$5 million in San Diego funds in limbo due to city council decision

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The San Diego City Council failed Tuesday to override Mayor Kevin Faulconer's action last week to restore $5 million in special election funding to the budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

The mayor included the money in his original $3.6 billion budget proposal, with the possibility that two major items would go before voters this fall -- his now-delayed plan to raise hotel room taxes to pay for expansion of the convention center and also fund homeless programs and road repairs; and an initiative regarding the proposed "SoccerCity" redevelopment of the Qualcomm Stadium property in Mission Valley.

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The city council, opposed to holding votes on the two questions this year, redirected the $5 million into other areas. Faulconer subsequently restored the special election funding, which he has the power to do, and slashed the office budgets of council members Barbara Bry and Chris Ward.

On Monday, however, the council rejected the idea of holding a special election in the first place, so the impact of the panel's override is less on funding a public vote and more on where the $5 million will end up.

 "With his vindictive veto, the Mayor corrupted the city's civil budget process wit the petty partisanship seen in Washington, D.C. - not San Diego," said Councilman David Alvarez after Tuesday's override failure.  "Unfortunately, a minority of the city council were too afraid to stand up to the Mayor.  This demonstrates the clear need for a City Charter Amendment that protects the balance between a strong council-strong mayor form of government."

SoccerCity project manager Nick Stone discussed the status of his proposal to redevelop Qualcomm Stadium Tuesday after the vote not to hold a November 2017 special election.

"The only real choice where you actually respect as many voices as possible is to actually have a special election," he said. "It's very frustrating to hear an argument for we're somehow disrespecting the will of the voters to vote and having that actually inherently kill the project." 

Still, Stone said FS Investors will put up a good fight on Monday. 

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