Supporters of making the city of San Diego’s strong mayor form of government permanent have poured tens of thousands into the campaign.

Opponents? Well, there’s not even a campaign committee that could collect donations if it wanted to.

The strong mayor system took the mayor off of the City Council and made the position the chief executive, giving the mayor control over the city bureaucracy, instead of a city manager. The mayor also now proposes a budget that City Council then approves.

City residents will decide June 8 on a measure that would make strong mayor permanent, add a ninth City Council seat and strengthen a mayoral veto by requiring six council members to overturn it.

The balance of power for this strong mayor proposition belies the more than 30 year-effort it took supporters to implement it. In 2004, city voters narrowly passed a five-year strong mayor trial with just 51 percent of the vote. Back then, supporters greatly outspent opponents. But there was an anti-strong mayor campaign.

Strong mayor supporters argue the system makes city leaders more accountable. Detractors say the system walls off the mayor from the council and the public.

I’ve reached out to a number of people to ask why there’s no organized campaign against strong mayor this time and what that means.

The results will appear in my blog. I’m interested in your thoughts as well. Please e-mail me, tweet me or respond in the comments section. I’ll post some responses individually as well.

To prepare for the discussion, here’s a link to the statement that will appear on June’s ballot. And to highlight the disparity between those in favor and against the proposition, I’ve embedded below a pro-strong mayor video and a link to an anti-strong mayor website developed by the local League of Women Voters.

We also have a video explainer of the strong mayor system, which you can watch here:

View more news videos at:


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.