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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.

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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.

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Comments
7

Escondido city government is actually showing some sanity in these tough times? Who'd a thunk it? This would probably be a good time for the city to make a concerted effort to get some jobs, preferably something beyond the usual blue-collar jobs that predominate in that city. But will Abed, Gallo and Waldron do something more than refuse to build a ballpark and then go back to sleep? We can only hope more is forthcoming.

Nov. 5, 2010

Response to post #1: Good points and good questions. It looks to me like Escondido citizens and politicians will be intelligent enough to realize that an AAA ballpark is a horrible use of money, particularly when money is so short. Will the new council create jobs? We'll have to wait and see. Best, Don Bauder

Nov. 5, 2010

Response to post #3: Moorad tried to sell several North County cities on the idea of taking the Beavers before Escondido bit on the bait. Best, Don Bauder

Nov. 5, 2010

Response to post #4: There is no question that Escondido does not have the money for the foolish project, and also no doubt that minor OR major league stadiums don't stimulate economic development. Escondido has better uses for any money it has, and it doesn't have much. Best, Don Bauder

Nov. 5, 2010

Response to post #7: The complainants said no appraisal had been done. Those who touted the deal said appraisals had been done in the past. Best, Don Bauder

Nov. 5, 2010

In the past day or two, Logan Jenkins weighed in on this matter in his U-T column. He says that Abed could very well decide to go along with the idea, if he were "convinced." But it seems that one of Jenkins caveats is that the city not pay for the whole thing. Will Moorad and cohort go along with that? Doubtful, very doubtful. They want a total free ride on the stadium.

It now looks as if there are four opposed on the Escondido council, and only one pro. But could this idea still come true? That artificial deadline of the end of this month could be an issue that would force a foolish vote and end up in some sort of commitment.

Nov. 8, 2010

Response to post #9: In my Sept. 22 column, Abed said that he would not consider the project unless the Moorad group would put a significant amount of money into the pot, and if costs could be capped. I don't think Moorad will put money in. This whole boondoggle should be shelved quickly. It never made a lick of sense. Escondido is far too small -- and far too financially ailing -- to support an AAA minor league team that even Portland wouldn't support. Moorad should find a fairly large city that might get sucked in. Best, Don Bauder

Nov. 8, 2010

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