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San Diego Sets Special Election Date For District 4

The election to replace former City Council President Tony Young will take place on March 26. The council unanimously approved the date at its meeting Monday afternoon. The election will not be consolidated with a state special election in the same area that will be held March 12. Combining the elections could have saved San Diego $100,000, but council members felt it didn’t give potential candidates enough time.

San Diego will hold a special election at the end of March to replace former City Council President Tony Young. But the election is raising a couple sticky issues.

Photo credit: City of San Diego

The new San Diego City Council District 4.

Additionally, the council did not change a local law that prevents neighborhoods added to the district after redistricting from voting in the special election. The law requires the election be based on the 2010 district boundaries, not the current lines. That means the communities of Redwood Village and Rolando Park can not take part in the upcoming election. But Deputy City Attorney Sharon Spivack said the issue goes beyond local control.

"The charter, the municipal code, state law, California Supreme Court opinions, and Constitutional law all support the fact that actually the voters in the old District 4 are considered to be the one whose rights would be violated if the boundaries were to be changed in the middle of an existing term," she said.

Spivack said the city faced a similar situation in 1991. In that case, the City Council tried to use new district lines for an election, was sued and ordered to use the old lines instead.

Young resigned his seat on January 1 to take over the local chapter of the American Red Cross. The city has 90 days from the date of his resignation to hold a special election. If no candidate wins outright, the city must hold a run-off election within 49 days.

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