Mar 31, 2017
We thought we might have a year to breathe after the great Ballot Measure Blizzard of 2016.
We were wrong. San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer this week submitted his official request to the City Council to put up a special election in November. His primary concern is a hotel-room tax increase to fund the expansion of the Convention Center. The bulk of the money would go to that.
However, it's expected that a much smaller amount would fund road repair and homeless services.
As we discuss in this week's podcast, this seems dangerous. While the Convention Center and streets effort have clear goals, the homeless funding does not. The mayor and council are playing with fire if they push hard for a tax for homeless services without identifiable goals and an exact plan for what the money would fund.
If the new revenue stream passes, but the city doesn't make any significant dent in the homeless crisis playing out in the streets, it could poison future discussions on the need for new tax revenue to alleviate the problem.
The mayor is essentially saying: We know we need a tax increase, we're just not sure what for right now.
Cynically, it almost looks like it's meant to make sure the Convention Center expansion has a better shot. We'll see what the City Council does to clarify things.
It also seems clear that the November ballot will include the SoccerCity plan. The measure would allow a development group to gain control of the city-owned land at Qualcomm Stadium and clear permitting obstacles for a large development of homes, an entertainment district and a riverfront park.
Oh, and a stadium. We previously did an in-depth interview with Nick Stone, one of the leaders of the proposal. We pushed him on a number of the specifics. The group announced this week that it had gathered enough signatures and submitted them to the city for verification.
If they're valid, the city can decide either approve it outright, or give voters the the chance to decide by pushing it to a special election.
It's looking more and more likely that it ends up going to a special election.
On this week's show, we also looked into Attorney General Jeff Sessions' warning to cities about cooperating with federal immigration enforcement efforts and heard out State Sen. Joel Anderson's views on SB 54, the bill law enforcement officers are warning would shield violent offenders from immigration authorities. Here's a different take.
Ever so slowly, we're getting more sophisticated with the podcast. Editing it a little better and sharper. Highlighting sponsors.
Making it a little cleaner. The effort seems to be showing. Downloads are increasing and we're meeting more and more people who value the show.
If you have ideas for guests or topics we should include, email Scott Lewis at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you'd like to sponsor the show and also have your company, event or idea highlighted, email Erin Zlotnik at email@example.com.