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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

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Comments

fredjones2005 Oct. 15, 2010 @ 8:46 p.m.

Free RDA money for rich guys... What a bunch of crap. If the council goes for this they should be arrested just like the city of Bell crooks.

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rortlieb Oct. 16, 2010 @ 12:54 p.m.

Mr. Sims fails to identify any redevelopment projects which are comparable or better than the Moorad Ballpark venture. If the ballpark project is feasible and the risks tolerable, then it would be irresponsible for the City council to reject it. As for the community preferring to pay more for public employee salaries than build a ballpark, please visit our site and read the citizen comments. Positive comments outnumber negative by a huge margin - www.BallparkforEscondido.org

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Michael Mullenniex Oct. 16, 2010 @ 2:26 p.m.

To Post #3

Escondido Redevelopment money will be committed for a generation, thus excluding worthy projects that will come along in the meantime. To say that since there's no better alternatives at the moment, therefore the ballpark should be built is specious at best, idiotic at worst.

As far as the BallparkforEscondido website reflecting popular opinion is like saying CNBC or Rachael Maddow reflects mainstream American opinion. If you look at articles in the Reader, Don Bauder's article on Sep 22, or recent articles in the NC Times, you would arrive at a very different conclusion.

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Fred Williams Oct. 17, 2010 @ 8:15 a.m.

Hurray for Bruce Sims..!!

Never forget that "rortlieb" and his ilk are under the direct supervision of Steve Peace, the notorious force behind rolling blackouts, employee of John Moores, disgraced Senator, and shame of his family.

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Founder Oct. 18, 2010 @ 9:44 a.m.

Escondido is trying to do what the City Of San Diego's (Redevelopment Agency) CCDC is doing, build yet another $tadium for the Wealthy instead of using ReDevelopment money for fixing infrastructure!

Beware ALL those that oppose common sense and have just joined the Reader OnLine blog to $PIN conversations because they are most probably just $PIN Media supported Phobogger! (A Phony Blogger, someone that is getting paid and or promoting Spin to disrupt a blog discussion).

I suggest that you all now start a RE-Call Election process, then perhaps those on the Council will understand what will happen if they sellout to the special interests that can afford to build their own $tadium!

What's next besides project cost overruns and HUGE ticket guarantees (like the Chargers got) for Mr. M (for MONEY), to further protect his investments, all at Escondido's expense for the next 20 years?

Where is the benefit for all those that cannot afford expensive season tickets? Why support the Wealthy, when so many are needy?

Wake Up Escondido, learn about the issues, vote for common sense and demand GOOD Leadership!

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yakima Oct. 18, 2010 @ 10:56 a.m.

And to think I was going to move to Escondido soon. You people are so negative you should be embarrassed. First of all, you can't use redevelopment funds on firefighters and police so that was an ignorant comment. Second, even if you don't like baseball, Minor league baseball enhances quality of life. I would much rather take my family to a minor league game that I can afford than a Major league game where I have to pay for $8 hot dogs. Have a little vision for your city and your future. It's not every day you get an opportunity to bring minor league baseball to your city. Quit whining and take advantage of the opportunity. You are lucky to have a City Council with some guts to do the right thing and enhance the quality of life.

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Michael Mullenniex Oct. 18, 2010 @ 2:52 p.m.

Yakima

I think most of us want to enhance the quality of life in Escondido, but we must do it in a responsible way which will benefit the community in the long run. The deal must be fair. Both sides must take (fairly) equal risks and enjoy the positive results or losses (fairly) equally.

My understanding of the current deal is that Escondido would put up money it doesn't have and bear the 20+ years of financial risk. The Moorad team puts up $0 dollars, gets naming rights to the stadium, 100% ticket sales revenue and all concessuion sales revenue. What happened to shared risk?

Research shows new minor league stadia bear little or no concomitant economic benefits to the cities that build them - but the ball clubs do well financially and bear little or no risk.

Plus the deal is going to be made with minimal public comment and possibly by a lame duck city council.

So, what's to like about this deal?

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Founder Oct. 19, 2010 @ 9:20 a.m.

Reply #8 Great first ever post for someone that does not even live in Escondido! You also have your facts wrong and your "name calling" reminds me of someone else that calls others names instead of just sticking to the facts, see below:

"And to think I was going to move to Escondido soon." + ► Ha, if you don't like ESC don't move...

"You people are so negative you should be embarrassed." + ► Being Negative has nothing to do with financial responsibility, telling others what to do with their City before you even live there is something YOU should be embarrassed about!

"First of all, you can't use redevelopment funds on firefighters and police so that was an ignorant comment." + ► But if you use the ReDev. money on other infrastructure Proj.'s then there will be City money, that did not need to be spent for infrastructure Proj.'s for FF & PD; so that is not "ignorant" statement...

"Second, even if you don't like baseball, Minor league baseball enhances quality of life. I would much rather take my family to a minor league game that I can afford than a Major league game where I have to pay for $8 hot dogs." + ► What you consider Quality of Life and what others consider Quality of Life is open for discussion, especially since you don't even live here! Your statement is like someone from Russia blogging that Escondido needs a Professional Hockey team because they like taking their family to Hockey games and they may move to ESC!

"Have a little vision for your city and your future. It's not every day you get an opportunity to bring minor league baseball to your city. Quit whining and take advantage of the opportunity." + ► It not everyday that (Fill in the blank) sounds like a phony Used Car salesman's "Pitch"! ESC does not need any more PHONY "deals", thank you very much.

" You are lucky to have a City Council with some guts to do the right thing and enhance the quality of life." + ► If the ESC City Council had "guts to do the right thing and enhance the quality of life." then ESC would NOT BE IN DEBT NOW and they certainly would not consider going into 20 YEARS OF MORE DEBT to fund an Ultra Wealthy Potential Owner's Business Deal!

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coonyp Oct. 22, 2010 @ 9:39 a.m.

It is fair to have a debate on the wisdom of any ballpark proposal. But I would also suggest that the Reader's coverage of the issue needs to be more balanced. From my personal perspective, the proposal amounts to a shot in the arm for our politically divided community. The main reason is that it will offer affordable popular entertainment to all families. It will also architecturally enhance the downtown area and complement the art center. Although the art center has been expensive, it also transformed the image of Escondido from a backwater rural community to an community with upscale amenities. That perception has had significant positive economic impact although it is hard to prescisely measure. The same will be true of the ballpark. Of course there are risks. It will be important for the team to be marketed well so that the attendance will average over 5,000 per game. But on balance, this proposal is terrific for Escondido.

Patrick Coony Escondido, California

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gipper Oct. 22, 2010 @ 9:57 a.m.

Yakima:

Here's a fact that most have either forgotten or didn't know in the first place: The RDA owes the city's General Fund $30 Million dollars. If our council was truly interested in balancing our city's budget and bringing Escondido back to its former reputation, then the RDA should repay the money.

Strangely, Gil Rojas, the city's finance director, has stated that the city has $25 Million in reserves from the refinancing of the Center for the Arts bonds. Why not use that to either pay off the debt or pay back the city?

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a2zresource Dec. 17, 2010 @ 12:28 a.m.

There will be no risk... IF Escondido gets sucked into the defined project area of San Diego's Centre City Development Corporation, with its $6 billion-plus in anticipated tax increment revenues over the next few decades.

Otherwise, North County residents are on your own.

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