San Diego City Council Vote: What you need to know

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — The City Council Monday rejected a plan to conduct a special election for this fall that potentially would have included Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s plan to expand the San Diego Convention Center, along with the proposed SoccerCity redevelopment of the Qualcomm Stadium property in Mission Valley.

The 5-4 vote by the council likely pushes public consideration of those issues to the next regularly scheduled general election in November of next year.

The council had two issues before it — whether to call a special election for this year and whether to place the convention center plan on the ballot. Since the special election was voted down, the convention center question couldn’t be considered.

Mayor Faulconer originally included $5 million in funding for a special election in the budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1, but the money was redirected to other programs by City Council members who preferred to wait until the next regularly scheduled general election, in November 2018.

Timeline of events

“There is nothing more democratic and fair than holding an election so voters can make their voices heard. But the City Council majority has made the irresponsible and politically-driven decision to deny a public vote. Councilmembers who say they share the community’s priorities were given a chance to act, but they chose to do nothing,” Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer said Monday following the vote.

“Our city deserves better than what happened today," the mayor continued. "To every San Diegan bewildered by the Council’s inability to carry out the simple task of calling an election, your disappointment is understandable, but we must move forward. I remain determined to doing what it takes, including working with the community and City Council, to expand our convention center, help our homeless and tackle the civic issues facing our city.”

Mayor Faulconer wants his convention center plan fast tracked to a vote his year since construction costs are increasing and because most legal hurdles have been cleared.

The expansion plan was approved by the City Council six years ago, but the project has been tied up by court challenges since then.

The mayor revived the idea in his January "State of the City” address, proposing to raise San Diego’s hotel room tax to fund the construction project and create a funding stream for homelessness programs and fixing pothole-riddled streets.

San Diego tourism industry leaders contend that the largest trade shows are bypassing the city because the convention center no longer offers enough space. Other cities have for years been trying to lure San Diego’s biggest show, Comic-Con International, out of town.

The mayor’s office estimates that in the first year that $10 million would be raised for both road repairs and homeless programs.

Even if the special election for the convention center plan is approved, the city would still need to acquire the lease for some of the land required for a convention center expansion.

The current leaseholder, Fifth Avenue Landing, is obligated by its contract with the Port of San Diego to build hotels. The port actually owns the property.

Opponents, who contend that a City Charter amendment passed by voters last year requires the convention center vote to go on the November 2018 general election ballot, are scheduled to hold a rally at City Hall beginning at 11 a.m.

The City Council meeting is scheduled for 12 p.m.

The council is scheduled to decide on Monday, June 19 whether to place the proposed "SoccerCity” redevelopment of Qualcomm Stadium in Mission Valley on a special election ballot or delay it until next year.

Categories: Local San Diego News