Almost lost in the hoopla over San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders and the City Council’s financial package is the future of the $294 million new City Hall project.

Recall that last Thursday, Sanders vetoed the proposal from appearing on November’s ballot, saying the financial support to run a campaign wasn’t there. On Friday, Sanders hinted that clearing the ballot for the fiscal package also played into his decision.

That left the fate of the new City Hall, billed as an essential cost-saving and safety measure, up in the air. The U-T took a swing at the project’s future over the weekend, quoting Sanders saying he still favored a public vote.

This morning it looked official that election won’t happen in November.

At a council meeting this morning, Councilman Carl DeMaio requested the council discuss overriding the mayor’s veto at its special meeting on Wednesday. But Council President Ben Hueso ignored the request, meaning the council would miss Friday’s deadline to make the November ballot.

By the City Charter, the council is required to address a mayoral veto, City Attorney Jan Goldsmith told the council.

But Goldsmith told me later the charter doesn’t say what happens if the council doesn’t do it.

Failing council action, the mayoral veto would stand.

“On a federal level it’s called a ‘pocket veto,’” Goldsmith said.

DeMaio said in the meeting he remained concerned that the council could attempt to approve the project without a public vote — as requested by a key backer of the building — and he issued a memo on that issue later this morning.

But to do so likely would require six council votes, meaning at least two council members and the mayor would have to back away from promises they’ve made to let the public decide.


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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