Your Questions About the San Diego Primary, Answered - Voice of San Diego

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Your Questions About the San Diego Primary, Answered

Voice of San Diego’s Scott Lewis went on Reddit and our Facebook group to answer your questions. Here are some of the best parts of that conversation.

The Mission Beach Women’s Club served as a polling place on Election Day 2018. / Photo by Kayla Jimenez

The primary election is finally here and San Diego voters have big decisions to make.

Voice of San Diego’s Scott Lewis went on Reddit and our Facebook group to answer your questions. Here are some of the best parts of that conversation, edited for brevity and clarity.

If you’re not yet caught up, you may want to first read our guide to the San Diego primary.

What do you think the most important initiatives and races are this year in San Diego for citizens who want more affordable housing and why?

Well, that’s a big question. The most obvious ones are Measures A and B. For 150 years it was easy to build housing in San Diego because they just kept going farther and farther away, creating communities from 4S Ranch to Otay Lakes. Measure A is basically an attempt to stop that and insist that growth occur inside the cities and villages where it’s already planned. Opponents of A say that will hurt our ability to build an adequate supply of housing and make the situation worse. Proponents say, uh, look at other cities, we can definitely build up in urban areas and if you keep building out, you will make us even more reliant on cars, which are also expensive and inflate the cost of living.

Measure B is about one of those particular developments itself. It’s kind of the next 4S Ranch. The builders pledge that 60 percent of those homes they build will be affordable to people who make a family income of $107,000 or less. On the other hand, that is a beautiful area and opponents don’t want it to be built out. They want to force the development to go in cities and villages where it’s already planned. So you have to decide.

As for candidates, the race for mayor will be important. All the candidates say they support adding more housing supply, but Scott Sherman and Todd Gloria are seen to be more supportive of building more homes while Barbara Bry has focused a lot more on opposing vacation rentals and protecting neighborhoods from development’s negative impacts.

How big of an upset would it be if Scott Sherman doesn’t make it to the November ballot for mayor, and it becomes a Dem vs. Dem race?

I think the upset would be the other way. Sherman got in very late and has raised comparably very little money. His supporters are nervous that he has not, unlike Barbara Bry, been able to put up commercials on television.

However, he is the lone major Republican in the race and thus, with GOP support, should be able to communicate to Republican voters that he’s with them.

But Bry has been running for a long time and has raised a lot of money and is quite popular in areas along the coast and in the northern part of the city. She also has some support south of 8 and tried to build alliances with criminal justice advocates. So I think it’s a very close contest and I’m not sure how it will turn out.

I know California is a bit notorious for how long it takes to count ballots. When do you think we’ll have a good idea of who the two mayoral candidates to advance are?

Well, it depends on how close it is. There will be a dump of results right at 8 p.m. Tuesday night. If Scott Sherman is ahead but by only a little at that point, expect a very long night and tense days ahead. As more results come in, it is likely to swing more left. If he is up significantly at 8 p.m., it may not be much of a mystery.

I have a question about amendments to the county General Plan. Before projects in the unincorporated areas of the county can begin, do they need to be approved by the County Board of Supervisors regardless of the outcome of Measure A? Which is to say that the majority of the board can currently make amendments to the General Plan, but if A passes, it’s my understanding – and I could be wrong – that all projects still need approval from the County Board of Supervisors before they can begin.

Yes, projects that require a general plan amendment for rural and semi-rural areas would still have to go to the Board of Supervisors for approval but then would have to go to the vote of the people, which the developers would probably have to pay for.

If Measure C fails, do you think they’ll finally give up on the Convention Center expansion?

I don’t think they will ever be done with that dream. But what exactly does “failure” mean Tuesday? Remember this ballot measure was conceived of and executed as a citizens’ initiative precisely because they wanted to maintain the option to take it to court to implement it even if it only gets a majority of support from voters (though short of the two-thirds everyone has been assuming it would need). It’s kind of complicated but tl;dr, if they get more than 50 percent, then this isn’t over by a long shot.

Can you explain how it wouldn’t be subject to a two-thirds majority vote as a tax measure (despite not being a tax on residents directly)?

A few years ago, the California Supreme Court ruled on the Upland case that the constitutional provision that includes the part about the two-thirds threshold does NOT apply to citizens’ initiatives. Thus, many people deduced that a citizens’ initiative that raised taxes could pass with a simple majority of voter support. The Chargers would have likely tested this had they gotten 50 percent but they did not. Two measures in San Francisco did, and are moving through the courts. The mayor and his supporters deliberately cast this as a citizens’ initiative to leave room for this argument should they come up short of two-thirds.

Can you provide details on the tactics Sara Jacobs is using in her promoting of Republican Chris Stoddard as a viable candidate for the 53rd as a way to nudge Georgette Gómez out for the November ballot?

Hi, well, we’re uncertain at the moment exactly what’s going on. But here’s what we know.

  1. There is an independent group sending several mailers out boosting Stoddard among Republicans. It seems pretty obvious this is likely [Jacobs’] campaign or supporters independent of her actual campaign. But the mailers DO NOT include disclosures of who paid for them. Thus they are likely campaign finance violations and perhaps they have decided that whatever fines they have to pay for doing that are worth it.
  2. Jacobs is herself sending mailers out juxtaposing her with Stoddard, the Republican. Like this one.

It’s not uncommon for campaigns to boost the opponent they want to run against. Famously in 2012, the Republicans boosted Bob Filner for mayor. Unfortunately for them, they ended up losing to him.

I’ve seen many concerns and misinformation regarding Prop. 13 and that it will do away with the original Prop. 13 and raise property taxes. Can you provide some clarity?

This is wild. The Prop. 13 on your ballot this week has NOTHING to do with the famous/notorious/historic Prop. 13 from 1978 that capped property taxes. Here is everything you need to know about it. In short, it authorizes the state to borrow money for school and college construction efforts (including projects that have already been built!). The Republican Party opposes this Prop. 13 but it does not have anything to do with property taxes. There is a push to change the 1978 Prop. 13 but that will likely be on the November ballot.

If you had to pick a voter in one spot that will have the most important and exciting elections to choose from, where would that be?

Great question. I would pick someone in a tense congressional district. So someone near Lemon Grove, who will get to vote on that city’s crucial sales tax, the 53rd Congressional District, the weird D2 county supervisor race.

Great question. I would pick someone in a tense congressional district. So someone near Lemon Grove, who will get to vote on that city’s crucial sales tax, the 53rd Congressional District, the weird D2 county supervisor race.

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