San Diego

San Diego City Council Votes Against Funding Special Election for SoccerCity, Convention Center Expansion

Monday night, the council approved the overall $3.6 billion budget but voted 8 to 1 to reject funding a $5 million special election in November

The San Diego City Council voted against funding a controversial special election in November from the Fiscal Year 2018 Budget.

That ballot would have included a hotel tax increase, to fund a convention center expansion and increase homeless services. A vote on the SoccerCity plan to re-develop Qualcomm Stadium in Mission Valley would have also been on the special ballot.

The council approved the overall $3.6 billion budget Monday night but voted 8 to 1 to reject funding a $5 million special election in November.

Councilmember David Alvarez (Dist. 8) stated he was happy with the outcome of the vote and called the $5 million special election "unnecessary".

In a statement, Alvarez said:

“I am proud to join my colleagues to pass a balanced budget that fixes the deep flaws in the Mayor’s proposed budget. The Mayor wanted to waste $5 million on an unnecessary special election, even while he proposed deep cuts to the San Diego Police Department. The City Council made a different choice. We reversed the Mayor’s proposed cut to police overtime and added millions more to ensure that we have enough police officers on patrol. We restored funding for arts and culture programs, funded reserves and much needed homeless programs.”

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, who had backed the funding for a special election, also released a statement in response to the vote. 

The statement read: 

“A City Council majority is supporting the unprecedented step of blocking a public election by stripping funding from the budget. This short-sighted move results in denying the public a vote and getting nothing accomplished for our city. The City Council majority wants to make San Diegans wait for more road repairs, wait to address the homeless crisis, wait to bring back tourism jobs, and jeopardize a chance to get a major league sports franchise. I intend to use my veto authority to restore the special election funding, while still retaining the added funding for our police, so the City Council can take an up-or-down vote on these urgent ballot measures. The City Council should not ignore these time-sensitive issues – and give San Diegans the opportunity to vote this year.”

In order to override a mayoral veto, the City Charter requires a supermajority of the City Council, meaning six of nine votes.

Nick Stone, the project manager for Goal SD, the group behind the SoccerCity proposal, also released a statement following the City Council's decision.

Stone wrote in a statement that Goal SD was disappointed with the decision because "it ignores the will of the 112,000 San Diegans who signed our petition and who desperately want the opportunity to vote on SoccerCity this year when it matters."

There will be another vote on whether these initiatives will make it on the ballot.

The City Council will vote on June 12 to put the Convention Center and hotel tax on the general election ballot and on June 19 for the SoccerCity proposal.

Stone added in this statement that Goal SD looked forward to Mayor Faulconer's announced veto on June 19.

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