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November 6, 2018 — California General Election
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City of San Diego
Measure E Initiative from the People - Majority Approval Required

To learn more about measures, follow the links for each tab in this section. For most screenreaders, you can hit Return or Enter to enter a tab and read the content within.

Election Results


151,854 votes yes (32.6%)

314,427 votes no (67.4%)

100% of precincts reporting (813/813).

497,613 ballots counted.

MISSION VALLEY STADIUM - SOCCER CITY INITIATIVE: Shall the City lease Mission Valley stadium property and the San Diego Chargers practice facility on Murphy Canyon Road to a private party for 99 years, with an option to buy some stadium property, consistent with price, terms, and conditions described in the measure; and adopt a specific plan and agreement allowing development of stadium, river park, recreational, residential, office, hotel, retail, and other uses; and amend related land use laws?

What is this proposal?

Measure Details — Official information about this measure


Office of The City Attorney, City of San Diego



Soccer City Citizens’ Initiative


This citizens’ initiative measure provides for the leasing and privately funded redevelopment of property owned by the City of San Diego, including demolishing the existing Mission Valley stadium and building a new stadium. The plan covers approximately 233 acres of property, including the existing stadium, and 20 acres of the former San Diego Chargers practice facility on Murphy Canyon Road.

If approved by voters, this measure would amend the San Diego Municipal Code to establish a process for the City to lease the properties for 99 years to an entity that is under consideration for or has been awarded a professional soccer league franchise for the San Diego area. If no such entity applies for a lease within one year of this measure’s effective date, the City may also accept applications from an entity with a collegiate football program or one that has been awarded the franchise for a professional sports league team in the San Diego market.

This measure includes required terms for the lease. The Mayor may change the lease terms under certain circumstances. The Mayor would sign the lease, which does not require City Council approval or a public hearing. The lease would allow the lessee to purchase up to 79.9 acres of the stadium property.

The rent must be based on the value of the leasehold interest of the properties as of March 2, 2017. The measure requires the Mayor to determine that value, and identifies some of the factors the Mayor may consider. Total rent for the 99-year term must be at least $10,000.

If approved by voters, this measure would adopt a development agreement, change the City’s planning documents and land development regulations to exempt the development from existing regulations that conflict with this measure, provide new regulations, and create a specific development plan. The development plan allows various residential, commercial, and recreational uses. If the properties are leased, the City would not be responsible for the costs of demolishing the stadium or building a new stadium. The development plan does not guarantee that any specific development will occur or that it will occur in a specific order.

Potential uses of the stadium property include:

  • a new stadium with up to 32,000 seats

  • a 34-acre river park

  • 12 acres of active use fields

  • 9 acres of neighborhood parks

  • 2.4 million square feet of office space

  • 740,000 square feet of retail space

  • 4,800 multi-family residential units (including affordable housing and student-focused housing)

  • 450 hotel rooms

  • a 16-acre stand-alone football stadium for a professional football franchise

Potential uses of the Murphy Canyon property include:

  • practice facilities

  • full-sized soccer fields

  • team operations

  • media

  • lodging for visiting teams 

The maximum amount of development on the stadium property is limited by the number of projected daily traffic trips, which may be increased under specified circumstances. No public hearings are required for development applications that are consistent with the specific development plan.

This measure may not be amended before 2033 without a vote of the people.

Impartial analysis / Proposal

Office of The City Attorney, City of San Diego


This citizens’ initiative measure was placed on the ballot by the City Council after voter signatures qualified the initiative measure for the ballot.

If approved by voters, this measure would control the development and use of the approximately 253-acre Mission Valley stadium property and former San Diego Chargers practice facility for at least 99 years. The development would be privately funded, including demolishing the current stadium and constructing a new stadium. Voter approval of this measure does not guarantee that any specific development would be built or that a professional soccer team would come to San Diego.

Adoption of this measure does the following:

  • Amends the San Diego Municipal Code to establish the process for leasing the properties, including:

    o   defining who is eligible to lease the properties,
    o   setting terms that must be included in the lease, and
    o   granting the Mayor authority to approve the lease without City Council approval;

  • Adopts a specific plan for development that allows various residential, commercial, and recreational uses to be built without public hearings for development applications that are consistent with the development plan,

    o   public hearings may be required for certain other approvals;

    o   the plan includes specific environmental mitigation measures;

  • Approves a development agreement granting the right to build the facilities included in the development plan; and

  • Amends other existing land use regulations and plans to be consistent with the development plan.

This measure does not guarantee development would happen in a certain order. A lease may create requirements addressing the order of development, if they do not conflict with other terms of the measure. The terms of a final lease will not be drafted until a lessee is selected after the election.

