The list of local ballot measures that will go before voters in November is taking shape — but anger is already brewing about what won’t be on the ballot.
One proposal you won’t see: a proposed measure to overhaul civilian oversight of the San Diego Police Department. The City Council declined on Monday to put it before voters, reports KPBS.
Democratic City Councilman Chris Ward effectively killed the proposal by voting with Republicans not to put it on the ballot. The Council’s other Democrats, Myrtle Cole, Barbara Bry, David Alvarez and Georgette Gomez all voted in favor of sending the measure to the ballot.
Ward had voted to support the measure in April when it went through the rules committee.
His spokesman told KPBS that “Councilmember Ward supported this item at Rules Committee because it is important for the full City Council to hear the community’s concerns. After today’s discussion of the item, he did not feel it was realistic or even possible to accomplish what was before Council by the August 10th deadline.”
And though the Council did elect to put a measure on the ballot that would institute term limits for San Diego Unified school board members, another reform long sought for school board members — subdistrict-only elections — isn’t on the table this year.
Under the current process, candidates run in a small subdistrict during the primary, then move to a vote of the whole school district in the general election.
Advocacy group Community Voices for Education is now threatening legal action if the San Diego City Council doesn’t place a measure on the ballot that would include subdistrict-only elections, the Union-Tribune reports.
In a letter, the group’s president Bret Caslavka said the current election process violates the California Voting Rights Act and hinders the voting power of minorities.
The legal argument resembles those of Malibu attorney Kevin Shenkman, who has been using the California Voting Rights Act to shake up the way cities across California, including several in North County, elect their city council members.
As we’ve explained before, San Diego Unified’s unique approach to elections often results in candidates running unopposed.
And, proponents of an initiative that would overhaul the way the county holds its elections are going to court to force their measure onto November’s ballot.
Last week, the county’s Board of Supervisors ordered an impact study on two measures that would reform county elections. One was put forward by Supervisor Dianne Jacob, the other is a citizens’ initiative.
That study isn’t expected to come back in time for the supervisors to finalize the measure before the Aug. 10 deadline. They would instead go to the March 2020 ballot.
On Friday, proponents of the citizens’ initiative demanded an expedited court hearing to force the county’s hand, arguing the county has no choice but to let voters weigh in on a measure that collects sufficient signatures.
That hearing is expected to happen on the Aug. 10 ballot deadline.
Tijuana’s Violence Takes a Turn for the Worse
Tijuana’s homicide rate has been soaring to record levels in the past couple of years, but the violence was mostly confined to the city’s impoverished and working class neighborhoods. In the past couple of days, however, there have been shootouts and murders in some of the city’s upper and upper-middle class areas, like Playas de Tijuana and the mall, Plaza Galerías Hipódromo.
According to El Sol de Tijuana, there have already been around 1,425 homicides so far in 2018, 234 of which occured in July. On Tuesday morning, there was also a body hanging from a bridge over Boulevard 2000 freeway — something that hasn’t happened in Tijuana in at least a couple of years, writes Zeta.
- Mexico extradited a man who is charged with murdering a Border Patrol agent, the Justice Department announced Tuesday. Attorneys from the Southern District of California are prosecuting the case in federal court in Tucson.
Second Vacation Rental Vote Coming Wednesday
The City Council is set to move forward with a second hearing on vacation rental rules on Wednesday despite a Monday letter from an attorney representing vacation rental operators alleging the city didn’t provide proper notice before approving restrictive rules on July 16.
Attorney Valentine Hoy argued the City Council violated the City Charter and the Brown Act when it approved restrictive vacation rental rules earlier this month and that the Council should restart its voting process to comply with those rules. That would mean scheduling another hearing.
In a statement, City Attorney Mara Elliot’s office said the City Council’s last-minute amendments ahead of the July 16 vote were legal.
But expect the legal wrangling and uncertainty to continue after Wednesday’s City Council vote.
The Latest On Plaza de Panama Legal Cases
One of two cases stalling the controversial Plaza de Panama project in Balboa Park could be resolved next month.
Attorney Cory Briggs, whose lawsuit largely challenged the city’s plan to use bonds to finance its share of the plan, faced off against the city in a two-day trial this week.
Briggs said Tuesday that he and attorneys for the city and philanthropists backing the project had rested their case. The attorneys are now set to make their closing arguments before Superior Court Judge Gregory Pollack on Aug. 13.
A second case, filed by preservationist group Save Our Heritage Organisation, is still awaiting a hearing in the state Court of Appeal. SOHO challenged an earlier Superior Court ruling that largely favored the city. The group has alleged that the city should have conducted more environmental reviews after Mayor Kevin Faulconer revived the project in 2016.
What Trump Left Out of His Tweet on a Local Judge
On Monday evening, President Donald Trump tweeted that a “highly respected Federal judge” – San Diego-based District Judge Dana Sabraw – stated that the “’Trump Administration gets great credit’ for reuniting illegal families.”
Indeed Sabraw did credit the government for reuniting many of the children, who had been separated from their parents by the government, but he also faulted the government for failing to unify hundreds more – something not included in Trump’s tweet.
“The government is at fault for losing several hundred parents in the process and that’s where we go next,” Sabraw said during Friday’s court hearing in the ACLU family separation case.
- This week’s Culture Report looks at how one North County couple turned YouTube videos into a solid professional dance career.
- San Ysidro Health Clinic is being sued over its failure to properly deal with a doctor who was groping and sexually assaulting patients. (NBC7)
- An analysis of special tax funds in Eastlake finds that residents are paying millions in school taxes, but the money is being spent in other parts of the district. (inewsource)
- Chula Vista is struggling to stop illegal pot shops. (Union-Tribune)
The Morning Report was written by Maya Srikrishnan and Andrew Keatts, and edited by Sara Libby.