The City Council on Monday approved the city’s annual budget.
But in the 8-1 vote, the Council removed $5 million for a special election from Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s proposed budget. That leaves uncertain the fate of the SoccerCity plan and convention center expansion, two items the mayor wanted voters to take up this fall. But neither plan is totally dead.
The Council’s changes to the mayor’s budget took out the election funding, and added in more funding for the Police Department, homeless services and to put toward the debt at Qualcomm Stadium.
In a statement after the vote, Faulconer said he would keep the changes to police funding but plans to put the special election funding back in.
“I intend to use my veto authority to restore the special election funding, while still retaining the added funding for our police, so the City Council can take an up-or-down vote on these urgent ballot measures. The City Council should not ignore these time-sensitive issues – and give San Diegans the opportunity to vote this year,” Faulconer said in the statement.
The Council can override a veto with six votes but only five councilmembers disagree with him.
That means a lot could play out before the Council has to make a final decision about the special election later this month. But, as the Union-Tribune notes, “the council tipped its hand by eliminating funding for the special election.”
Our Scott Lewis was blunter: Monday’s vote was a “brutal blow” to the mayor’s plan.
Council President Myrtle Cole, the supposed swing vote on the issue, reaffirmed her stance against paying for a special election late Monday night on Twitter.
But in 2018 …
A newly energized and aggressive political left is emerging in San Diego.
Case in point: A progressive coalition focused on housing wants San Diegans to vote in 2018 to raise taxes to fund homes for low-income residents, Andrew Keatts reports.
The group, Build Better San Diego, includes labor unions, environmentalists and community organizing groups.
The group recently packed City Council chambers to oppose Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s plan to hold a 2017 special election to raise hotel taxes to expand the convention center and raise some money for homelessness and infrastructure. Instead, the group is eyeing a housing-focused tax measure that could end up sharing the ballot with the mayor’s convention center expansion plan if that gets pushed to the 2018 election.
For now, the group isn’t set on any particular source of money: It’s open to higher hotel taxes, which may be easier for voters to stomach, but it’s also explored higher sales taxes, property taxes or real estate transfer taxes.
No Housing Bubble, Yet
Housing is expensive, that’s for sure. But, according to contributor Rich Toscano, “while San Diego’s housing market is certainly hot, and its home prices a good deal more expensive than usual, it’s hard to make the case that this is a genuine bubble.”
For one thing, housing prices have risen, but not like they did before the bubble burst a decade ago. Second, despite optimism that the market is good, there seems to be a lack of chest-thumping, implausible narratives, cavalier risk-taking and the fear of missing out that defined the last bubble.
Opinion: SoccerCity Good for San Diego Sports
Mick Pattinson, a former president of the San Diego Building Industry Association, makes the case for the SoccerCity plan for Mission Valley.
Not only would San Diego be home to professional sport with growing American appeal, but “SoccerCity is taking a negative situation – the loss of an NFL franchise and the financial sinkhole known as the Q – and making it into a positive with a MLS franchise, modern stadium, major city river park, improved transportation, housing, hospitality, office space and shopping,” he writes in an op-ed.
In Other News
• California is at the forefront of a leftward shift in the Democratic Party to embrace universal health care. The state’s plan for a single-payer health care system, which cleared the Senate last week, was co-written by San Diego Sen. Toni Atkins. (New York Times)
• District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis’ office has stepped up its efforts to take cash, guns and other assets from suspected criminals, according to the Union-Tribune. This type of taking, called asset forfeiture, is highly controversial because people on both sides of the political aisle worry law enforcement is seizing and holding on to people’s stuff without respect for their property rights or their presumption of innocence. Republican Rep. Darrell Issa and state Sen. Joel Anderson have been vocal critics of asset forfeiture.
• A few months after former Chargers player and radio announcer Nick Hardwick said he would not follow the team to Los Angeles, he has decided … to follow the team to Los Angeles. “I was confused, and didn’t know how to react,” he told Chargers.com about his initial decision. “I lashed out and struggled to understand what it was I was feeling. But after several months, it became clear that the Chargers are a part of who I am.” Hardwick’s change of heart could foreshadow a pattern for Chargers fans in which disgust and sadness over the team’s departure eventually evolves back into support.