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Monday, Jan. 14, 2008 | Where else but in the Alice in Wonderland world of San Diego government and politics would Mayor Jerry Sanders propose a two-third veto override vote requirement in which two-thirds of the council actually equals 75 percent of the City Council. It is the mayor’s lesson in new math. Clearly, by any calculation this proposal to change the City Charter adds up to bad, undemocratic government and should be rejected when it comes before the City Council tonight for placement on the June ballot.
The mayor’s radical and politically extreme proposal is an unprecedented direct assault on the integrity of the legislative process and the power of the City Council. Based upon the size of the current City Council it is a virtually impossible political burden which blatantly interferes in the conduct of the people’s business by the City Council. There is no legislative body in the nation constrained by such executive veto power.
Furthermore, for legislation needing a supermajority to pass, a veto override will require an incredible 88 percent of the council votes (seven of eight council members).
From which extremist elements of the mayor’s constituency does this blatant power grab emerge? Even the mayor’s Charter Review Committee rejected such a radical proposal as premature and onerous until some future expansion of the number of council seats. The portrayal of Mayor Sanders as a man of moderate politics appears to be a myth.
We can speculate on the source of this idea. Shame on Mayor Sanders and his Chamber of Commerce backers who threaten to spend whatever it takes to pass this onerous ballot measure so antagonistic to the democratic process.
It seems when it comes to lessons in democracy the mayor and his puppet masters prefer Machiavelli to de Tocqueville. Let us all be vigilant and recognize that this “coup de strong mayor” must be rejected.
Clearly, on the issue of veto power, the mayor has failed both math and civics.