Mayor Faulconer: ‘Line item veto exists to make sure we do the right thing’

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — The city council dealt the mayor a body blow Monday night by stripping funds for a special election from his budget.

The mayor has promised to restore that $5 million by exercising his line item veto as early as Wednesday. Then what?

The council will have five business days to attempt an override of that veto and may vote on Monday or Tuesday, when council decides whether to put the mayor’s Convention Center expansion on the November ballot.

When the vote to override the mayor’s veto comes before the council next week, it will take six votes to override. If the four Republicans vote in lock step with their mayor, the override will fail. 

" … a line item veto exists to make sure that we can do the right thing to have that checks and balances," Mayor Faulconer write in a statement.

Three Republicans did vote for the budget that stripped the funding, including Mark Kersey who said you can’t kill the entire budget over a $5 million item.

"I did not view it as an up or down was going to determine a special election or not because we do have checks and balances at city hall and that’s a pretty big one," Kersey said.

The lone Republican "no" vote was Scott Sherman, who said labor pressured their allies on the council to deny funding unless there’s a project labor agreement.

"The union bosses put pressure on the union puppets down at city hall, and they did their bidding. We saw the protest outside. All the unions, and they’re saying look if you’re gonna build this it has to have a project labor agreement, it has to be union built or we’re gonna kill it," Sherman said.

A veto means the Republicans restore the $5 million and gives the mayor a win in this battle with the council.

But the mayor could still lose the war on his Convention Center expansion going to the ballot this November.

That will take five votes when council takes this up next week. The Republicans have only four. If they can’t get one Democrat to join them, the council could either kill his ballot measure or put it on the ballot in 2018.

A frustrated mayor said the council has been on record as supporting expansion, including money for homeless programs, and roads. Now, they want to kick the can down the road.

"No, we’re gonna try to back door our way into not moving forward on some very important civic priorities," Mayor Faulconer said.

If the veto is sustained, the question for the council becomes when do the voters get to vote on expansion and SoccerCity? In 2017 or 2018? 

Again, the Convention Center expansion issue will come before council Monday or Tuesday, the SoccerCity question comes a week later on June 19. 

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