With the electoral landscape and support for total public funding of a new Escondido ballpark altered after Tuesday’s elections, reps from the San Diego Padres say buying the Portland Beavers (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) and leaving them permanently in Tucson is definitely on the agenda.
The dynamics of Escondido politics changed Tuesday when ballpark supporters Lori Holt Pfeiler and Dick Daniels lost their bids for City Council and ballpark opponent Ed Gallo was elected. Pfeiler and Daniels were two sure votes for the plan to devote city redevelopment money to a new $50-million Portland Beavers ballpark, perhaps as soon as 2012.
The current council — which includes Pfeiler and Daniels — is set to take up the ballpark proposal on November 30. But the incoming mayor — who happens to be a current councilman — and another council member want to delay that vote. It doesn’t necessarily kill the project, but a new council will surely be skeptical of the plan. (They should: it basically ties up every redevelopment dollar in the community for the ballpark, and the proposed lease from the Padres gives the team virtually all the revenues from the ballpark. Of course, the specifics of the deal have not been released to the public.)
The response from the Padres: they want a unanimous vote on the council for the project, but if not they’ll look at keeping the Beavers permanently in Tucson. Not the best solution, as you can’t exactly jump into the car and drive to Tucson from San Diego. But it is a short flight away, and the facilities in Tucson are close enough to the other Padres extended-spring and training facilities in suburban Phoenix. And the relocated Beavers can probably eke out a profit playing at Tucson Electric Park.
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