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SD Ballpark Ballot Measure Survives

July 27, 1999

SAN DIEGO (AP) _ A ballot measure that authorized the city to help the San Diego Padres build a stadium and renovate a 26-block section of downtown has survived a court challenge.

A three-judge panel of the state’s 4th District Court of Appeal unanimously rejected a lawsuit filed by a former city councilman claiming the November ballot measure should have specified that the city would incur $225 million in new debt from the project.

The judges also rejected arguments that Proposition C required a two-thirds vote and that an environmental impact report regarding the project was required before the city and Padres could negotiate a deal.

Prop C passed with 60 percent of the vote and an environmental impact report is set for completion by September.

The decision upholds a San Diego Superior Court ruling earlier this year.

``While designation of dollar amounts may have been preferable, the ballot question adequately alerted voters that public funds were required for the project,″ according to the 33-page opinion issued Friday but reviewed by city officials Monday.

Former councilman Bruce Henderson, who filed the lawsuit on behalf of ballpark opponent Jerry Mailhot, said he will appeal the case to the state Supreme Court.

``We thought we had made a real convincing argument that they really needed that environmental impact report in order to properly negotiate the agreement with the Padres, and we also felt that there were some major flaws with the election,″ Henderson said.

The judges ruled that the city and Padres were not required to have an environmental impact report completed before they negotiated their agreement.

Proposition C authorized the city to create a partnership with the Padres to build the ballpark and redevelop a 26-block area of downtown near the Gaslamp Quarter.

Stadium costs are estimated at $411 million, with $225 million coming from a city bond issue repaid from a hotel tax imposed on tourists. The Padres pay $115 million and the remainder is paid by the city’s downtown redevelopment agency and the port district.

The Padres are also responsible in securing retail, office, hotel and residential development surrounding the ballpark, bringing the total project cost to $1 billion.

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