The lease would allow the lessee to purchase 79.9 acres of the stadium property, and to assign or sublease the property rights to other parties. A lessee could allow collegiate football programs to use a new stadium, and the development plan allows for university-related development. This measure does not require the lessee to allow these uses.

Existing law allows the City to lease the properties, adopt a specific development plan, and enter into a development agreement following review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), a public hearing, and approval by the City Council. This measure would change existing law to allow the City to enter the lease, and adopt the development plan and development agreement, without completing all of those steps. This measure also requires the City to enter a lease with a defined private party under specific terms, if certain conditions are met.

Review under CEQA that would normally be required if the City approved the development is not legally required before voter approval of a citizens’ initiative measure. Implementing this measure may involve future decisions requiring CEQA review.

This measure may not be amended before 2033 without a vote of the people. Once a lease and development agreement are signed, the rights granted in those contracts may not be changed by a vote of the people.

Financial effect

Office of The City Attorney, City of San Diego


This measure requires the City to execute a 99-year lease with a qualified lessee for the SDCCU Stadium site and Murphy Canyon Training Facility (properties) upon Mayoral approval if certain conditions are met. The measure also adopts a Specific Plan allowing for prescribed development of the properties. The lessee would be expected to demolish SDCCU Stadium and build an 18,000 to 32,000 seat sports stadium, and be allowed to develop 21 acres of parks and recreation fields, 2.4 million square feet of office space, 740,000 square feet of retail space, 4,800 multi-family residential units, and 450 hotel rooms. The lessee would be required to provide up to $20 million for a 34-acre river park, to build the park if permitting and approvals are complete within 18 months of the measure’s adoption, and to maintain that park.

This measure has direct and indirect fiscal impacts. However, those impacts cannot be precisely quantified as the measure requires future negotiations, and development of the properties is subject to many external factors.

Direct fiscal impacts include the payment a lessee would make for a leasehold interest in the properties. This payment would be based on fair market value as of March 2017, but could be adjusted to account for stadium demolition costs, environmental requirements, and other factors. In June 2017, the properties’ appraised value was identified as $110 million. Precise payments are subject to future negotiation and currently unknown, but total payment cannot fall below $10,000. The lessee could also purchase up to 79.9 acres of the properties at fair market value. A portion of revenue would go to the City’s Public Utilities Department, which owns a portion of the properties.

Other potential direct impacts include City staff time and resources to permit and approve developments, remediate environmental contamination, and to build the river park if the lessee is required to only contribute $20 million but not actually build the park. Additional infrastructure upgrades may also be required surrounding the properties’ developments.

Indirect fiscal impacts include expenses and revenues from new economic activity associated with development of the properties. Research commissioned by Initiative proponents suggests full development of the properties could increase the properties’ assessed value by $3.6 billion, which could increase the City’s property tax receipts. Upon completion of full development, City expenditures to provide service to the properties could total $10 million annually. Increased City tax and fee revenue from full development could total $14 million annually. Full development, however, is not mandatory, would take several years, and would depend on many factors outside the City’s control. Initiative proponents believe full development would take seven years, though actual construction could take longer. Delays in construction and occupancy of the properties could reduce City revenues and expenses.

Approval of this measure precludes the City from using the property for other purposes, soliciting proposals to redevelop the property, or otherwise marketing the property for sale or lease. There could also be an unquantifiable fiscal impact if a qualified lessee is not found.

The above statement is a fiscal impact analysis of Measure E. An excerpt of the text of this measure is included in this voter pamphlet [for example, at]. The full text of this measure is available online at [a more targeted link is] and in the City’s public libraries. If you would like a copy of the full text of the measure to be mailed to you, please contact the Office of the City Clerk at 619-533-4000 or by email at and a copy will be mailed at no cost to you.

Published Arguments — Arguments for and against the ballot measure

Arguments FOR


Vote Yes on Measure E - SoccerCity for ALL San Diegans

BEST FOR TAXPAYERS. An independent study by the San Diego County Taxpayers Association demonstrated that Measure E is $208 million better than the alternative, Measure G.

BRINGS PROFESSIONAL SPORTS BACK TO SAN DIEGO. A 100% privately funded plan to bring Major League Soccer to San Diego and build an exciting new stadium for professional soccer and SDSU football. A sports and entertainment district will include new restaurants, outdoor concerts, youth playing fields and more.

MEETS SDSU’S NEEDS. Measure E’s local backers have committed to meet SDSU’s long-term expansion goals – including donating the stadium to SDSU, providing land for future academic facilities, and creating student and faculty housing – all without impacting student tuition or fees.

