Citizens' Plan could fall short of signatures needed to qualify - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Citizens' Plan could fall short of signatures needed to qualify for the ballot

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A more thorough count is needed to determine if a proposed ballot measure that would direct the future of the tourism industry in San Diego will qualify for the ballot, City Clerk Elizabeth Maland announced Friday.

A random sampling of nearly 102,000 signatures in support of the Citizens Plan for San Diego over the past 30 days resulted in a projection that the number of those valid would fall close to the needed 66,500 or so.

Maland said the projection was between 95 percent and 110 percent, meaning the proposed measure could either qualify or fail. The county Registrar of Voters Office now has until July 12 to go over each individual signature, she said.

The initiative would raise hotel room taxes by 5 percent to 15.5 percent, prohibit a waterfront expansion of the San Diego Convention Center and encourage an expansion of San Diego State University and UC San Diego onto the Qualcomm Stadium site.

The measure also would require voter approval of any public funds that would be spent on building a downtown stadium for the Chargers, and support the creation of parkland along the San Diego River.

In a scathing opinion released last month, City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said the Citizens Plan would bring "significant risk" to the city.

Among other things, Goldsmith pointed to what he called a "poison pill" provision that says if a section is ruled invalid in court and appeals are exhausted, the rest of the initiative will be invalid. He said a poison pill was unusual and could bring financial risk to the city in the event of litigation.

Goldsmith identified six areas of the Citizens Plan that could be legally questionable.

In his 25-page opinion, Goldsmith also said the initiative could violate the single-subject rule, which limits ballot measures and laws to one issue.

Lawyer Cory Briggs, who drafted the initiative along with former Councilwoman Donna Frye, told City News Service in April that Goldsmith "is wrong, period."

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