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San Diego Measures Tackle Marijuana Tax, Probationary Periods, Ousting Elected Officials

October 17, 2016 1:08 p.m.

San Diego Measures Tackle Marijuana Tax, Probationary Periods, Ousting Elected Officials

GUESTS:

Sherri Lightner, council president, city of San Diego

Mark Kersey, councilman, city of San Diego

Related Story: San Diego Measures Tackle Marijuana Tax, Probationary Periods, Ousting Elected Officials

Transcript:

This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

This is KPBS Midday Edition. I'm Maureen Cavanaugh. It's an alphabet soup facing voters. The city has put up measures see -- San Diego Council president Sherri Lightner and Mark Kersey who support these measures are here to talk about them. Sherri Lightner, measure E addresses the issue that sparked the charter reform. It asks if the charter should add a procedure for removing elective officials. The city realized need for this change after former Mayor Bob Fuller was accused of sexual harassment. We discovered the city has limited options for removing elected officials. Can you tell us what those options are?
Largely it's a recall effort and as we saw with Mister Filner, it was a negative the city -- publicity and political pressure.
Had not chosen to step aside it would've been difficult for the city to Forsan. How does Measure E change that?
It asks many questions. One way is dereliction of duty. There are specific parameters called out in the charter, for that.
Voters are being asked to look at Measure E and decide whether or not to change the city charter to reflect these options for the removal of elected officials. Has counsel put in safeguards, to make sure these options aren't abused?
We have. That was a key concern with making the process more streamlined. We hope to never have to go through that. We wanted something where the Council have the option to put the question to the voters. Not to be used as a political tool, or for retribution or H. It takes a three-quarter vote of these pseudo-Council -- city Council. That ensures that you have to get seven of nine council members, it's enough for it not to be abused.
Does it say, who makes the determination if the Mayor would be charged with malfeasance or another option that might make him ineligible to continue his term in office.
It is brought to the Council by the clerks office. It has to be a judicial action. There are other parameters, if you are not mentally competent or you have a physical problem.
There is no formal opposition to Measure E and there is no formal opposition to Measure F. Measure F would shorten probationary period for deputy city attorneys from two years to one year. Why was the longer probationary period causing a problem?
It has to do with retention. Two years is a long time for a probationary period most places it is six months to year. I think a year is rather long. The whole idea is for retention. We will know within a very short time and two years is too long to keep someone on tenterhooks.
Measure N is a tax proposal that would tax businesses selling marijuana. Tell us the specifics of Measure N.
It arose out of the fact that we have prop 64 legalizing recreational marijuana. This is something the rest of the cities in the state have been working on and are concerned about, when it became clear the effort would go through. My concern is that the way it is laid out, there is a tax that the state will impose on recreational marijuana, very little if any, will make its way to the city. When you look at the fact that most impact will be felt by the legalization of recreational marijuana is going to occur at the local level, law enforcement, fire rescue, legal services, we put together Measure N to impose a 5% tax on the sale of recreational marijuana, here in the city. It would go up to eight go up to 8% after the first two years. We aren't looking to use that to do road repair, it is making sure the budget is protected, so we aren't shifting resources away from things like road repair and towards the impacts of legalized marijuana.
This only goes into effect if the citizens vote direct way -- to support proposition 64.
In the event that it does we want to make sure the city is ready.
Measure N has a maximum rate of 15% . There is opposition to this proposal, it could encourage the illegal sale of legal marijuana. How do you make sure that doesn't happen?
That was the fine line we were trying to what, making sure we were going to cover the city costs enough that we could do what needs to be done, while not putting it in a position where we are enhancing the black market. We work with the industry on what they felt was an appropriate level and what we felt was appropriate. I think we've gotten there. I don't think 5% tax, you won't see people driving to another jurisdiction or going to the black market to save 5%. We don't want the text to be too high.
The Citizen dependent budget analyst estimates that tax could raise $22 million in its first year and $35 million in the second year. The money is going to the city's general fund, which does fund police and compliance, how can we be sure that money is used to regulate and provide for the cost of the new industry?
That will be up to future mayors and councils. Some have described the general fund as a black hole. We pay for police and fire and medical services from that fund. That is where we thought it appropriate to put the money. Some have said why don't you dedicate it to law enforcement. We don't know exactly what the percentage of income -- impact will be. Rather than trying to predict that, we thought we will put it in the general fund and future mayors will be accountable for how it is spent. If voters don't like it they should take action at the polls. Giving future councils the adaptability to change these.
I've been speaking with San Diego Council President, Sherri Lightner, Councilman Marc Percy. You can find information on all the measures on the San Diego ballot on our website at on our website@KPBS.org/news/election.