The San Diego City Council today approved one ballot initiative for the June ballot while postponing a decision on a number of other initiatives that make up the substantial constitutional overhaul in the works.

The council approved placing an initiative on the ballot that would ask voters to put on the 2010 ballot a measure to make the strong-mayor form of government permanent; increase the number of council districts from eight to nine and increase the number of votes necessary to override the mayor’s veto.

Much of the disagreements surrounding the proposed changes to the city charter have centered around the balance of power between the City Council and the mayor; the issue of the veto is central to that.

Supporters of the mayor have threatened to place alternative measures on the ballot should the City Council’s not suffice and have undertaken a signature drive to make that happen. The supporters, known as San Diegans for City Hall Reform, want the council to raise the veto override from five votes — the same amount it takes to pass legislation to begin with — to six votes as soon as possible.

The council wants to wait until a ninth seat is added, which would likely be 2012, so that it is a two-thirds vote, rather than a three-fourths vote.

Janette Littler, spokeswoman for San Diegans for City Hall Reform, said the group’s signature drive is continuing as of today.

“There’s still a lot of movement up there on the council. I don’t know what will happen tomorrow,” she said.

The council postponed a decision on an initiative that would set up a new structure for establishing council members’ salaries and another that would establish the balance of power between the mayor and the council in the city’s much-maligned auditing function. That function — which would include the establishment of an independent audit committee and create a city auditor — has gained critical importance in the wake of the city’s securities-fraud settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Those issues will be heard tomorrow beginning at 2 p.m. The council first forged the ballot initiatives last month, but they must be heard a second time before being finalized.

The council also approved a measure for the June ballot that would explicitly exempt public safety employees from the mayor’s privatization efforts.


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