Is the SDSU West initiative illegal?

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — San Diego City Councilman Scott Sherman says the “SDSU West” initiative, sponsored by “Friends of San Diego State for Mission Valley,” may be illegal.

Sherman said the initiative may have violated the education code. If so, the council’s vote to send it to voters may also have been illegal.

Related Link: What’s in a name? Why SDSU West’s title may violate education codes

Why has this come up now? Sherman said it came up in a conversation with a friend who dealt with similar issues at UCSD. His job was to reign in people illegally using the UCSD name.

The title of the initiative reads “SDSU West Campus Research Center, Stadium and River Park initiative.”

Sherman said using the SDSU initials is a violation of the education code.

” … which says nobody without permission shall use San Diego State, San Diego State University, SDSU for any political fundraising,” Sherman said.

Kim Kilkenney is with the Friends of San Diego State, which sponsored the initiative. He had just come from an event where he and Sherman separately addressed the Lincoln Club.

“The material that he passed out has San Diego State’s logo and San Diego State’s name on political material. Are we suggesting this is illegal? No, because it’s a silly issue,” Kilkenney said.

Sherman also said the initiative sponsors are using the name to raise funds, and that may be a campaign violation. He sent a letter to the city attorney asking for a legal opinion.

He said the city, those who circulated the petition, and those who donated funds may be subject to fines under government codes.

Related Link: Former city attorney talks about SDSU West initiative

“It says anybody who is guilty of this is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable up to a $1,000 fine, so does that mean everybody who signed is guilty of a misdemeanor anybody who has donated?” Sherman asked.

“Our attorneys have looked at his letter and have concluded that it’s a non-issue. … Our attorneys are comfortable with the title and the name of our steering committee,” Kilkenney said. “It’s a distraction. He’d rather attack our campaign on silly issues than talk about the merits, and the merits are how best to use that site.”

Sherman goes on to say using the SDSU initiatives is misleading to voters because it implies it’s a San Diego State initiative, not a citizens initiative.

Kilkenney said this is of no concern to voters.

“What they’re concerned about is how the city of San Diego disposes of one of its most valuable assets,” he said.

Then why not simply remove the SDSU name from the title?

“Our initiative is filed. It’s a done deal, so that’s not an option,” Kilkenney said.

Categories: Local San Diego News