Garrett Harris 2:03 p.m., May 24
Lame Duck Escondido Council Not Likely to Railroad Ballpark Through
Sam Abed, mayor-elect of Escondido, says that the lame duck council is not likely to try to ram the $50 million ballpark project through by Nov. 30 before the new council takes over. Ed Gallo, an opponent of the project, which would build a ballpark and bring the AAA Portland Beavers to Escondido, was elected to the five-person council. Lori Holt Pfeiler, mayor, who has pushed hardest for the deal, goes off. Dick Daniels, another ballpark proponent, lost his bid for mayor. "The most critical issue is not to get the three votes on the ballpark; it is to get community support," says Abed, particularly since the makeup of the council no longer leans heavily toward the project. "There is more awareness among taxpayers that they would have to fund 100% of this." The fact that Gallo came from behind may suggest the voters are queasy. "It has to be a win-win; the only way it would work is to have the Moorad Group's financial participation," says Abed. Jeff Moorad and his group bought control of the Padres and recently bought their AAA affiliate, the Portland Beavers, and want to move the Beavers to Escondido, although the minor league team may play 2011 in Tucson. "We need an extension; we need time. There is no way we can rush this critical decision that will shape Escondido's economic future," says Abed.