Published April 2, 2019
SAN DIEGO, CA — More than 25 voting-rights, civil-rights, social-justice, labor and community organizations sent a letter today to the San Diego City Council urging its members to honor the will of voters and refrain from placing local ballot measures on the March 2020 primary election.
In 2016, two-thirds of San Diego voters (66%) passed Measure L to limit local citizens’ initiatives to November general elections when the most people vote. A majority of the voters in every single city council district supported Measure L. Since then, there have been several unsuccessful attempts to defy the will of voters for political gain by scheduling special elections when fewer people vote.
Now the proponents of a citizens’ initiative to increase the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) to fund a Convention Center Expansion seek to have the initiative placed on the March 2020 primary ballot, just eights months before the November general election. The signatories of this letter are not taking a position on the initiative, but rather on the question of when it comes to the voters. While the TOT measure is an important issue facing the city, it does not constitute the urgent circumstances that would justify the city council bypassing the will of the voters in Measure L to decide issues in November general elections, when the most people vote.
The City council will review the latest proposal in the coming weeks.
Andrea Guerrero, Executive Director of Alliance San Diego Mobilization Fund, the organization that sponsored Measure L, issued the following statement:
“We stand with over 25 organizations to urge city councilmembers to respect the will of voters and schedule local ballot measures in the November general election when the most people are engaged on the issues and the most people vote. It is what voters asked for when they passed Measure L.
Although Measure L does recognize the need to act in times of urgency and place a measure on an earlier ballot, there is no demonstrated urgency here. The TOT tax measure already has a place secured in the November 2020 ballot. We must not mistake political expediency for public urgency. That’s why the City Council must respect the will of the voters and defend Measure L.”
Formed in 2016, Alliance San Diego Mobilization Fund (ASDMF) is a California non-profit public benefit corporation formed under IRS section 501(c)(4). ASDMF seeks to expand the opportunity for all San Diego residents, especially marginalized residents, to reach their full potential by increasing their participation in our democracy, our economy, and our society. To advance our mission, we are engaging in voter education and policy advocacy.