The city of San Diego has been trying to pass Measure C for years, but was persistence enough at the polls?
As of 7 a.m. Wednesday, 64 percent of voters supported Measure C on Super Tuesday, while 36% opposed it. A huge chunk of mail-in ballots have yet to be counted, so the numbers aren’t final yet. Measure C must be approved by two-thirds of voters in order to pass.
The measure aims to increase hotel tax to help fund upgrades to downtown’s San Diego Convention Center, homeless services and road repairs. The current 10.5% tax would increase to 11.75, 12.75, or 13.75%, depending on a hotel's proximity to the convention center.
The measure details say 59% of funds will be for San Diego Convention Center purposes and 41 percent for homelessness programs and services. That's until the fiscal year 2023-2024, when 10% is moved from homelessness to street repairs. If approved, the tax rates could be in effect until at least 2061.
Over its life, if passed, the measure would raise $3.8 billion to expand the San Diego Convention Center, $2 billion for homeless services, and $600 million for road repairs.
Several homeless organizations support Measure C, including Father Joe’s Villages. But opponents say the language of the measure is vague and misguided.
“It basically included homelessness to tug at your heartstrings, to get you to vote for this,” homeless advocate Michael McConnell said. “And it very likely might work, because people don’t want to vote against homelessness funding. But there was a massive misinformation campaign put on by the ‘yes’ side that really left out a lot of important components.”
Measure C does call for a citizens’ overview panel and a yearly audit to make sure more is appropriated correctly. The measure’s biggest proponent has been San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, who has long pushed for the expansion of the San Diego Convention Center.
On Super Tuesday, Faulconer was hoping this would be Measure C’s time.
“A strong showing so far,” Faulconer said, referring to voters in support of the measure. “Because, really, when you look at some of the biggest priorities we’re facing in San Diego – homelessness, roads, growing our economy and expanding our convention center – to see the early returns where they are at, 63%, that’s very encouraging.”
For the voter numbers on Measure C, visit NBC 7’s election results page here or the Registrar of Voters count here. Again, mail-in ballots have not all been counted yet; they will be counted through Friday.