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Community Leaders Protest Against Special Elections

June 15, 2017

By Ana Gomez Salcido

A broad coalition of community leaders rallied outside the San Diego City Administration Building on Monday, June 12, to protest against special elections.

The City Council had a meeting scheduled to consider whether to call a special election for November 7 for San Diegans to vote on a hotel room tax increase known as the Transit Occupancy Tax ballot measure to pay for an expansion and renovation of the convention center, street repairs and programs for the homeless.

“We are here to stop an special election for this year. Voters made it clear last year by approving Measure L that they want important measures to be voted in the General Election. The General Election is going to be in 2018,” said Andrea Guerrero, director of Alliance San Diego, to La Prensa San Diego.

Measure L, which passed in 2016 by 66 percent of voters, says that local measures should be held in the November general election when the most people vote, and not in special elections.

“In special elections, only a fraction of the voters show up at the polls because the community is not informed. The City of San Diego doesn’t have the money to advertise the special elections. The only people that has the means to inform the voters are the special interests; they decide which voters to inform, which are the ones that are going to vote for them,” Guerrero said. “Special elections are not fair. This is not how democracy works. Democracy works better when the majority of the community is participating, which always happens at during general elections.”

Guerrero was one the many people that showed up at the San Diego City Council meeting, to ask the City Council members to stop an special election from happening.
San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer is one of the people in favor of having a special election and was also present at the City Council meeting.

“I urged you to not take away the decision from your constituents of an special election on November 7 to vote on an increase on a hotel room tax increase,” said the San Diego Mayor to the City Council members. “Do not tell San Diegans that you know was best for them and have their voices still count. Trust the public to make the call. Let the people decide this year.”

After hearing the public comments, the City Council voted 5-4 not to schedule the Transit Occupancy Tax ballot measure on November 7.

On June 19, the City Council is scheduled to again decide the timing of a public vote for SoccerCity, another project proposed for the site that currently houses Qualcomm Stadium in Mission Valley.

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