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San Diego City Council Agrees to Amend Lease with SDSU; Kills Proposed Ballot Measures

Author: Jeff Powers
Created: 06 August, 2018
Updated: 21 November, 2022
4 min read

San Diego, CA. - The San Diego City Council agreed to an amended stadium lease with SDSU and voted to kill two proposed ballot measures.

City Council Amends SDSU Lease Agreement

The City of San Diego has amended its lease agreement with SDSU and the University's use of SDCCU stadium.

By a vote of 6-1, with Councilmembers Chris Ward and Chris Cate absent, the City Council and University have an agreement through December 31, 2020. The city will receive annual rent of $1.1 million and all parking and concession revenues totaling about $700,000.

City Councilman Scott Sherman, the lone No vote, says the agreement represents an $11 million subsidy for SDSU. Sherman also wanted a termination clause after 2020 should the SDSU West initiative pass in November. Councilman Mark Kersey had a reopener added to the language should the initiative pass.

Mayor Kevin Faculoner asked the council to extend the agreement. Faulconer noted, "this lease further illustrates how important SDSU university is to our economy, culture and our community."

A New Marketing Plan

The stadium has historically been operated at a loss for the city.

In helping the city trim the stadium management debts, SDSU and the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation announced they would leverage their relationships with Live Nation to add additional concerts and events at SDCCU stadium that will help cut into the city's debts.

Adam Day, a CSU Trustee and Chief Administrative Officer of the Sycuan band of Kumeyaii nation, spoke on behalf of the Tribe. Day told the City Council, "Sycuan will join with SDSU to further activate the site with our relationship with Live Nation. Joining hands and pressing the reset button with SDSU's new leadership, we can tackle this and other challenges that might come up at the site."

SDSU President Adela de la Torre noted, "We appreciate the investment from the city. For a university like SDSU, football serves as a front porch for the university. Our student athletes help us generate local revenue and bring awareness to our academic commitment and opportunity for our students."

Thanks to some unexpected concert and event windfalls, the city managed to trim its 2018 stadium management debt to $3.3 million. Charles Modica, the City of San Diego's Fiscal & Policy Analyst said the city is looking at a $7.3 million deficit for 2019.

Council Kills Homelessness TOT Ballot Measure

Councilmember David Alvarez and his staff introduced a ballot measure to increase the TOT for critical funding to help pay for homelessness related services and projects.

The measure was separate from the convention centers, Yes! For A Better San Diego effort.

Alvarez argued the 1% increase in TOT would bring in 130 million over the next 5 years for those efforts. Proponents say the ballot measure would provide a reliable funding source to ensure homelessness have proper services and shelter.

The City of San Diego is expected to spend $27 million on homelessness related programs in 2019.

City Councilman David Alvarez said, "The public supports a greater allocation to help our homelessness community. This is straightforward, transparent and would greatly assist those in our community in need."

The vote failed 5-2.

Jr. Lifeguard Foundation Aquatic Facility Killed

The Prevent Drowning Foundation, formerly the Junior Lifeguard Foundation has pushed for a new Junior Lifeguard building.

Initially the Foundation was eyeing parkland on the boardwalk just south of the Belmont Roller Coaster, but as Councilmember Mark Kersey noted the group has decided to "to pursue a facility on Mission Bay only, and not on Mission Beach."

Concerns over that lack of input has been the subject of coverage on IVN San Diego. Community leader Judy Swink, who authored an op-ed for IVN San Diego told the City Council, "Charter section 55 was put in decades ago to protect parkland. A 2/3rd vote was required until 2016, so as not to giveaway that important space. There has been virtually no community input on this plan. I strongly urge each of you to defer this measure until the due diligence has been done to understand what the Foundation is going to do with its proposed 9,000 sf of building space."

The Foundation had its share of proponents including Corey McClelland who gave a 5-minute presentation on the importance on the proposed facility. "We started this back in 2014 when the lifeguards put in a request to get this done. They came up with the 9,000 square foot facility that has been mentioned. Because they are currently at Santa Clara Point, it made a lot of sense to keep it on the beach. We're going to build it and then turn the keys over to the City of San Diego."

Corey McClelland, Prevent Drowning Foundation

Councilmember David Alvarez raised concerns with the plan. "The Foundation works with communities all over San Diego where kids can get prepared to feel and be safe in the ocean. That is a critical effort," Alvarez continued, "Yet, this really shows the lack of leadership in the city. We have no project before us and nobody has taken the lead on this. It is needed and important, but we have a meeting to talk about a charter change? If this goes to the voters there is zero guarantee this project will look like what is being proposed."

The council voted  4-2 to not put the plan before voters in November.

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