FASTEST. Quickly replacing the existing stadium will eliminate millions of dollars of annual taxpayer subsidies.

ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY. It is the only plan with detailed commitments for a privately funded River Park and that complies with the City’s Climate Action Plan.

BEST FOR OUR SCHOOLS. An independent study concluded Measure E will contribute $16 million per year in property taxes to K-12 schools.

BEST FOR MISSION VALLEY. It is the only plan that includes $50 million of infrastructure improvements to fix traffic in Mission Valley and legally limits traffic increases.

PROTECTS TAXPAYERS. Measure E is the only plan that guarantees taxpayers receive full market value for the land, $110 million based on the City’s independent appraisal for both the stadium and training facility.

GROWS THE ECONOMY. It creates 26,000 new jobs and $2.8 billion in economic activity according to an independent study.

Measure E does all this with no cost to taxpayers.

Vote Yes on Measure E — New Stadium, New Parks, No Cost to Taxpayers

April Boling
Taxpayer Advocate

Steven R. Altman
Retired President and Vice Chairman

Landon Donovan
US Olympian and
3 times World Cup Veteran 

Scott Sherman
San Diego City Councilmember

Michael R. Stone
Chief Investment Officer,
The Rise Fund, Social Impact Fund

— Office of The City Attorney City of San Diego

Arguments AGAINST


Measure E is a blank check for the hedge fund speculators who wrote it.

  • Gives private developers control of the stadium property for 99 years, a financial windfall worth tens of millions of dollars, at the expense of taxpayers.
  • Allows these developers to build what they want, when they want; prohibits public hearings or review by the City Council; and circumvents environmental review required of other major projects.
  • Doesn’t require the actual development look anything like the plan they are currently promoting.

SoccerCity will create perpetual traffic gridlock in Mission Valley.

  • The independent San Diego Association of Governments estimated SoccerCity will generate nearly 100,000 new vehicle trips per day in this already-congested area.
  • Doesn’t provide necessary funds to improve area roads and reduce the impacts of this massive traffic influx.
  • Exempt from requirements to mitigate traffic impacts, as required of other developments. Taxpayers could be left holding the bag.

Promoters of Measure E can’t be trusted.

  • Measure E was developed behind closed doors -- no public input. It was designed to maximize profits for private developers, not the public.
  • According to the City Attorney, Measure E doesn’t guarantee a professional soccer franchise, a soccer stadium or the promised river park. The San Diego River Park Foundation opposes Measure E.
  • Promoters claim their plan accommodates SDSU’s expansion needs, but SDSU says that’s not true. The City Attorney confirmed Measure E gives no rights to SDSU.
  • Promoters claim Measure E’s deficiencies can be solved by signing a supplementary agreement with the Mayor, but the City Attorney said such supplementary agreements cannot be enforced.

NO on Measure E: Empty Promises, Extreme Traffic

Theresa Quiroz, Former Member
San Diego Planning Commission

Jack Shaeffer, President
San Diego Police Officers Association

Barbara Bry, President Pro Tem
San Diego City Council

Paul Robinson, Chairman
The Lincoln Club of San Diego County

Michael Beck, San Diego Director
Endangered Habitats League

— Office of The City Attorney City of San Diego

Read the proposed legislation

Proposed legislation

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Due to the length of this measure, the San Diego County Registrar of Voters did not publish its entire full text in the sample ballot pamphlet, but instead referred voters to consult the San Diego City Clerk. The City Clerk is the source of the 621-page PDF to which Voter's Edge is linking here:

Other information about Measure E will entered into Voter's Edge by a League of Women Voters volunteer, using a PDF version of this sample ballot prepared by the San Diego County Registrar of Voters

To find your own sample ballot version, containing all the candidates and measures on your own ballot, please use the ROV's sample ballot look-up tool at .

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Who supports or opposes this measure?

Yes on Measure E
Organizations (0)
Elected & Appointed Officials (0)
No on Measure E

Organizations (1)

Elected & Appointed Officials (0)

More information

News (6)

SDSU West beats SoccerCity in new poll — October 14, 2018 San Diego Union-Tribune
The Mission Valley stadium ballot measures explained — October 14, 2018 San Diego Union-Tribune
SDSU to SoccerCity: Stop confusing our students — September 24, 2018 San Diego Union-Tribune
Stadium initiative TV ads: Fact or fiction? — September 23, 2018 San Diego Union-Tribune

Contact Info

Yes on Measure E
GOAL San Diego: Yes on G, No on E
No on Measure E
Public Land, Public Benefit, No on E, Yes on G
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