SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Saying he didn't see the need for a temporary restraining order, a San Diego judge on Wednesday scheduled oral arguments Friday in a lawsuit aimed at keeping a proposed half-cent sales tax off the November ballot.
The attorney for anti-tax activists Richard Rider and Stephen Cicero told Superior Court Judge David Oberholtzer that the TRO was needed to keep Proposition D off the ballot, until its constitutionality is decided.
Assistant City Attorney Don Worley said the plaintiffs made no showing that the tax measure should be kept off the ballot.
The judge said he would decide the matter on Friday, a week before the Sept. 3 deadline for such a ruling.
The proposed tax hike, placed on the ballot by the City Council, would raise an estimated $103 million a year for the city, which is projected to have a $72 million budget shortfall during the next fiscal year.
The proposition calls for the tax hike once 10 so-called "reform" measures are implemented, some concerning the city's retirement system.
Oberholtzer said he didn't think the voters were being asked to decide anything administrative. He said there was nothing false about the ballot statement.
He said he wasn't sure if the ballot statement was misleading and wondered if voters would be skeptical about where the sales tax revenue would go.
"I think that the judge needs some convincing in some other areas, but I think that the judge is showing that he has an open mind, and that he's interested and involved in the case, and I think that's all we need to win," said Edward Teyssier, the lead attorney for the plaintiffs.
The ballot title includes the phrase "essential services," which would make voters believe the tax hike will pay for police and fire protection, when the revenue would go to the city's general fund, said Rider, president of San Diego Tax Fighters.
Rider said Proposition D needs a simple majority to pass on Nov. 2 because it is a general tax. If the revenue was going toward "special uses," it would need a two-thirds margin to pass.
A second lawsuit challenging Proposition D was filed in San Diego Superior Court today.
The lawsuit, brought by former City Council candidate and Republican activist April Boling, challenges the fiscal impact analysis prepared for Proposition D, arguing that it is "not impartial, not accurate and misleads the public."
The fiscal analysis, prepared by Mayor Jerry Sanders' office, projects savings of $3.5 million to $428 million over five years if Proposition D is passed and all 10 fiscal reforms linked to the measure are implemented.
Cal Fire is at the scene of a wildfire burning off State Route 94 near Church Road in the Campo Indian Reservation.
A small plane crashed Saturday evening near the El Capitan Reservoir, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department confirmed.
Backers of an initiative that would allow San Diego State University to buy the SDCCU Stadium site in Mission Valley for campus expansion are scheduled to begin seeking petition signatures Saturday.
Friends and relatives of a couple whose bodies were found in Joshua Tree National Park say they believe the two got lost while hiking in the sprawling desert park and struggled in the searing heat with little food or water before they died in a "sympathetic murder-suicide."
Sunshine and higher temperatures are making the return to San Diego County Saturday after intermittent drizzle across the region on Friday.
President Donald Trump is portraying the Islamic State group's ouster from its Syrian stronghold as a milestone in the U.S. fight against terrorism and a step toward a political transition and lasting peace in Syria.
The San Diego Police Department announced Saturday that officers will step up pedestrian safety enforcement operations.
The San Diego Gulls allowed power-play and shorthanded goals in the first period and an empty-net goal in the third in a 4-2 loss to the Stockton Heat Friday night at Stockton.
Authorities asked the public Friday for help in identifying and tracking down a pair of thieves who have carried out a two-week series of bank robberies this month in the San Diego area.