San Diego City Council

San Diego City Council Postpones Vote on Controversial 101 Ash Street Settlement

Mayor Gloria and city council officials postponed the planned meeting 20 minutes before it was scheduled

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San Diego's City Council postponed a Monday vote on a proposed settlement on 101 Ash Street announced by Mayor Todd Gloria last week.

Twenty minutes before the 11 a.m. meeting, Mayor Gloria and City Council President Sean Elo-Rivera released a joint statement saying they wanted to give the public more time to review the agreement and the supporting documents. No further explanation for the postponement was given.

The city entered a lease-to-own agreement for 101 Ash Street in 2016 only to find out the building was uninhabitable and would need millions of dollars of remediation.

Last week, Mayor Todd Gloria announced a proposed settlement that would transfer ownership of 101 Ash Street and the Civic Center Plaza to the city. The seller, Cisterra Development, would give $7.4 million from the Ash Street deal back to the city, but it would keep $6.2 million it got from the city for the Civic Center Plaza. The city would also be on the hook for the remediation fees which an independent review estimated to be around $115 million.

John Gordon is a San Diego taxpayer who filed a complaint in 2020 alleging the deal violated the California state constitution because the city paid for a building it couldn't inhabit. Gordon and his legal representation were at City Hall on Monday and said they don't support the proposed settlement.

"This proposed settlement was really a surrender, it really marked bad work on the part of the mayor's team and the taxpayers really don’t understand it," Gordon said.

Since the announcement of the proposal, the City Attorney's office has come out with a 98-page report recommending that City Council reject the settlement. In it, the City Attorney says the settlement does not adequately protect the city's legal and financial interests.

Not all of the councilmembers have gone on the record about how they feel about the settlement. Councilmember Chris Cate from District 6 and City Council President Sean Elo-Rivera support it. Councilmember Vivian Moreno from District 8 has said she does not support it.

The mayor has said he plans to bring the proposed settlement to the council again within the next month.

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