San Diego Convention Center

California Supreme Court Decision Could Change Future for Convention Center Expansion

NBC Universal, Inc.

Measure C, the failed hotel room tax hike that would have funded an expansion to the Downtown Convention Center, homeless services, and road repairs, fell short of the two-thirds vote threshold in March by less than a percent.

But now, a California Supreme Court decision not to relitigate a case means a San Francisco citizens initiative can pass with a simple majority and not a two-thirds majority.

"We believe this was a big step forward to expanding our convention center and most of all it'll give us the opportunity to begin to rebuild our economy as it begins to come back because when you talk about trying to create 7,000 jobs and immediate jobs from the construction site, our city needs that," said Keith Maddox who was part of the coalition that supported the tax hike.

Maddox and his coalition are waiting to hear from the San Diego City Attorney's office about what the Supreme Court decision means for their measure. In a statement to NBC 7, the City Attorney's office said it is evaluating the decision and figuring out its next steps.

Legal experts say the supreme court's decision could open the door for many more citizens initiatives to pass.

"It's very hard to get two-thirds of Californians or two-thirds of San Diegans to agree on anything, and it is a lot easier to get a simple majority to agree on something that has broad support, that’s why this is so significant," said local legal analyst Dan Eaton. "I think you can expect to see a lot more of these special taxes going through the citizens initiative process."

Michael McConnell, a homeless advocate behind the movement to vote no on Measure C told NBC 7 he'll also be closely following the City Attorney's evaluation of the decision.

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