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The business and labor leaders behind March’s Measure C are likely headed to court to argue the measure actually passed despite not winning two-thirds support from voters, the threshold voters were told at the time it would require.
Measure C sought to raise hotel taxes to fund a Convention Center expansion, homeless services and road repairs. It won the support of 65 percent of voters. Last month, the state Supreme Court declined to take up an appellate court decision that allowed a San Francisco citizens initiative to pass with a simple majority. Measure C backers think that same standard should apply to San Diego’s citizens initiative.
A spokeswoman for the city attorney’s office said potential options could include the city initiative a lawsuit asking a court to weigh in on whether Measure C passed, or the backers of the initiative could file their own suit.
Opponents, however, are likely to challenge any of those moves. An election attorney working with local opponents of Measure C also pointed out that the circumstances aren’t identical to what happened in San Francisco: Voters here were informed of the two-thirds requirement in ballot materials, while San Francisco officials took the position that their city’s measure could and did pass with a simple majority.
Both Measure C on the city of San Diego ballot, as well as a lawsuit filed in 2018, seek to change the way San Diego Unified school board races are held.
The main argument for change is that the current system heavily favors candidates backed by special interest groups who can therefore afford to run a citywide campaign, rather than appealing to voters solely within their smaller subdistrict.
VOSD’s Will Huntsberry looked into campaign spending in the current school board contests underway and found there’s something to that argument: “In San Diego Unified, the teacher’s union has spent roughly $100,000 on each of its preferred candidates. Meanwhile, two out of three of their opponents haven’t raised any money, at all. Another has raised roughly $1,000.”
All five current members of the board have been backed by the teachers union.
The city of San Diego has made numerous commitments to boosting clean energy sources and moving away from fossil fuels, but some of its money is still tied up with oil and gas companies.
“San Diego holds about $38 million in corporate bonds in Exxon Mobile and Chevron Corporation, according to the city’s most recent investments statement,” MacKenzie Elmer notes in this week’s Environment Report.
Elmer and Andrew Keatts reported last week that City Councilwoman Barbara Bry, along with her husband, hold an awful lot of stock in fossil fuel companies.
Bry said that those investments are handled by an asset portfolio manager and she doesn’t personally select them.
“And she said those investments are irrelevant to her positions as a public official, even though she has publicly decried offshore drilling and been very supportive of San Diego Community, a public power provider, which is slated to begin purchasing more renewable energy for the city next year,” Elmer writes.
The Morning Report was written by Sara Libby, and edited by Scott Lewis.