax increment cap. He wanted it in the form of a written report to the Agency.

In his eagerness to serve his builder/developer bosses, Young then flat out lied about redevelopment dollars. He repeated the old lie that if the City does not divert property taxes to the Redevelopment Agency, those dollars, instead of going to the General Fund and Schools, go to other cities such as Los Angeles and San Francisco. Young has shamefully inherited that Madaffer/BIA lying mantra.

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ageless1952 | October 16, 2010 at 4:13 a.m. ― 4 years ago

Those familiar with Todd Gloria's campaign contribution lists would not have to ask how he was going to vote. Like Hueso, Young and Faulconer he is tied hand and foot by builder/developer dollars. He is just a little more silver-tongued about hiding it. His clever mantra is always the legal requirement of redevelopment to build affordable housing, while knowing that the developers are allowed to get away without fulfilling that obligation.

Gloria was the swing vote in not sending a letter to the Governor opposing SB 863. Faulconer and Young had already made their intentions clear. The four Yes votes of Lightner, DeMaio, Frye and Emerald fell short. By ducking the vote at the last moment, Hueso had ensured the measure's defeat while being able to claim to be both for and against it, depending on which of his campaign contributors he is speaking to. Hueso is the quintessential politician

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ageless1952 | October 16, 2010 at 4:15 a.m. ― 4 years ago

The second part of Frye's motion is what will make Tuesday historic. In view of Alessi's evasiveness, she amended her motion to require that, within thirty days, CCDC's Executive Director Fred Maas must "appear before this body to answer any and all questions related to how this event occurred" and she wants his written report to the Redevelopment Agency.

DeMaio cleverly added (and Frye agreed) that in addition to a written report from Fred Maas of CCDC, the Executive Director of the Redevelopment Agency itself, i.e. Jerry Sanders, also submit a written report to the Redevelopment Agency and appear before that body within thirty days. Amazingly that motion carried unanimously. I can imagine the scene in Sanders' office as they all sat glued to City TV. No doubt Sanders dropped the "F" bomb liberally.

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ageless1952 | October 16, 2010 at 4:17 a.m. ― 4 years ago

He will now need the collective skills of his expansive team of ex-UT spinmeisters. Alex Roth in particular will be tested. Roth mercilessly pursued Mike Aguirre while he was in possession of a powerful U-T reporter's pen. Sanders rewarded him with a well-paid City job. Aguirre will relish the opportunity of a more level playing field. For good reason, Aguirre detests Roth almost as much as he detests Sanders.

To return to the ancient Troy analogy, Sanders has now been summoned before the legislative body to give an account of himself. Other than the Hector vs. Achilles epic battle to the death before the walls of Troy, there is nothing I would rather witness than Sanders facing Marti Emerald.

While I doubt that Marti will drag the dead body of Sanders behind her chariot around the walls of the city, as the victorious Hercules did with the slain Hector at Troy, I intend to have my video camera in the Chamber on that historic day to record it for the ages.

It will be "Homeric

All the above was taken from PAt Flannery on the web, from the Blog of San Diego.

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Avatar for user 'ageless1952'

ageless1952 | October 16, 2010 at 4:24 a.m. ― 4 years ago

To learn the TRUTH of what is really going on in San Diego :

http://www.blogofsandiego.com/

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Avatar for user 'ageless1952'

ageless1952 | October 16, 2010 at 4:30 a.m. ― 4 years ago

Mayor Sanders should RESIGN IMMEDIATELY, he has comitted FRAUD against the citizens of San Diego , and should be arrested and prosecuted .

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Avatar for user 'Len'

Len | October 16, 2010 at 10:36 a.m. ― 4 years ago

Pat Flannery is THE revealer of the truth about San Diego's corrupt politics. His blog is required reading for informed city citizens.
When asked by a reporter (NPR, I think) why everything was done secretly, he blithely replied that they feared if oithers knew of it opposition would form. It's not that different than when he complied with a developer's request not to place on the ballot a new city hall, which he had earlier asked Sanders to submit. Asked why he did what the developer asked, Sanders said, "Because he thought it would lose." (That would, of course, have put the citizenry on record as not wanting to build a new city hall...the last thing developers want.) The "honest" admissions of wrong-doing by Sanders (these are but two) indicate he doesn't recognize that they are wrong; he does, and is too dumb to keep quiet and/or believes he has the power of a dictator and doesn't care what people think. (Though he cries well about having learned that gays are human.) .

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Avatar for user 'lifeslittlefolly'

lifeslittlefolly | October 17, 2010 at 10:33 a.m. ― 4 years ago

One of the main causes for the Fall of the Roman Empire was the 'Mob' and the cost of the Gladiatorial Games. If the thousands of unemployed Romans became bored this led to civil unrest and rioting in the streets. The 'Mob' needed to be amused - spectacular gladiatorial games had to be provided. The cost of the gladiatorial games was born by the Emperors, and therefore the state, and corrupt politicians who sponsored the games to curry favor and support with the 'Mob'. The cost of the gladiatorial games eventually came to one third of the total income of the Roman Empire.
Thank you ageless1952 for your observations.

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