Election 2010: City Propositions - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Election 2010: City Propositions

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - City officials Wednesday were facing the prospect of deep budget cuts next fiscal year, thanks to voters' rejection of a proposition that would have raised the sales tax in San Diego by a half-cent.

Proposition D would have raised the sales tax in San Diego from 8.75 cents to 9.25 cents and generated about $102 million annually for the city's general fund.

Mayor Jerry Sanders has projected a budget shortfall for San Diego of $72 million next fiscal year.

"The voters have spoken," Sanders said in conceding Proposition D's failure. "While I am disappointed in the outcome, I respect their decision and I will do everything in my power to implement the outcome in a way that minimizes the impact on residents of San Diego."

Councilman Carl DeMaio, who led the opposition, said he was thrilled with the outcome of the vote.

"By defeating Prop. D, San Diegans have issued a mandate for reform and change in city government," DeMaio said.

Proposition D was linked to 10 reform benchmarks -related to city pensions, retiree health care obligations and outsourcing. Four of those changes have already been adopted by the San Diego City Council.

Supporters of Proposition D argued the new revenue was needed to maintain and restore city services, including public safety.

Opponents accused Sanders and other proponents of using scare tactics to frighten the public into voting for the tax increase by threatening public safety cuts.

They insist the budget gap could be closed by eliminating wasteful spending at City Hall, overhauling the pension system and streamlining municipal finances.

DeMaio said he plans to release a plan on Friday to close the city's fiscal year 2012 budget shortfall without cuts to police and fire services.

"With these results, with the rejection of Proposition D, it is now time for the mayor and City Council to put aside all differences and work together as a team to implement reforms in the city's budget, reforms in the city's pensions, implement managed competition and do the things that are necessary to move our city past this crisis," DeMaio told KUSI.

To help close the anticipated spending shortfall, city departments have proposed laying off firefighters, instituting more "brownouts" of fire engine companies, the loss of 169 sworn police officers, closing libraries or trimming hours of operation, shuttering recreation centers and pools and less park maintenance.

Councilwoman Donna Frye, who was key in getting Proposition D on the ballot, said the vote was a "disappointment."

"We put together a plan," Frye said. "We put together the best plan we could put together to try and figure out a way to once and for all to resolve the city's financial problems."

The other propositions on the ballot in San Diego fared better than Proposition D.

Proposition B, which would amend the city charter to require that "good cause" be established before a deputy city attorney, who has served for at least two years, could be suspended or terminated was approved by 73.5 percent of San Diego voters.

The measure was put on the ballot largely in response to the tenure of former City Attorney Michael Aguirre, who fired or forced out dozens of deputy city attorneys when he took office.

Proposition C, which would allow for the completion of the Pacific Highlands Ranch development in Carmel Valley, was approved by headed for approval with 71 percent of voters.

When it was first approved by voters in 1998, restrictions were placed on the development until a freeway interchange from southbound Interstate 5 to state Route 56 has been completed, something Caltrans says won't happen until at least 2020.

This is an update. The original story is below.

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Voters in San Diego will decide Tuesday whether to approve a measure that would raise the city's sales tax by a half-cent for the next five years if a series of changes to the city's pension and finances are made first.

If Proposition D is approved, the sales tax in San Diego would go from 8.75 cents to 9.25 cents and generate about $102 million annually for the city's general fund.

Before the tax could be levied, the independent city auditor would have to certify that 10 other benchmarks - related to city pensions, retiree health care obligations and outsourcing - have been met.

Four of those changes have already been adopted by the San Diego City Council.

Supporters of Proposition D argue the new revenue is needed to maintain and restore city services.

Mayor Jerry Sanders has projected a budget shortfall for San Diego of $72 million next fiscal year.

Sanders has cautioned that without added revenue, there will be "draconian" cuts to services, including public safety.

To help close the anticipated spending shortfall, city departments have proposed laying off firefighters, instituting more "brownouts" of fire engine companies, the loss of 169 sworn police officers, closing libraries or trimming hours of operation, shuttering recreation centers and pools and less park maintenance.

"Failure to maintain priority funding for law enforcement and public safety will have direct and irreversible impact on every resident of our city," Brian Marvel, president of the San Diego Police Officers Association, recently told the City Council.

Opponents, led by Councilman Carl DeMaio, accuse Sanders and other proponents of using scare tactics to frighten the public into voting for the tax increase by threatening public safety cuts.

They insist the budget gap could be closed by eliminating wasteful spending at City Hall, overhauling the pension system and streamlining municipal finances.

"This does not end the cycle of cuts, the cycle of coming back and asking for more money from working families," DeMaio said. "It will only perpetuate it."

A recent poll by The San Diego Union-Tribune found that voters in the city are split on Proposition D.

Also on the ballot in San Diego is Proposition B, which would amend the city charter to require that "good cause" be established before a deputy city attorney, who has served for at least two years, could be suspended or terminated.

The measure was put on the ballot largely in response to the tenure of former City Attorney Michael Aguirre, who fired or forced out dozens of deputy city attorneys when he took office.

Proposition C would allow for the completion of the Pacific Highlands Ranch development in Carmel Valley. When it was first approved by voters in

1998, restrictions were placed on the development until a freeway interchange from southbound Interstate 5 to state Route 56 has been completed, something Caltrans says won't happen until at least 2020.

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