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San Diegans for City Hall Reform, the committee that helped Mayor Jerry Sanders campaign for his outsourcing initiative last year, announced today that it is gearing up to ask voters to change the City Charter in an election next year.

A member of San Diegans for City Hall Reform said in a statement that it wanted to ensure that its preferred bylaw changes make it onto the ballot in case the council ultimately balks, even if it means gathering thousands of signatures.

“If the City Council subsequently agrees to place provisions substantially the same as those contained in our initiative on the ballot in 2008, we will terminate our initiative effort,” said John Davies, who also led the Charter Review Committee that Sanders empanelled.

The group wants to ask voters to adopt a slightly different version of the reform package that the Charter Review Committee recommended to the City Council, according to a press statement. In November, a council committee was critical of the charter panel’s suggestions to extend the strong-mayor form of government past its current expiration date in 2010, signaling that the effort to make it permanent could unravel.

The San Diegans for City Hall Reform’s specific proposal was not included in the press release, but they appear to line up closely to the charter changes Sanders recommended last month.

Thursday’s announcement signals the beginning of a new cause for the group, which has been collecting money since last November’s election with the only stated purpose being that it was tied to Sanders. In the eight months following the election, the group raised $112,000 for no specific campaign cause.

EVAN McLAUGHLIN

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