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Roundtable: San Diego’s Budget, SoccerCity, Convention Center

CORRECTION: During the discussion, reporter Andrew Keatts said the SoccerCity initiative becomes void if San Diego is not awarded a MLS team. That was inaccurate. The property would revert back to the city if the developers do not build a stadium within seven years, according to a city attorney memo on the initiative.

San Diego's Big Budget Week

PANEL:

Erik Anderson, KPBS News

Andrew Bowen, KPBS News

Andrew Keatts, Voice of San Diego

Transcript

SOCCERCITY & CONVENTION CENTER: SAN DIEGO'S BIG BUDGET WEEK

The Story

The passage of the 2017-2018 budget by the San Diego City Council on Monday was not simply a matter of voting on next year's expenses and revenues.

There was more at stake.

The City Council did approve the mayor’s budget 8-1, but it did not include the $5 million in funding needed to hold a special election in November. That election was to include two measures: the SoccerCity development on the Qualcomm stadium site and a hike in the tourism tax to expand the convention center, mitigate homelessness and repair roads and other infrastructure.

The mayor said he would veto this decision, causing some to ask whether it is possible to veto something that is not there. The council will need six votes to override the veto of the non-existent clause.

On Tuesday, an independent assessor hired by the city pegged the value of the Qualcomm site and Chargers Park at $110 million, including demolition. This was a surprise, as an earlier assessment put its value at between negative $25 million and $50 million.

The Discussion

—Will the new appraisal change the calculus for council members who voted no on the special election when the value was thought to be much lower?

—Will FS Investors back out with their SoccerCity project because of the increased valuation of the land?

—Might SDSU return to negotiations on the stadium and other land issues?

—Why does San Diego have such a difficult time getting big projects approved?

—Has the mayor done all that he could to sell these developments to the City Council and the public?

Related: San Diego City Council Kills Funding For SoccerCity, Convention Center Expansion Special Election

Related: Bombshell Appraisal Puts Qualcomm Stadium Land at $110 Million as Is

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