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Ray Salazar, the former mayor of El Paso, Texas has filed a lawsuit against the city in an attempt to stop it from demolishing the local City Hall in order to clear land for a new $50 million stadium that would be built to house the Padres’ AAA minor league affiliate, currently playing as the Tucson, AZ Padres. Joining him in the suit were city board member David Ochoa and retired attorney Jesus Ochoa Jr.

The plaintiffs say the baseball club’s San Diego parent has insisted on a new downtown stadium being built before they would allow the relocation from Tucson, which itself was intended to be a temporary landing spot for the team after relocating from Portland. Jeff Moorad, who almost bought the big league club and was able to secure ownership of the minor league team, had intended to move the minor league team into a new park that was to have been built in Escondido, but that plan died with the elimination of redevelopment districts in California, and Moorad announced plans to sell the team.

If Salazar and the Ochoas are successful in blocking the demolition, it appears likely the future plans for the minor league team, which had hoped to be in Escondido by 2013 and then El Paso by 2014, will once again be put into limbo.

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Comments

Visduh Oct. 8, 2012 @ 8:16 p.m.

Hmm. Here in No County, I've seen or heard nothing to indicate that the city of Escondido has just decided the matter is dead. In fact, I'd say that some of the governing village idiots in that city are still hoping they can make it work. Never mind that it is a rotten idea for that city, which is struggling with everything from the police chief on indefinite administrative leave, and street maintenance to getting the staff to reopen a fire station to . . . Well, the list is endless. Guess I've just missed the local news completely.

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Dave Rice Oct. 8, 2012 @ 10:03 p.m.

Per the linked U-T article, Escondido Mayor Sam Abed threw in the towel late last year. I've heard some rumblings since, but nothing concrete...the final blow seems to be Moorad's failure to take the reins of the big league club, as he's since made arrangements to sell to El Paso-based MountainStar Sports Group. If, that is, they can get their stadium deal through.

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tomjohnston Oct. 9, 2012 @ 9 a.m.

Maybe it's just the way I read the headline, but the lawsuit wasn't filed to block the construction of the stadium. The lawsuit asks for a permanent injunction ordering the city to halt its plans to raze City Hall, and to allow voters to decide whether to build the Triple-A baseball stadium at the site. Yeah, I know maybe it's just semantics, but the two bring completely different pictures to mind. I haven't read about the reference you make in your second paragraph. What I have read that the El Paso City Council in September approved the contract with MountainStar Sports Group for the lease of the ballpark, which the council in June agreed to build if the investors secured the team. The allegations that I have read are that city manager Wilson and city reps Niland and Ortega "connived, conspired, counseled with and willfully acted in concert with each other, specifically to deny, abrogate, diminish or otherwise impair" the plaintiffs' "liberty interest and right to effective suffrage under the Voting Rights Act.", that other city representatives who voted in favor of the ballpark and building it where City Hall now stands violated the plaintiff's constitutional rights to vote on the matter and by not vetoing the vote, so did Mayor Cook. They also allege that city manager Wilson's "personal and political activities are grounded in animus which she feels and displays toward Mexican-American-Chicano members of the city's population", claiming that Wilson conspired with several non-Hispanic marketing and architectural firms to direct the revitalization plans for Downtown El Paso, including to use the city's powers of eminent domain to take over several neighborhoods in the Segundo Barrio. As I said, all of that paints a completely different picture of the situation to me.

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DSK Oct. 11, 2012 @ 6:35 p.m.

Tom Johnston. Your understanding of the lawsuit is 100% correct. The lawsuit was not drawn up to block the stadium. The crucial points you brought out have been substantiated by evidence. On the 5:00 news here in El Paso, the reporter was stating that when he asked Mayor Cook about the lawsuit filed in Federal Court, how that would affect the progress and he said that it means nothing, has no merit and that they will continue to move forward. Although he did mention that is not a lawyer after the fact. The reporter also said with a piece of paper in hand, crumbled it and said " Mayor Cook said the lawsuit is not worth the paper it is on." . . .

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tomjohnston Oct. 11, 2012 @ 10:38 p.m.

Today, Branch Rickey, Pacific Coast League president, announced that the sale of the Tucson Padres Triple-A team to MountainStar Sports Group in El Paso has been completed. There may be some doubt in the minds of some as to where they will play in 2 years, but they are no longer owned by Moorad

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