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Morning Report: The Local Ballot Measures, Explained

polling place san diego

Bright yellow signs guide voters to their polling places. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

Early voting has already begun in San Diego County and ballots are expected to hit mailboxes any day now.

Lisa Halverstadt put together a handy guide to the ballot measures that will appear countywide and in the city of San Diego, and highlights other big measures in cities around the county as well. She explains the reasons for bringing each of the proposals to the public and gives a sense of where the strongest support and opposition is coming from.

Also included in our roundup: seven school bond proposals and five measures dealing with marijuana. In Vista, for instance, residents will decide whether they want an array of marijuana businesses, including publicly accessible dispensaries, or whether home delivery is enough.

For a complete list of the school bond measures, check out this report by NBC 7.

Speaking of the November ballot …

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez of San Diego, chair of the influential Assembly Appropriations Committee, shared her upcoming votes for state and local offices and initiatives on Facebook. For the U.S. Senate, she’s supporting Kevin de León over Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who’s held that seat for more than a quarter century. Also of note: She recommends a yes vote on Prop. 5, a statewide measure to amend Prop. 13 that is supported by … Republicans.

She’s encouraging the public not to vote in one particular race — the Board of Equalization 4th District, which includes San Diego and Orange counties. Democrats put up Mike Schaefer, one of the most eccentric (and notorious) characters around, while Republican Sen. Joel Anderson, who’s also running, was recently admonished for threatening a lobbyist in a bar.

As we noted last week, Gonzalez is also a fan of Proposition 10, the proposition giving local communities the ability to put limits on rent hikes.

The executive director of the San Diego County Apartment Association, meanwhile, offered a counter perspective on Prop. 10 as well as a local rent control measure facing National City voters, Measure W, in a new VOSD op-ed.

“Both claim to address the housing crisis but neither measure creates a single unit of housing and both will actually increase the cost of housing while burdening taxpayers,” writes Alan Pentico.

  • The Union-Tribune reports that apartment owners and their allies have pumped $270,000 into defeating Measure W while supporters have raised about $50,000. It’s the most money attached to a National City ballot measure in recent history.
  • KPBS reporter Andrew Bowen took a look at the San Diego City Council race in District 2, the coastal district where Councilwoman Lorie Zapf is hoping not only to avoid becoming the first incumbent to lose a Council race since 1992, but to keep Democrats from winning a veto-proof majority. Zapf is facing off against Jen Campbell, a physician and newcomer to local politics. The Union-Tribune last week delved into a controversial political ad alleging Campbell committed disability fraudDemocrats are guaranteed to maintain their Council majority, but a Campbell win (or a win by Tommy Hough in District 6), would give the Council leverage over mayoral decisions, including how he allocates the city’s annual budget.

Faulconer Will Reveal CCA Decision Soon

For months, advocates of “community choice energy” have been waiting for a ruling from the California Public Utilities Commission that will determine how affordable it will be for communities to start government-run agencies to buy electricity. This “exit fee” ruling will likely determine whether the city of San Diego decides to form an agency to compete with San Diego Gas & Electric. The city’s goal is to provide cheaper and greener power. The city, as part of its climate action plan, wants power sold within city limits to be green by 2035, but SDG&E has so far not come up with a plan to make that happen.

As we reported at the end of last year, the City Council, controlled by Democrats, seems inclined to support this public-sector venture. Now, though, the Union-Tribune notes that all eyes are on Republican Mayor Kevin Faulconer, who “has said publicly he will make his decision within weeks of a highly anticipated vote by state regulators scheduled for Thursday.”

Advocates for community choice pitch it as a necessary solution to deliver greener power. But, as Ry Rivard notes in this week’s Environment Report, there are some dire reports out there about our warming climate. Rivard jumped into what that means for San Diego specifically, as well as some national and international predictions.

In Other News

  • Three (but not all) of the likely contenders for San Diego mayor in 2020 sat down with Scott Lewis, Sara Libby and Andrew Keatts to talk about some of the biggest challenges facing the city in a live podcast taped at Politifest on Saturday that we just released online. Topics include affordable housing, wacky transit proposals, NIMBY outrage and more. It was fun.
  • The podcast focused at length on the city’s failure to get a measure on the November ballot that would raise money to fund an expansion of the Convention Center, homeless services and road repairs. The City Council agreed Monday to submit that initiative to voters, but whether that will happen in 2020 or sooner is an open question. (Union-Tribune)
  • Hospitals in Escondido and Poway are feeling the strain of Tri-City Medical Center’s decision to suspend its psychiatric units. Mental health services, or the lack thereof, was a recurring topic of conversation Saturday at Politifest. “We’ve talked homeless and housing crisis but what we have is a mental health crisis in this state,” Faulconer said. (Union-Tribune, City Times)
  • In a debate Monday, John Cox, the Republican candidate for governor and a Rancho Santa Fe resident, took credit once again for ousting former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner from office. He didn’t. While it is true that Cox’s donations to the recall effort put pressure on Filner to resign, a lot of people were responsible and played a far more important role (including, of course, the victims who came forward). For more on what happened in the debate between Cox and Democrat Gavin Newsom, the Sacramento Bee has a good rundown.
  • inewsource dug into the finances behind Proposition 6 and found that supporters of the state’s gas tax increase are significantly raising and spending more money.
  • Hotel workers in the Gaslamp began walking off their jobs this week as part of nationwide strike. (Union-Tribune)
  • An investigation by the city auditor suggests that a policy allowing city workers to serve on juries more often than courts require and not document their service is wasting money. (Union-Tribune)
  • For a third time, lawyers for the county of San Diego have been accused of snooping through confidential records to defend a civil lawsuit. (Union-Tribune)

The Morning Report was written by Jesse Marx, and edited by Sara Libby.

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