San Diego Government Officials Lies—Again—About Tax Measure-Caught

Maybe it is something in the air or water.  It could be its closeness to Mexico, a chaotic and corrupt country.  Whatever the cause, government officials do not know or want to tell the truth about  tax measures put before the people.  In 2004 SANDAG lied about the use of billions in bonds for infrastructure—only to come to in a decade later when they had to admit almost none of the money was spent  properly and most of the projects were not started or could not be completed without more money.  The people told government liars to shove it and said NO to more money for a corrupt agency.

“At issue is the measure’s condensed description, as approved for the ballot. It reads:

Hotel Visitor Tax Increase for Convention Center Expansion, Homelessness Programs, Street Repairs. Shall the measure be adopted to: increase the City of San Diego’s 10.5% hotel visitor tax by 1.25 to 3.25 percentage points, depending on hotel location, through at least 2061, designated to fund convention center expansion, modernization, promotion and operations, homelessness services and programs, and street repairs; and authorize related bonds; with a citizens’ oversight committee and audits by the independent City Auditor?

The lawsuit identifies four violations of state law. The summary statement does not include, for instance, the annual sum raised by the hotel tax, the complaint states. The description also refers to an “independent city auditor,” which the suit alleges inappropriately suggests, “oversight that is both rigorous and reliable — when the measure would instead just allow the city to oversee its own use of the taxpayer revenue generated by the measure.”

In a statement, City Attorney Mara Elliott defended the ballot language. “We stand by the fairness of the ballot question, which must describe a complex citizens’ initiative in 75 words that are easily understood and not misleading to voters,” she said.

Gee, only four violations of State law?  Why is this measure going forward?  Why hasn’t anyone been fired?  Why hasn’t anyone been arrested for corruption?  Until this is sorted out and those responsible are only allowed to pick up trash—in orange jump suits—should this be discussed again.  Shame on San Diego government for lying.  Sadly, they are bad liars and got easily caught.

Second lawsuit alleges hotel tax ballot description is biased

New complaint, supported by Alliance San Diego, alleges city officials left out key details in the measure’s description

By Jennifer Van Grove, San Diego Union Tribune,   12/12/19 

A proposed hotel tax measure that would increase levies to fund a convention center expansion, services for the homeless and road repairs will be presented to San Diego voters in March in a way that violates state law because its description favors a “Yes” vote, according to a second lawsuit filed against the city.

The latest complaint, filed Wednesday by a voter plaintiff who is on the board of the civic engagement group Alliance San Diego, echoes a similar challenge from San Diegans for Open Government and questions the legality of the summary text that will appear on ballots. It alleges city officials, in drafting the description, have not only left out key details required by election code but have also included misleading statements around future oversight.

The suit is asking a San Diego Superior Court judge to prevent the registrar of voters from putting the language, as written, on the ballot.

“State election law protects voter rights by requiring City Council to adopt a ballot question that is impartial, accurate and honest. And, in this instance, the ballot question … is none of those things,” said Andrea Guerrero, who is the executive director of Alliance. The organization, she said, has not taken a position on the merits of the measure itself, although the group had previously pushed for the matter to be considered by voters in November. “When City Council flagrantly violates state law that is intended to protect the voters, we must stop that.”

Marketed as the, “Yes! For a Better San Diego” initiative, the measure proposes to increase the local lodging tax by 1.25 to 3.25 percentage points, depending on how close hotels are to downtown San Diego. If approved by a two-thirds majority of city voters, the measure would set aside nearly $3.5 billion to expand the convention center, $1.8 billion to address homelessness and $551 million for road repairs over a 42-year period.

Last month, City Council voted in a split decision to place the citizen’s initiative on the March 2020 ballot, approving the language that is now under fire.

“The measure has such broad community support that this small cadre of opponents has apparently given up even trying to persuade voters and instead has resorted to suing to try to get their way,” said Rachel Laing, spokeswoman for the campaign in support of the measure.

At issue is the measure’s condensed description, as approved for the ballot. It reads:

Hotel Visitor Tax Increase for Convention Center Expansion, Homelessness Programs, Street Repairs. Shall the measure be adopted to: increase the City of San Diego’s 10.5% hotel visitor tax by 1.25 to 3.25 percentage points, depending on hotel location, through at least 2061, designated to fund convention center expansion, modernization, promotion and operations, homelessness services and programs, and street repairs; and authorize related bonds; with a citizens’ oversight committee and audits by the independent City Auditor?

The lawsuit identifies four violations of state law. The summary statement does not include, for instance, the annual sum raised by the hotel tax, the complaint states. The description also refers to an “independent city auditor,” which the suit alleges inappropriately suggests, “oversight that is both rigorous and reliable — when the measure would instead just allow the city to oversee its own use of the taxpayer revenue generated by the measure.”

In a statement, City Attorney Mara Elliott defended the ballot language. “We stand by the fairness of the ballot question, which must describe a complex citizens’ initiative in 75 words that are easily understood and not misleading to voters,” she said.

A separate complaint, lodged last month by public interest lawyer Cory Briggs, makes similar assertions and is scheduled to be heard on an emergency basis next week.

About Stephen Frank

Stephen Frank is the publisher and editor of California Political News and Views. He speaks all over California and appears as a guest on several radio shows each week. He has also served as a guest host on radio talk shows. He is a fulltime political consultant.

Comments

  1. As hard as it is to believe the homeless predicament of a large percentage of the population is fast becoming the biggest problem facing local governments. When you consider that 50% of people are just one missed paycheck away from being down and out it is sobering. I hear about things being done and money being allocated for the homeless peoples but I am having a problem seeing results.The longer this problem lays dormant the bigger it becomes. Someday soon it will reach overwhelming proportions and will affect those of us who haven’t missed a paycheck as of yet.

  2. As long as the State of Calif. invites illegals and the City of San Diego refuses to work to stop the flow there will be increasing homeless.

    What are the principles being debated here? How about abuse of power by Democrats, and refusal to demand if you want welfare you have to work for it? The homeless when getting handouts realize to have them they will have to work will soon get it. Then numbers will then drop.

    The visitor center is a can of worms and the alternative transportation that was suppose to increase use failed.

    San Diego Socialists have failed, as have the majority in Sacramento.

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