My story today examined San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders’ position during the last six weeks as the deadline to place measures on the November ballot approaches.

Specifically, it looked at the mayor’s unwillingness to use his bully pulpit to argue for financial reforms, leading to other political actors filling the void.

But there’s one way the mayor could make his presence felt.

The City Council is considering a ballot proposition that would increase the city’s sales tax by a half-cent to 9.25 percent for the next five years. It discusses the issue this afternoon and if there’s support the council will make a formal decision tomorrow. The mayor is against a sales tax increase, but is not part of a Republican and business-led coalition that has campaigned against one. Notably, he is absent from a press conference the coalition is planning before the council’s 2 p.m. meeting today.

Sanders, according to City Attorney Jan Goldsmith, could veto any sales tax ballot proposition. That veto might be ceremonial as the council could override it. But it could indicate how strong a stance the mayor would take against a sales tax during a campaign. Also, it would force the council to schedule an emergency meeting and override the mayor’s veto to beat the Aug. 6 ballot deadline.

Six council members must support a sales tax ballot proposition — and six members would need to override a mayoral veto. As we examined last week, with the council’s two Republicans already against the proposal, the key swing vote appears to be Councilwoman Sherri Lightner, a Democrat who represents northern San Diego communities including La Jolla.

I’ve sent a text message to Sanders’ spokesman to ask about a possible veto.


Dagny Salas was web editor at Voice of San Diego from 2010 to 2013. She was an investigative fellow at VOSD from 2009 to 2010.

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