Local Democrats unite behind SDSU West plan for stadium

SDCCU Stadium

SAN DIEGO — A group of San Diego-based federal, state and local officials Wednesday announced their support for Measure G, the SDSU West Initiative, and their opposition to Measure E, the SoccerCity initiative.

The group included Reps. Scott Peters, D-San Diego, and Juan Vargas, D- Chula Vista, Sens. Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, and Ben Hueso, D-Chula Vista, Assemblyman Todd Gloria, D-San Diego, and San Diego City Council members Myrtle Cole, Chris Ward and David Alvarez.

Cole, Ward and Alvarez join fellow City Council members Barbara Bry and Lorie Zapf in backing SDSU West.

“I am proud to join elected officials from across the region in supporting Measure G,” said Atkins, the Senate president pro tem. “Measure G requires full environmental review and multiple opportunities for public input.

“It is also the only initiative that ensures the stadium site’s revitalization is in line with the community’s vision; appropriate environmental mitigation for neighboring residents and businesses is delivered; and restoration of the San Diego River is prioritized.”

SDSU West backers argue that SoccerCity doesn’t align completely with the California Environmental Quality Act in that the bill for traffic improvements could fall at the foot of the city, and taxpayers by extension, rather than the initiative’s investors like the CEQA requires. SoccerCity supporters contend that their initiative includes $50 million in funding for traffic improvements.

“Measure E’s specific plan lays out a detailed set of traffic improvements and requires SoccerCity to either fund or build those upgrades,” said SoccerCity project manager Nick Stone. “Our engineers have estimated the costs for those improvements today, but Measure E commits to fund the cost at the time of construction.”

Stone also chided SDSU west as “courting politicians and city hall insiders” while SoccerCity backers have worked to gain support from San Diego residents.

The SDSU West plan would renovate the SDCCU Stadium site in San Diego’s Mission Valley. The plan includes a 35,000-seat stadium for San Diego State University football, commercial and residential space, a river park and a campus extension.

The initiative is backed by the Friends of SDSU alumni group and has received support from San Diego County Supervisor Greg Cox, the San Diego Democratic Party, the Sierra Club and the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce.

SoccerCity would also renovate the SDCCU stadium site and includes similar plans for commercial and residential space, a river park and a slightly smaller multi-use stadium, at 23,500 seats, that would accommodate football and soccer. The plan doesn’t specifically include a campus extension, but supporters say its text has enough leniency to allow SDSU to build a campus extension.

SoccerCity is funded by La Jolla-based investment group FS Investors and has received support from former Olympic soccer players Landon Donovan and Shannon MacMillan, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and City Councilman Scott Sherman, who represents the Mission Valley area.

Should both measures eclipse 50 percent of the vote in November, the measure with a higher amount of support would win. The supporters of the winning plan would then begin negotiations to buy the stadium site from the city.