Ballot Initiatives in the 2010s
1. Measure R: Amending Development Regulations for Beachfront Property
While the initiative would streamline development regulations, the process would also create legal exposure for the City of Del Mar if any of the 28 property owners for whom this policy creates a potential “taking” decide to request the courts to clarify. These very specific decisions are technical issues that ought to be made by policymakers, not at the ballot box. From a governance standpoint, this is an issue that the City Council can clarify through normal legislative activity.
2. Proposition 6: Voter Approval Gas and Vehicle tax
The Association recommends that a voter should support Proposition 6 if he or she is willing to risk infrastructure improvements to signal to lawmakers that the state is inefficient with its dollars and that the tax is regressive.The Association recommends that a voter should oppose Proposition 6 if he or she is willing to take the risk of paying more, on average, for transportation infrastructure and impacting lower- income individuals disproportionately to keep the legislature in charge of setting gasoline taxes while addressing ailing infrastructure immediately.
3. Bonsal Unified School District Bond Measure
Bonsal Union School District’s proposed bond measure meets key provisions of SDCTA’s bond support criteria. SDCTA had originally opposed the bond measure, as the District failed to adopt all of our best practices on August 9th, 2018. The District then went to adopt all specified policies during a special meeting on August 21, 2018. This analysis reflects an updated neutral position.
4. Proposition M: Amendment to City Charter Regarding Appointing a Public Member to the Audit Committee
This measure increases the speed and efficiency of the Audit Committee member reappointment process, which would no longer include finding and qualifying two separate viable candidates for the appointing committee to consider when making their decision and all of the opportunity costs associated with it. SDCTA encourages any attempt to seek opportunities to streamline government processes and maximize efficiency. SDCTA recommends that the City Council put forth another Charter Amendment that moves the process to the Municipal Code.
5. Proposition 10: Affordable Housing Act
Proposition 10 does not address most of rent control measures' adverse effects identified in SDCTA's Rent Control principles.
6. Proposition J: Mandatory Disclosure of Business Amendment
This measure enforces existing law regarding business disclosure, which can help reduce monitoring costs for taxpayers and promote government accountability. SDCTA has supported similar efforts to promote government transparency, such as 2014 Proposition 42.
7. Measure SS: Valley Center Fire Protection
The annual parcel tax would come at a similar cost to that of the recently repealed Cal Fire Prevention fee to fund more permanent full-time firefighters subject to a 401(k)-retirement system rather than to CalPERS. The Valley Center Fire Department has also included proper checks on the use of the tax, oversight and outlined accountability, need, and fiscal responsibility. Fire districts should be prepared to fight observed extreme weather patterns effectively, and an increase in costs and expenses for the provision of fire protection and suppression and emergency medical services have impacted the ability of the District to fund these services and personnel.
8. Charter Amendments regarding Ethics and Compensation for Elected City Officers
The current salaries of elected officers for the City of San Diego are not competitive with those of the private sector or with those of other publicly elected officials throughout California, which poses significant cost increases to the public relating to loss of quality management in the public sector. The proposed amendments remove a potential conflict of interest in regard to officials voting on their own salary and streamlines the benefits and privileges elected officers may or may not receive.
9. National City Rent Control and Community Stabilization Ordinance
The measure would enable subsidization of a small number of individuals at the expense of the vast majority of the housing market. Rent control creates an immediate shortage for mandated low- price housing, encourages landlords to take their rental units off the market, does not incentivize property up-keeping therefore depreciating its value and that of the market, both stifles new construction and enables a takeover for redevelopment, and creates “shadow economies.” SDCTA believes that market place economics, not government controls and bureaucracy, should govern private rents.
10. Del Mar Union School District $186 Million Bond Measure
Del Mar Union School District’s proposed bond measure meets key provisions of SDCTA’s Bond Support Criteria. The District has also been extremely communicative during the bond support application, providing comprehensive submission materials that outline the District’s plans for the bond.
11. San Diego Unified School District Bond Measure
San Diego Unified School District's proposed bond measure does not meet key provisions of SDCTA's Bond Support Criteria, and reasons such as overlapping project lists between bond measures and proposal failing to meet FCI projections, and bond frequency, have been found that would prevent the District from executing the projects outlined in its program.
12. Sweetwater Union High School Bond Measure
Staff recommends OPPOSE, with an option to reconsider if the District’s Board adopts SDCTA’s best practices. It is unclear from the information available and its performance history whether the District has or will adopt SDCTA recommended best practices. The District did not express an intent to adopt these practices on their August 13, 2018 Board meeting, or any other in the future.
13. South Bay Union School District Bond Measure
South Bay Union School District’s proposed bond measure meets key provisions of SDCTA’s Bond Support Criteria, and no reason has been found that would prevent the District from executing the projects outlined in its program.
14. Mountain Empire School District Bond Measure
Mountain Empire Unified School District’s proposed bond measure meets key provisions of SDCTA’s Bond Support Criteria, and the District has demonstrated a clear need for the funds. The application submitted by MEUSD outlines draft budgets and timelines for each of the proposed projects. The descriptions of the projects submitted have been thoroughly vetted, and no reason has been found that would prevent the District from executing the projects.
