City to appeal decision to place SDSU West and SoccerCity initiatives on ballot


Kelly Smiley

File photo.

by Bella Ross, News Editor

Yet another legal hurdle is set to face the competing SDSU West and SoccerCity initiatives less than a month after prior rulings had seemingly cleared their path to the November ballot.

The legality of the two initiatives was challenged earlier in the summer by San Diego City Attorney Mara Elliott, who questioned whether projects of their capacity could be achieved through a citizens’ initiative.

This resulted in two separate rulings claiming the initiatives’ prospects were legal. However, Elliott said in a July 24 statement that the city intends to appeal those decisions.

“The Soccer City and SDSU West initiatives essentially force the lease or sale of City assets
on terms set by the proponents,” Elliott said in a statement. “By filing writs with the Fourth District Court of Appeal, the City seeks clarity on whether this unprecedented use of the initiative process is legal.”

Elliott continued to discuss a ruling that occurred a week prior where an initiative to separate the state of California into three states was blocked by the California Supreme Court. In this case, Elliott cited the California Supreme Court’s statement that a pre-election review of an initiative can be appropriate when there are significant questions surrounding its legality.

“Pre-election review of these local initiatives will ensure that an invalid measure is not presented to voters, avoiding years of costly litigation and delay,” Elliott said.

Friends of SDSU, an SDSU West booster group, said in a statement they are confident the appellate court will support their goals of being on the November ballot.

“We are confident the appellate court will uphold the trial court ruling in support of SDSU West,” the statement read. “The initiative is consistent with California state law and the San Diego City Charter. The SDSU West initiative was expressly written to give the Mayor and City Council the power to determine terms of an agreement to sell the stadium site. This creates the strongest possible protections for the City and taxpayers.”

Despite the legal troubles that currently face the SDSU West initiative, a July 25 press release said the initiative has garnered unanimous support from the CSU Board of Trustees, an endorsement that Friends of SDSU said they believe to display the educational value of their initiative.

Efforts to reach representatives from the Soccer City initiative for this article were unsuccessful.