Police Oversight Advocates: We’re Good, Let’s Have an Election


Police Oversight Advocates: We’re Good, Let’s Have an Election

The advocates pushing a ballot measure to reform the city’s police oversight body said the language made public last week is acceptable to them, and they’re ready for voters to weigh in.

Andrea St. Julian, co-chair of San Diegans for Justice, speaks at press conference calling into question Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s support of a police oversight ballot measure. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

This post originally appeared in the June 20 Politics Report. Get the Politics Report delivered to your inbox.

After Mayor Kevin Faulconer and District Attorney Summer Stephan endorsed a proposed ballot measure to overhaul police oversight body to give it independent investigative powers, the measure’s proponents urged caution.

In 2016 and again in 2018, they had seen the same effort waylaid by a political compromise and procedural chicanery. They welcomed the new support, but said they’d wait to celebrate.

Because the measure affects a city labor union, the proposal was subject to union negotiations. They wanted to see the final language that emerged from those negotiations.

The city released that language Thursday, and a champion of the ballot effort said everything looks fine.

“At this point, we don’t have any objections to the language,” said Andrea St. Julian, co-chair of San Diegans for Justice, the group pushing the change to the city’s charter. “We are happy that it’s language we think will be useful and helpful for the commission, and don’t have any objections.”

The measure now specifies that a police officer can appeal any sustained findings of misconduct by the commission. That’s the only substantial change from the negotiations.

“From our reading of the language and what we understand, it’s not an addition of an appeal process, it’s a recognition of an appeal process that already exists in California state law,” St. Julian said.

The City Council was supposed to vote next week to put the measure on the November ballot. That won’t be able to happen yet; since the City Clerk hasn’t formally called an election yet, the Council can’t put anything on a ballot that doesn’t exist.

The Council will instead vote to put a formal end to the union negotiations, and to declare its intent to put the measure on the ballot at some later point, before the August deadline.

What do you think?