LOS ANGELES — San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer vetoed changes made to the budget by the City Council that removed funding for two special elections.
The City Council cut $5 million from Faulconer’s proposed $3.6 billion budget on June 5 that would have been used for November special elections for a soccer stadium and convention center expansion.
The mayor responded Friday by using his veto powers to restore funding for the special elections and to make other changes.
The City Council budget proposal had used the $5 million for the special elections to help pay down the $37 million in bond debt on Qualcomm Stadium – the site of a proposed soccer stadium and mixed-use development that would include housing and retail. The mayor’s veto moved the money back to paying for the special election, because, he says, there is already adequate funding to make debt service payments for the next two years.
“The City Council can stand in the way of progress or give voters the chance to create more jobs, fix our roads, reduce homelessness and build a world-class development that will generate millions of dollars for neighborhood services and public safety,” Faulconer said.
The hotel tax proposed by Faulconer for the convention center expansion would also provide ongoing funding for homeless services and street repairs.
The City Council had voted 8-1 for the budget that stripped the funding, but Faulconer said some council members were pressured by political backers to kill funding for the special elections. The City Charter requires a supermajority of the City Council – six of nine votes – to overturn a veto.
Councilman Scott Sherman was the lone dissenting vote on the budget approval, but three other council members have come out in support of the mayor’s veto.
“The Convention Center expansion is a top priority for San Diego’s economic prosperity and I fully support the mayor’s veto authority to grow this economic engine,” Councilwoman Lorie Zapf said.
Councilwoman Barbara Bry, who chairs the Budget Review Committee, said before the council vote stripping money for the special elections that the council was upholding the will of the voters who turned out to support Measure L, which requires citizen’s initiatives and referendum measures to be placed on a general election ballot when voter turnout is significantly higher.
Bry could not be reached for comment on the mayor’s veto.