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SANDAG Tax Measure Opponents File Lawsuit

Photo caption:

Photo by Associated Press

Traffic on a San Diego freeway is shown in this file photo, Nov. 22, 2011.

Opponents of Measure A, which would hike San Diego County's sales tax by a half-cent to fund infrastructure projects, announced on Tuesday that they've filed a lawsuit challenging the accuracy of supporters' ballot statements.

It's the second court action involving the veracity of local ballot arguments. A judge said he would rule next week on the statement provided by opponents of Measure B, a planned residential development in the Lilac Hills section of Valley Center.

The San Diego Association of Governments placed Measure A on the ballot, and it has received the blessing of the San Diego County Taxpayers Association. It's opposed by San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, along with some environmental and labor organizations.

"Measure A supporters are playing fast and loose with the facts," said Ricardo Ochoa, legal counsel to the Quality of Life Coalition. "The simple truth is Measure A is deceptive and does more harm than good to San Diego County communities."

The lawsuit alleges that phrases in the argument in favor of Measure A that tout "reducing fares for seniors, students, the disabled and veterans" and improving "water quality by treating polluted runoff" are misleading because nothing in the proposition guarantees that the extra revenue would be used for those purposes.

A petition that lists Gretchen Newsom, political director of the San Diego chapter of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, demands that Registrar of Voters Michael Vu delete the alleged inaccurate statements. The document notes that ballot materials need to go to the printer by Sept. 14.

Vu did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Supporters of Measure A contend it would raise $18 billion over the next several decades to pay for freeway improvements, surface street repairs and mass transit projects.

In the Measure B case, opponents said every word of their ballot statement and rebuttal was taken from the county's analysis of the proposition or statements by the developer, Accretive Investments. Real estate broker Paul Schumann of Fallbrook is listed as the plaintiff in the lawsuit filed last week.

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