15. Vista Unified School District Bond Measure
Vista Unified School District’s proposed bond measure meets key provisions of SDCTA’s Bond Support Criteria, including new provisions to help increase transparency, accountability, and responsible fiscal management in the District. The application submitted by VUSD outlines the needs of the District, proposed plans, and draft budgets for each of the proposed projects. The descriptions of the projects submitted have been thoroughly vetted, and no reason has been found that would prevent the District from executing the projects.
16. Carlsbad Unified School District Bond Measure
The District has provided all requested information and has adopted all SDCTA recommended best practices, a No Pay to Play policy, and will make ethics training available. Staff is in communication with the District about the differences between the project lists from Proposition P and the 2018 bond measure for three of its schools that were addressed previously.
17. Santee School District Bond Reauthorization
Santee School District’s proposed bond measure meets key provisions of SDCTA’s Bond Support Criteria, and no reason has been found that would prevent the District from executing the projects outlined in its program. SDCTA supported Proposition R in 2006 which aimed to allow the District to complete its Capital Improvement Program. Due to the economic downturn, Santee School District was unable to meet Education Code requirements for tax rate projections and as such was unable to issue the remaining $15.37 million in Proposition R bond funds. The District has completed all but 4 projects in the program and is likely to acquire additional revenue from land sales. The proposed bond reauthorization is structured in such a way as to maximize taxpayer savings and complete the remaining projects in only three years.
18. Chula Vista Elementary School District Bond Measure
In July 2018, the SDCTA had taken a position of OPPOSE, with an option to reconsider if the District adopted SDCTA-recommended best practices. Since then, the District’s Board has adopted a “No Pay to Play” policy and SDCTA’s School Construction and Professional Services Procurement Best Practices. This analysis reflects the updated position of SUPPORT.
19.Oceanside Sales Tax
The City of Oceanside faces a structural deficit despite maintaining healthy reserve levels, implementing a wide variety of cost-cutting measures to address increasing service costs, and proactively implementing pension reform. This sales tax proposal includes a variety of measures that will help ensure transparency and accountability to Oceanside residents, including identified needs, a specified time limit, and an independent oversight committee which must make a finding that the City has spent funds in accordance with the measure before any renewal of the tax is considered.
20. Measure A: Chula Vista Sales Tax
This general sales tax measure does not include sufficient taxpayer protections. The City is not legally required to spend tax revenues on its Phase I critical public safety needs and the tax will remain in place indefinitely. While revenues from Measure P in 2016 were bonded to help ensure spending on their intended purpose over the long-term, Measure A revenues do not have the same mechanisms for protection. Should the City continue to find itself without the resources necessary to fund its public safety departments, SDCTA encourages Chula Vista to consider another method of funding that might have more taxpayer protections and a more balanced effect on the economy.
21. Proposition 70: Greenhouse Gas Reduction Reserve fund
Proposition 70 adds another layer of legislative hurdles that is inconsistent with the existing budget approval process. Furthermore, a delay in the appropriation of cap-and-trade funds could have negative consequences on the climate-related projects that have been relying on them.
22. Proposition 69: California Transportation and Fees Lockbox Amendment
Proposition 69 provides additional assurances that tax revenues collected to address California’s deteriorating transportation infrastructure are used solely for specific transportation-related purposes. It is important that taxes raised to improve our pavement condition index and repair bridges and other transportation assets are not diverted to other projects. Proposition 69 does not, however, close all possible loopholes to prevent legislators from spending revenue from transportation taxes and fees on purposes other than those specified in the amendment.
23. Proposition 42: Public Information
Proposition 42 clarifies that local government transparency is the legal and financial responsibility of each local government entity. Transparency is crucial to having an accountable government that represents the people. Because local governments and agencies have always been required to comply with transparency mandates, there should be little to no additional cost to taxpayers
1. Measure J: Charter Amendment Regarding Use of Lease Revenue From Mission Bay Park
SDCTA has historically opposed ballot box budgeting, and Measure J would be a continuation of this practice for Mission Bay Park lease revenues established by then-Proposition C in 2008. The Association recognizes the efficiency improvements that Measure J would bring to the current section 55.2 of the City Charter, and also recognizes that Proposition C has allowed the City to save money over nearly a decade to spend on priority projects including deferred maintenance in the parks. However, Measure J would continue to require lease revenue funds to be tied to park improvements for over fifty years, which will tie the hands of City officials for too long in the case of an emergency or other scenarios where the General Fund may need more revenue.
2. Measure HH: National School District Bond Measure
The District indicated to SDCTA that $250M in needs were identified in its Long Range Facilities Master Plan (LRFMP), but this information cannot be verified in the document. The District intends to use new bond funds to complete projects on its project list and expand that list based on the several prioritized projects listed in the LRFMP from its original facilities needs assessment. While the District included provisions for a Citizens Bond Oversight Committee (CBOC) for its Measure N program, the information listed on its website to keep the District accountable for spending is lacking, and detailed program updates are not available. SDCTA could not find a single audit report or detailed progress report listed on the CBOC website. However, the District did provide a Measure N 2015 audit report to SDCTA upon request. Because the District has legitimate need for the funds, SDCTA is neutral on Measure HH and urges the District to be more thorough in making all relevant oversight documentation available to the public so that it can be held accountable for spending public funds.
