During the Escondido City Council’s “oral communications” portion of their October 13 meeting, resident Bruce Sims expressed his views concerning the upcoming council vote regarding the construction of a ballpark in the city.
Padres majority owner Jeff Moorad has an option to purchase the Portland Beavers, a minor-league baseball team exiting the Portland market. Moorad has until December 1 to exercise the option to purchase the ball club, and he wants to make a deal with the City of Escondido to build a home for the team prior to exercising his option.
Because funding for the proposed ballpark complex will use city redevelopment funds, the City can commit the estimated $50 million without a referendum by city residents.
Resident Sims offered several points of disagreement during his strongly worded statement. Noting that there is a short fuse on the City’s decision, he stated, “The only reason there is not time for a vote is the Moorad group’s unwillingness to buy the Portland PCL franchise unless the City of Escondido subsidizes his group’s investment!”
Noting the potential commitment of city redevelopment funds for a period of 20-plus years in order to finance the project, Sims said, “The redevelopment agency could tackle many other projects if virtually all of its projected long-term revenue isn’t devoted to financing the ballpark.”
Contradicting some councilmembers’ assumption of community support, Sims said, “I can assure you, the community is much more interested in paying for police, firefighters, libraries, and recreation programs than they are for a new ballpark.”
City councilmembers intend to discuss and possibly approve a memorandum of understanding with the Moorad group during their October 27 meeting.
Photo: Escondido City Hall