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San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer wants to hold a special election in November — which would include the proposal to hike the hotel tax to pay for a Convention Center expansion, street repair and homeless services and the SoccerCity proposal to redevelop Qualcomm Stadium.
The plan is hanging by a thread.
In the past week, a coalition of labor union leaders and several City Councilmembers have said there should not be a special election this year. Mayor Kevin Faulconer is fighting for five votes to get it scheduled for November.
SoccerCity will be on a ballot. The question is when. Supporters say San Diego will jeopardize its chance to land a Major League Soccer team if they must wait until late 2018 to tell the league whether they can build a stadium.
And while there seems to be a critical mass of support for an expansion of the Convention Center on the City Council, there’s not a clear majority of support for holding a vote this year. Council President Myrtle Cole, potentially the swing vote if Republicans unite with the mayor, is quiet on her preference.
The mayor is lobbying hard and making media appearances. His office released an analysis detailing the cost of not moving fast on the Convention Center expansion and homeless funding.
Scott Lewis called around to figure out why much of labor is opposed to the special election. (Short answer: They want some deals on the soccer stadium, Convention Center and other related jobs. They have also forged a new alliance of community and activist groups they’re sticking with.)
Lewis also talked to the mayor, who was in disbelief that people who support more spending on homeless services and a Convention Center were threatening his hotel-tax plan.
Sacramento Report: Bills, Bills, Bills
Friday was the last day for State Assembly bills to pass through the Assembly and State Senate bills to pass through the Senate.
In this week’s Sacramento Report, Sara Libby, gives us a rundown of the once from San Diego lawmakers that made it through in the last-minute hustle.
Some of the bills include establishing a single-payer health care system in California from Sen. Toni Atkins, a bill to reform the SANDAG board and voting structure from Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, a bill from Assemblyman Randy Voepel to allow employers to give preference to veterans and a bill from Assemblywoman Shirley Weber to reform the CalGang database system.
Also in this week’s state politics roundup, Ry Rivard explains the half bills dozen bills to regulate water use efficiency that have been introduced in the legislature.
VOSD Podcast: Challenges to Mayor’s Tax Hike Proposal
In this week’s podcast, hosts Lewis and Andrew Keatts talk about the obstacles from labor and from several City Councilmembers to a special election in November that have come out over the past few days.
Lewis and Keatts also sit down with attorney Omar Passons, who is running for county supervisor to discuss his transition from outspoken and engaged citizen to political candidate.
• A set of op-eds also debate the special election.
In one, City Councilmember Scott Sherman argues that if the city councilmembers opposed to the special election kill SoccerCity, they will be robbing thousands of San Diegans who said they wanted to consider the project on the ballot of their chance to vote on it.
In another commentary, Andrea Guerrero, the executive director of Alliance San Diego Mobilization Fund, which was the lead sponsor and proponent of Measure L, argues that the special election in November goes against the essence of Measure L, which requires all citizens’ initiatives to appear in a November general election ballot unless the City Council chooses to intervene.
Quick News Hits
• If San Diego can expand 65 acres of marshland in the northeast corner of Mission Bay, it could help mitigate some of the impacts of rising sea levels. (Union-Tribune)
• Sempra Energy is walking back an odd statement by the company’s vice president last week that it would be easy for the company to get to 100 percent renewable electricity grid. (inewsource)
• Security will be tight for the Rock ‘n’ Roll race this weekend, with agencies like FBI, San Diego Fire Rescue’s Bomb Squad, explosive specialists, K9 handlers and hazmat personnel manning the areas along the marathon route. (NBC 7)
• A judge has denied a request for a new trial from Mexican businessman Jose Susumo Azano Matsura, who was convicted last summer for making illegal campaign contributions in the 2012 San Diego mayor’s race. (Union-Tribune)
• Even England is excited about the News Revenue Hub, which started as a pilot project within Voice of San Diego. Journalism.co.uk spoke with VOSD’s former chief operations officer, Mary-Walter Brown, who is at the spearheading the Hub.
The Week’s Top Stories
These were the most popular Voice of San Diego stories for the week of May 26-June 2. Click here to see the full top 10 list.
1.‘It’s Worse Than You Think’: Teachers, Students Say Online Cheating Is Pervasive
Last week, we got a firsthand look at the many ways in which students at East Village High School cheat on the district’s online credit recovery courses. A San Diego Unified spokesman dismissed claims that cheating occurs were merely “anecdotal.” Since then, more teachers and students have come forward with stories that suggest the problem is pervasive. (Mario Koran)
2. SDSU Researchers Watered Down the Police Racial-Profiling Study
A long-awaited study on whether the San Diego Police Department engages in racial profiling found some evidence of bias but was ultimately restrained in its conclusions. But a draft copy of the study obtained by Voice of San Diego was far more aggressive. In the final version, harsh language was softened and some troubling findings were taken out entirely. (Kelly Davis)
3. Water Authority Floats a Radical Idea in Strange Public Poll
The San Diego County Water Authority paid for a poll last month that asked voters whether they would support the state seizing control of water supplies across the region, including much of the water used in San Diego. The $31,000 poll is part of an aggressive campaign the Water Authority is waging against another public water agency, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. (Ry Rivard)
4. SoccerCity Is Not the Only Option for Mission Valley
It would be a calamity to approve SoccerCity because we were swindled into believing it is our only option. (Barbara Bry)
5. None of the Explanations for a Rushed, Costly Special Election Add Up
Less than seven months after San Diegans overwhelmingly decided to hold elections when the most people could participate, Mayor Kevin Faulconer is pushing the City Council to schedule a special off-year election for two ballot initiatives (David Alvarez)