Friday, August 8, 2008
This is especially true when experts and leaders don't see an end in sight to our economic downturn, and when the governor is looking for a sales tax increase and school districts are seeking voter approval for school improvement bonds. It all spells money and that can be a sore subject these days.
So, here's another voter initiative that just made the deadline, but is hitting rough waters. In this case, the Port District approved putting a measure on the ballot to clear the way for a deck to be built on the 10 th Avenue Marine Terminal on port waterfront land. On top of that deck might be hotels, shops, restaurants, even a football stadium that could be converted into a sports arena or convention center expansion. Sounds visionary, doesn't it? But the same port that approved it for the ballot actually doesn't like it at all and has sued the registrar of voters, the clerk of the port, and the initiative's authors to get it off the ballot. The port stipulates that 42,000 maritime workers' jobs could be jeopardized by a development that provides minimum wage tourism jobs. So, although there's no tax involved in this measure, the fight will be about money. It seems strange for the port to waste time and energy voting to place the measure on the ballot and then suing to get it off. But, a port spokesperson told me that with 34,000 petition signatures submitted to the registrar, the port had no choice but to approve what the citizens had initiated once the signature requirement was met.
As I was writing this, I received an email message from Peter Q Davis, former port commission chairman who has served on the San Diego City Pension Board, ran for mayor twice and was chairman-president and CEO of Bank of Commerce for 22 years and a founding director of Torrey Pines Bank. With this wealth of background in business and civic affairs, this is his take on the Port District's lawsuit:
So the Port will be using Public funds (To hire a LA Law Firm) to sue the County who will be using Public funds to defend its official and her actions.
So we have the Port creating a situation where public funds will be used to prosecute and also to defend a lawsuit against, giving the public the right to decide, the public use of a public asset.
Doesn't anyone else think maybe the port has lost its "Bearings" (to use a nautical term"?
At this point, there are still 24 hours left until the deadline. We'll see what other ballot initiatives you may or may not get to vote on.