While Cleveland sues itself in a mockery of jurisprudence to get out of public oversight of its NBA arena subsidy plan, the San Diego city council is trying to avoid a proposed public referendum on an MLS soccer stadium (as well as one for a convention center expansion) for different reasons — it wants the vote delayed a year to give more time to figure out what the heck is being voted on — and by different means — the council just up and refused to put money for staging the referendum in the city budget:
Councilwoman Barbara Bry, who chairs the council budget committee, introduced a budget resolution stripping out the $5 million election cost, saying the two measures should wait until the November 2018 general election.
“I want to see a well-crafted measure on the November 2018 ballot,” Bry said, referring to the convention center measure that would increase the hotel room tax that would also fund street improvement and homeless programs. She also prefers a delay on SoccerCity to give time for competing plans to be considered…
But Mayor Kevin Faulconer immediately vowed to veto the council’s action.The mayor has until June 13 to modify the budget as he sees fit, and the council would need six votes to override.
“A City Council majority is supporting the unprecedented step of blocking a public election by stripping funding from the budget,” Faulconer said in a statement. “This short-sighted move results in denying the public a vote and getting nothing accomplished for our city. I intend to use my veto authority to restore the special election funding, while still retaining the added funding for our police, so the City Council can take an up-or-down vote on these urgent ballot measures.”
All this is very exciting, and means exactly squat, so far as I can tell, since the council still needs to vote a week from Monday on whether to put the soccer stadium plan on the November ballot. They could change their minds by then, of course, but given that they just voted overwhelmingly against holding a vote this fall even after MLS deputy commissioner Mark Abbott warned them last week that if the vote is delayed to 2018 it could cost San Diego an expansion franchise (this round of expansion, anyway), that doesn’t seem too likely. Unless, of course, some councilmembers are just trying to induce Mayor Faulconer to haggle more. Gosh, representative democracy is fun!