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Bid To Delay Vote On Strong Mayor Fails

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Aired 2/4/10

A bid to delay a public vote on San Diego city’s strong mayor form of government has failed. Residents of the city of San Diego will vote this June on a measure asking if they want to make the strong mayor form of government permanent or let it die at the end of the year.

A bid to delay a public vote on San Diego city’s strong mayor form of government failed yesterday in a city sub committee.

Residents of the city of San Diego will vote this June on a measure asking if they want to make the strong mayor form of government permanent or let it die at the end of the year.

The experiment began in 2005 after voters approved Prop F in 2004. It creates a separation of powers at the city, with the council serving as the legislative body and the mayor as the chief executive. Previously the mayor had been a member of the council and the city manager was the chief executive officer.

This summer’s ballot measure would also authorize a ninth council district, which would break tie votes. Plus it would change the number of council votes needed to break a mayoral veto from five to six.

Councilman Kevin Faulconer, a supporter of the strong mayor system, wants to see it go to the voters, even though they’ve only had a chance to see it working under one mayor, Jerry Sanders.

“I believe it’s best if we let voters decide and come to a conclusion whether they want to reauthorize it,” Faulconer said, “no matter who the mayor is, no matter who he or she is in the future.”

The League of Women Voters proposed a second June ballot measure to delay the decision for another four years, to give voters more time to see how it works.

But Kevin Casey of the mayor’s office argued against putting two measures on the ballot.

“The mayor believes that this measure is actually a strategy to sink strong mayor by confusing voters,” he told the council's Rules Committee.

Council President Ben Hueso said it’s best to go ahead with a single measure in June so the city can decide how to proceed, “to make sure we don’t confuse the voters and we get a specific response whether they want to continue with this or not. And if they don’t, we can follow up with another proposition.”

Councilman Todd Gloria said there are aspects of the charter change he would like to see altered.

The full city council will vote in two weeks on what to put on the ballot.

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