City Council Democrats on Monday responded to Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s power move with a power move of their own: They voted in lockstep not to schedule the special election the mayor is seeking.
Late last week, Faulconer used his veto power to restore money for the special election that the Council had taken out. But it’s up to the Council to actually schedule a special election, and it voted not to on a 5-4 party-line vote. Faulconer was hoping two measures would go before voters later this year: his plan to raise the hotel tax to expand the Convention Center and fund homelessness services and road repairs, and the SoccerCity plan to redevelop Qualcomm Stadium.
Just six months ago, Council Democrats fractured over who should be the Council president, in what became a proxy war between factions within the liberal base. Council President Myrtle Cole won, with Faulconer’s support and the votes of the four Republicans on the Council.
That seems like a long time ago. The Democrats remained united this week under heavy pressure from the mayor’s office. They each discussed their commitment to putting up a different ballot measure in 2018, one that could see a greater emphasis on homelessness and affordable housing.
• Monday’s vote was about whether to schedule a special election. But there are still pieces of the saga coming to a Council meeting near you. On Tuesday, the Council will vote on whether to override the mayor’s budget changes. After the Council stripped funding for a special election from the budget, Faulconer used his veto power to put the money back in – and he made vindictive cuts to his opponents’ Council budgets as retribution. The Council will need a supermajority – six votes – to undo the mayor’s actions.
• The City Council will vote next Monday on whether to place the SoccerCity plan for the Qualcomm Stadium site on a future ballot. If the special election is off the table, that ballot would likely go before voters in 2018. They could also approve the measure outright, without sending it to a public vote, but that is not expected.
Critics Want County to Loosen the Purse Strings
On Monday, two county supervisors announced they want to pull $25 million from the county’s enormous savings account to fund affordable housing.
That’s a small nod toward a growing chorus of critics who say the county sits on piles of cash instead of spending it on vulnerable residents.
In her latest piece examining the county’s vast bank account and the decisions about how it’s deployed, Lisa Halverstadt fleshes out the arguments of activists and Board of Supervisor candidates who say it’s time for the county to dip into its vast resources to address the homelessness and affordable housing crises.
Border Report: Congress Turns Attention to Border Agents, Deported Vets
Though members of Congress have been plenty outspoken about their desire or distaste for President Donald Trump’s border wall, that’s not the only border-related issue the House has been examining, as Brooke Binkowski notes in the latest Border Report.
Last week, the Republican-led House voted to do away with polygraph exams for some prospective Border Patrol agents. And Rep. Juan Vargas recently led a group of Democratic members of Congress to meet with U.S. military veterans who’ve been deported and are living in Tijuana.
Quick News Hits
• The Tony Awards on Sunday included some big shout-outs to the La Jolla Playhouse. The New York Times caught up with Christopher Ashley, who won best director, about San Diego’s theater audience and what’s ahead for him.
• Another day, another dire housing report: This one says San Diego needs 73,000 new apartments by 2030 to keep up with demand. (City News Service)
• Here’s a cool update on the News Revenue Hub, which started under VOSD and is spinning off into its own organization. (Neiman Lab)