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Political, labor and business leaders in the city of San Diego are engaged in serious discussions about removing the new City Hall project from the November ballot to give a reform package that includes a sales tax increase a better chance of passage, said Bob Nelson, head of a city committee tasked with finding new money.
Nelson, who declined to name names, said it would take vigorous and expensive campaigns to convince voters to approve both items.
“I for one don’t believe there’s enough money in this economy for both measures,” Nelson said.
A City Hall vote could occur via a special election or a mail ballot while state law requires a sales tax ballot measure to come during a regular election unless the City Council unanimously declared an emergency.
“To me, there’s a very compelling argument to deal with these issues one at a time,” Nelson said. “We don’t have a choice to deal with the sales tax again until June 2012. By then it’s too late.”
The San Diego Downtown Partnership sent a letter to Mayor Jerry Sanders today asking him to veto the ballot measure because it didn’t believe it could mount an effective campaign. The letter made no mention of the sales tax proposal and Nelson said he didn’t know about the letter.
By the City Charter, the mayor has 10 business days to veto any ballot measure subject to his approval once the City Clerk transmits the proposal to him. The City Council approved the ballot measure July 19 and the City Clerk transmitted it to Sanders on July 21.
Sanders’ deadline is Wednesday, Aug. 4, the clerk’s office said.
Considering the City Hall decision was made just last week, the new discussions underscore how rapidly the reform and tax package has been building momentum in recent days.
— LIAM DILLON
Update: The City Clerk just confirmed for me the Aug. 4 deadline. Earlier I wrote Sanders’ veto deadline was Aug. 3 because I counted the day the mayor received the proposal toward the time limit.