After a city official endorsing a dead candidate, after our old vocab joke went national, after two Latino Democrats each saying their opponent is like Donald Trump, after SANDAG counting on you to spend your brains out, after Rep. Darrell Issa turning to an unlikely savior, after “nasty woman” and more, it’s time to vote.
If you are only now starting to sort through the many issues and races, well, I don’t envy you. But whether you’re getting acquainted with your ballot for the first time or just need a refresher on certain measures and candidates, here’s a last-minute cram session to get you ready for Election Day.
Local Ballot Measures
This is our ultimate guide to the local San Diego ballot measures – there are two countywide measures, and 12 measures for voters in the city of San Diego.
Since that guide published, we’ve uncovered even more about some of the most high-profile issues on the ballot, including the tax hike for transportation measures, the Lilac Hills development and the Chargers stadium plan.
Measure A is a half-cent sales tax hike put on the ballot by SANDAG, the regional planning agency. It would pay for a mix of transportation, transit and open space projects.
In an investigation, Andrew Keatts found that the last sales tax hike to pay for other transportation projects is on track to fall billions of dollars short, which could have major implications for Measure A. Instead of funding a new list of projects, some Measure A money could be diverted to backfill the old tax.
SANDAG has been telling voters that Measure A will bring in $18 billion. But in order for that number to come true, San Diegans would have to spend far more money than they ever have. There are other uncertainties about the tax as well.
If Measure A passes, an independent watchdog group will be formed to oversee the new tax. But the group overseeing the last tax doesn’t seem to care that it’s on track to fall billions short.
To understand Measure B and the Lilac Hills Ranch development it would OK, you need to read our major investigation of the project. Since that came out, a county supervisor has been disqualified from voting on it, which forced the developer to change course and try to get it OK’d via the ballot. That’s why you’re voting on it.
The developers have written several escape hatches into Measure B so that they won’t get sued.
It’s also important to remember that even though Measure B is about one specific project, if it passes, we’ll likely see lots of similar projects skip the normal planning process and instead go straight to voters.
Measure C is the Chargers’ plan to build a new stadium, which includes a big hotel tax hike.
HBO’s Bill Simmons slammed NFL teams’ attempts to brand their stadium efforts as “more than a stadium” – which is exactly what the Chargers have done. In ads, former Mayor Jerry Sanders says Measure C is about more than a stadium. In the run-up to Election Day, the Chargers have said the facility would include not just a convention center annex, but also a startup incubator and a blood donation center.
After months of holding out on the biggest civic question facing the city he runs, Mayor Kevin Faulconer finally weighed in and said he supports Measure C.
The biggest question for most San Diegans is whether the city’s general fund will be on the hook to pay stadium costs. The short answer: It depends on whether the Chargers keep all their pinky-promises.
There’s also something misleading within the ballot materials for Measure C that you should know about.
Finally, here are the two biggest op-ed pieces we’ve run on Measure C: Rep. Scott Peters makes the case for why you should vote yes. And architect Rob Quigley makes the case for why you should vote no.
State Ballot Measures
On our San Diego Decides podcast, Ry Rivard and I ran down all 17 state ballot measures.
And our reporters have dug into a few of them:
Proposition 51 is a statewide school bond that backers say would go toward fixing aging school buildings, repair leaky roofs and otherwise upgrade school facilities.
But there’s reason to believe those upgrades might come in the form of multimillion-dollar football stadiums, and not just classroom repairs. Our Ashly McGlone confirmed with the state that the funds could be used to build stadiums, which is exactly what’s happened with bond money in San Diego.
Mayor Kevin Faulconer is one of the faces of the opposition against Proposition 57, a sentencing reform measure that would give certain offenders a parole hearing earlier than they’d currently get one, and would let judges – not prosecutors – decide whether to charge someone as a juvenile or an adult.
Kelly Davis examined Faulconer’s role in the campaign, and poked some big holes in the No on 57 side’s claims about who might be eligible for parole under the measure.
Mario Koran explained the history behind Proposition 58, which would make it easier to open bilingual education programs in California schools. Right now, the law says that in most circumstances, children need to be taught in English only.
Propositions 62 and 66
On our latest San Diego Decides podcast, we go over the two death-penalty measure on the ballot: Proposition 62 would end the death penalty in California, and Proposition 66 would dramatically speed up appeals, possibly accelerating executions.
San Diego Races
Deputy City Attorney Mara Elliott and Deputy District Attorney Robert Hickey are squaring off to be the city’s next legal counsel.
After months of holding out, Hickey’s boss, District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, finally endorsed him.
At a forum last month, the candidates had different takes on one of the most controversial decisions by outgoing City Attorney Jan Goldsmith, who defended the city in a lawsuit by arguing a woman sexually assaulted by an SDPD officer was at fault for her own attack. Hickey also expressed slightly more willingness than Elliott to support ongoing reforms that would beef up the Citizens Review Board, which has limited authority to review police-community issues.
City Council District 9
Georgette Gomez and Ricardo Flores, the candidates for City Council District 9 agree on most things – including that their opponent is like Donald Trump, for some reason.
They also agree largely on housing issues, but not on how to pay for solutions.
Around the County
Lots of school district around the county have bond measures on the ballot. Voters are getting more transparency about what they’ll cost in the long run, but the donation rolls to the campaigns look a light like how they’ve always looked – full of construction groups.
County Supervisor District 3
Maya Srikrishnan has chronicled where District 3 county supervisor candidates Dave Roberts and Kristin Gaspar stand on the biggest issues facing the county – homelessness, affordable housing and transportation funding.
And Kinsee Morlan pressed them on how they’d boost the arts if elected.
Encinitas has been dealing with a tension between needing to build more housing and not wanting to for a while now. That tension has been on full display when it comes to Measure T.
In Oceanside, there’s a dead candidate on the ballot – and at least one city official hopes he wins.
A small business owner’s routine request for an alcohol permit turned weird once the vice mayor, who’s running for re-election, stopped by her store.
Chula Vista’s Measure P is a sales tax hike meant to pay for infrastructure – but there’s nothing that legally binds the money to be used that way.
Some of the decisions at stake Tuesday could fundamentally change things in the city and state — folks in the near future might be able to smoke marijuana legally, for example, and here in San Diego we might make a major switch to the way we elect politicians and weigh in on big issues.
Oh, and I hear there’s also a presidential race on the ballot.