City Council rejects Mayor's last-ditch effort to put convention center issue on the ballot

Posted at 6:26 PM, Aug 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-10 02:33:46-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- The convention center expansion initiative will not make the November ballot even though San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer gave it his best shot.

Faulconer's ballot measure proposal to fund the convention center expansion, get homeless people off the streets and fix roads needed five votes to pass.  It only got 4.

The vote came after Faulconer asked council to convene a special meeting with just 24 hours' notice.  The mayor requested it after learning there weren't enough valid signatures collected to place the measure on the November ballot.

“This was the exact wrong thing to do for our city. 4 members of the city council put politics over progress," said a disappointed Faulconer after the meeting.  Faulconer said he will continue to fight for the issues he said are priorities for the people of San Diego.  He did not say how he would continue to fight, or whether the bi-partisan coalition that supported the measure would try to put it on the ballot in the future.

David Alvarez was one of the 4 council members who voted against putting the measure on the ballot.  “This is the Mayor’s failure, and he wants excuses to cover for his failure," said Alvarez.

“The mayor chose to bring this to us very last minute. He bet that through the special interests that put millions of dollars in his campaign, they could put it on their own, they didn’t care what the public had to say then, but when it failed, now they come to the public." Alvarez said the mayor wanted to waive the rules to get what he wanted.

The measure, supported by a coalition called Yes! For a Better San Diego, would have used a tourist tax to raise $6.4-billion.  Two-thirds of that money would have gone to the convention center expansion and operation, the rest was earmarked to help the homeless and improve roads.

Yes! For a Better San Diego hired a company to collect the signatures it needed to get the measure on the ballot, but they didn't appear to have enough verified signatures to do so.  The deadline to get those signatures is tomorrow.

Yes! For a Better San Diego now plans to sue the signature gatherer, Arno Petition Consultants, for breach of contract and fraudulent practices.