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SoccerCity Prevails Over City In Tentative Ruling

by Jeff Powers, published

San Diego, CA. – San Diego Superior Court Judge Timothy Taylor has issued a tentative ruling against the City of San Diego and its petition to remove SoccerCity from the November ballot.

Taylor's tentative ruling will be argued in Superior Court Friday.

Superior Court Judge Timothy Taylor's Tentative Ruling

In his tentative ruling, Taylor noted the City of San Diego had failed to meet the legal standard to have SoccerCity removed.

"The City has not surmounted the extremely high bar required to remove the 'Soccer City' Initiative from the November, 2018 ballot. Pre-election removal is proper only if the City can establish a 'compelling showing that the initiative is clearly invalid,'" Judge Taylor wrote.

Administrative v. Legislative

Just as in the SDSU West case, City of San Diego Attorneys contended that SoccerCity tries to force the sale of the property and is therefore an administrative act and not a legislative one. The thinking goes, initiatives may ONLY carry out legislative acts.

But much like Judge Trapp who ruled in the SDSU West case, Judge Taylor argued, “The court has read the initiative. It finds that the main thrust of the Initiative is legislative in nature, expressly reserving administrative and executive power to the City where appropriate. It bears strong resemblance to many other legislative proposals arising from municipal bodies or the Legislature. As such, the Initiative is a legislative act that precludes pre-election judicial review. Indeed, the City concedes that aspects of the Initiative are legislative.

Does SoccerCity Conflict With City Charter?

Judge Taylor ruled No, the Initiative does not conflict with the City Charter.

City Attorneys contended the Initiative conflicts with the Mayor's administrative authority under the City Charter by "requiring the Mayor to execute a lease agreement and Development Agreement with critical terms that are not subject to negotiation at all."

Judge Taylor said the City failed to meet that bar noting, "The Development Agreement cannot interfere with the Mayor's administrative authority given development agreements are legislative in nature and allowed in a ballot initiative. The Initiative provides that the final lease must be drafted by the City Attorney, which the Mayor may then execute if the final lease complies with the law or reject if it does not comply with the law."

Attorneys will argue the points before Judge Taylor in Superior Court Friday.

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