The suit charges that Proposition D violates election rules that limit ballot measures to one subject; gives voters illegal administrative powers; illegally delegates legislative power to the city auditor; the reform measures are too vague; and the ballot title and summary are false.
“This is a con job,” said plaintiff Richard Rider, the head of San Diego Tax Fighters. “It’s outright extortion and it really irritates me to no end.”
Rider is asking courts to throw out Prop. D, which requires the city to complete 10 reforms before triggering a temporary, half-cent sales tax increase. Failing that, he’d like the court to order changes to the ballot summary and title.
What’s most interesting about the suit is how closely its arguments mirror an opinion issued by City Attorney Jan Goldsmith as the measure was developing.
Goldsmith warned the proposal faced challenges complying with single-subject rules, maintaining council legislative authority and providing clear reform criteria. And in passing the measure, the City Council took an option Goldsmith called the riskiest: allowing the city auditor to have the final say if the reform triggers had been met rather than allowing the council to sign off.