San Diego City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said it’s unclear what will happen if Mayor Jerry Sanders vetoes a proposed sales tax ballot measure.

The City Council is scheduled to decide this week whether voters will see a half-cent sales tax increase on their November ballots. The deadline for the city to put measures on the ballot is Aug. 6.

But that deadline conflicts with another. The mayor, a sales tax opponent, has 10 business days to decide whether he’ll veto a sales tax ballot proposition, Goldsmith said. That means Sanders’ veto deadline goes beyond the ballot deadline.

So could the mayor block the sales tax proposal from reaching the ballot by waiting until after Aug. 6 to veto it? Goldsmith said the city’s charter doesn’t provide an answer.

“It is a late date given the August 6 deadline and the Charter process does not provide for what happens under these circumstances,” Goldsmith said in an e-mail. He continued:

It would be best for the Mayor to act quicker than the full ten business days in this situation. If he vetoes, it would then be best for the Council to act quickly to decide whether to override. If the process goes beyond the August 6 deadline, we would be in touch with the Registrar of Voters as to whether or not the ballot measure can proceed.

City Clerk Liz Maland said she’s contacted the county’s Registrar of Voters to see what could be done.

“As far as I know, the 6th is the deadline, 5 p.m.,” Maland said. “We’re never had this situation before so given the fact this would be in process, I don’t know.”

A thanks to Erik Bruvold, president of the National University System Institute for Policy Research, for posing this question.

The Mayor’s Office hasn’t responded yet to my requests for comment today.


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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