Timing for a proposed city of San Diego sales tax ballot measure is tight. Consider what City Attorney Jan Goldsmith says needs to be done by Aug. 6, the deadline for council to decide what items will be put before voters in November:

  • City Council must meet, decide what it wants to see on the ballot and vote to direct the city attorney to write a ballot measure.
  • The City Attorney’s Office must write the measure.
  • The state Board of Equalization, which would enforce the sales tax, has to sign off on the language. By the way, Goldsmith said the board is unaware of any conditional tax — like the one City Councilwoman Donna Frye is proposing — ever being presented to them.
  • City Council must approve the ballot language with at least six votes.
  •  Mayor Jerry Sanders must sign the ballot measure or veto it. If he vetoes it, council has to schedule another meeting to override the veto with another six votes.

Goldsmith’s office needs some time to write the ballot measure, too. It must comply with state labor law, which requires negotiations with employee unions before some of the reforms Frye is proposing are enacted.

All this must happen by next Friday. Goldsmith said it was a hard deadline.

“It’s required by state law,” Goldsmith said.

Earlier today, Goldsmith released a memo asking council to begin deliberations on a sales tax measure on Friday instead of Monday as it had planned.


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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