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Liberty Station Development Scrutinized

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ONCE THE SITE OF THE NAVY TRAINING CENTER, ITS DEVELOPERS WANT TO TEAR DOWN A CONFERENCE CENTER PROMISED FOR PUBLIC MEETINGS TO BUILD A HOTEL. RICKY YOUNG IS HERE TO EXPLAIN WHAT'S AT STAKE. RICKY, A LITTLE HISTORIC CONTEXT. WHEN CORKY WON THE CONTRACT TO MAKE THE NAVAL TRAINING CENTER INTO A COMMUNITY, WHAT DID HE PROMISE TO WIN OVER MAYOR GOLDING AT THAT TIME AND THE CITY COUNCIL? WELL, THE COMPANY'S BROUGHT A LOT TO THE TABLE. THEY HAD POLITICAL CONNECTIONS. ONE THING THE CITY WANTED WAS TO GET THE LAND FOR FREE. AND CORKY HAD SOME CONNECTIONS TO GET SOME LEGISLATION PASSED THAT ACTUALLY ALLOWED THEM TO GET IT FOR FREE AND PROMISED A LOT OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN RETURN FOR SOME CITY INVESTMENT IN INFRASTRUCTURE, THIS SORT OF THING. YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT A POLITICAL CONNECTION. CAN YOU NAME A COUPLE PEOPLE THAT -- WELL I THINK ONE OF THEIR VICE PRESIDENTS WAS THE BROTHER OF DUNCAN HUNTER, A LONGTIME CONGRESSMAN. BRIAN FILLBRING? YEAH. THEY HAD SOME CONNECTIONS THERE. TO CUNNINGHAM AS PEOPLE KNOW. BUT THE DEAL WAS THEY BUILD 350 HOMES. THEY'VE NOW BUILT 349 AND THEY WANT TO CHANGE THE DEAL TO BUILD ANOTHER 30 AND 350 HOTEL ROOMS. THE WAY THEY WOULD DO THAT IS TEAR DOWN A COUPLE BUILDINGS. WHAT ARE THE OBJECTIONS TO HAVING THEM TEAR IT DOWN? THEY'RE A FOR-PROFIT COMPANY. IF THEY WANT TO MAKE MORE MONEY, WHY NOT? WELL ONE OF THESE BUILDINGS WHICH WAS A CHAPEL BUILT IN 1991 WAS TO BE AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC AT LITTLE OR NO COST HALF THE TIME. IT IS GOING TO BE A CONFERENCE CENTER HALF THE TIME AND FOR THE PUBLIC HALF THE TIME. NOW THEY INTERPRETED THOSE GUIDELINES TO ALLOW THEM TO RECOOP THEIR COST FOR INSURANCE, MAINTENANCE, WHATEVER. AND IT CAN COST AS MUCH AS $3000 A DAY TO USE THE CENTER. SO McMILLEN IS SAYING WE CAN TEAR IT DOWN THEN. BUT PEOPLE ARE SAYING THE REASON IT'S NOT USED MUCH IS BECAUSE OF THE COST. WHAT DID THE CITY GET OUT OF THIS DEAL? CORKY McMILLEN COMPANY PAID NOTHING FOR THE LAND. WHAT DID THE CITY GET? THEY GOT ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT. THAT'S A THRIVING AREA WITH PRETTY NICE HOUSES AND TRADER JOE'S. ANY CASH? ANY OF THE PROFITS SPLIT WITH THE CITY? I THINK THAT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE PART OF THE DEAL AND HAS NOT COME TO BEAR AT LEAST THE LAST TIME WE LOOKED AT IT. MAYBE WE NEED TO LOOK AGAIN. THE SAME ARGUMENTS WILL BE MADE TO HAVE THE ADDITIONAL HOTEL ROOMS AND THE ADDITIONAL HOMES IF THE CITY ALLOWS THIS. IT'LL BRING MORE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT THAN A LITTLE USED CONFERENCE CENTER. SO DOES THIS BASICALLY COME DOWN TO A DECISION IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST VERSUS ANOTHER INCOME STREAM FOR A PRIVATE CORPORATION? I THINK THE PEOPLE WHO MAKE THESE DECISIONS TEND TO SEE THOSE AS THINGS HAND IN HAND. THANK YOU VERY MUCH, RICKY YOUNG.

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