3. Measure Q: City of Del Mar One Cent Sales Tax
The City of Del Mar operates with responsible financial planning and monitoring practices. Its budget has been balanced the last ten fiscal years, and it consistently maintains responsible reserve levels. The City has made several adjustments to its pension, staffing, sewage, and other programs that have resulted in significant savings for taxpayers. The City’s debt per capita has been slowly increasing, namely due to capital improvement projects. One area of concern to the SDCTA is that the City’s budget for FY 2016 and FY 2017 increased by 75.6% and 50.9% from FY 2015, respectively. This is largely due to plans for funding the development of a new City Hall/Town Hall and infrastructure, street, and utility projects.
4. Measure P: City of Chula Vista Sales Tax
The additional revenue from the proposed sales tax and a subsequent bond may help address the most critical infrastructure needs of the City of Chula Vista. The City has maintained reasonable and increasing reserve levels and has had a decreasing level of debt per capita over the last 10 fiscal years. City staffing levels per 1,000 residents have remained low and relatively consistent over the last several years and the City has created a plan to address its failing infrastructure. SDCTA believes that the City has made significant changes to its pension program to address rising pension costs as well as implemented other efficiency measures, but notes that the City has openly expressed concerns about these rising costs.
5. Measure GG: Cardiff School District Bond Measure
The Cardiff School District proposed bond measure meets key provisions of SDCTA’s Bond Support Criteria. The application submitted by the District outlines the need of the District, plans, and draft budgets for each of the proposed projects. The descriptions of the projects submitted and outlined in the Master Plan have been thoroughly vetted, and no reason has been found that would prevent the District from executing the projects.
6. Measure Z: Southwestern Community College Bond Measure
The District has not formally submitted sufficient information to the SDCTA requesting its endorsement. All information in this brief was obtained from the District’s web site, the San Diego Union Tribune, and correspondence from the District Program Manager. As such it contains limited detail. It is unclear whether the District has or will adopt SDCTA recommended best practices, or if the District has met the key provisions of the SDCTA Bond Support Criteria.
7. Measure AA: Fallbrook Union High School District Bond Measure
The Fallbrook Union School District proposed bond measure meets key provisions of SDCTA’s Bond Support Criteria. The application submitted by the District outlines the need of the District, plans, and draft budgets for each of the proposed projects. The descriptions of the projects submitted have been thoroughly vetted, and no reason has been found that would prevent the District from executing the projects.
8. Measure X Grossmont- Cuyamaca Community College Bond Measure
The District has not submitted any information to the SDCTA requesting its endorsement. All information in this brief was obtained from the District’s web site and contains limited detail. It is unclear whether the District has or will adopt SDCTA recommended best practices, or if the District has met the key provisions of the SDCTA Bond Support Criteria.
9. Measure E, F, and H: City of San Diego Charter Amendments
These non-controversial amendments streamline the Charter with clearer language and ensures that officials who have been convicted of a felony are removed from office. The amendments also ensure that the processes of removal, succession and interim positions have a smooth transition and remain fair. The amendments check the power of the City Attorney by reducing the probationary period for Deputy City Attorneys from two to one year and also shift procurement and contracting language from the Charter to the Municipal Code, a more appropriate place for these requirements.
10. Measure MM: MiraCosta Community College District Bond Measure
he application submitted by the District outlines the needs of the District, proposed plans, and draft budgets for each of the proposed projects. The descriptions of the projects submitted and outlined in the 2016 Facilities Master Plan Update have been thoroughly vetted with the community and no reason has been found that would prevent the district from executing the projects.
11. Measure DD: Bonsall Unified School District Bond Measure
The measure meets key provisions of the SDCTA Bond Support Criteria. The application submitted by the District outlines the need of the District for a new high school and modest improvements at existing elementary and middle schools. The descriptions of the proposed projects have been thoroughly vetted and no reason has been found that would prevent the District from executing the projects.
12. Measure EE: Can Valley School District Bond Measure
Cajon Valley School District’s proposed bond measure. The measure meets key provisions of the SDCTA Bond Support Criteria. The application submitted by the district outlines their technology needs, detailed cost estimates for expenditures, and maturities of the debt are required to match the average useful life of the assets. The district has proposed a nominal amount and short time duration for the measure as a means to measure success, with the intent to go back to voters if proven successful.
13. Proposition D: The Citizens Plan for the Responsible Management of Major Tourism and Entertainment Resources
Though this measure has the potential to increase transient occupancy tax revenues to the City of San Diego and protections for the taxpayer in constructing major civic resources, there are troubling governance elements severely restricting future policy makers. This “ballot box” land use planning also precludes the contiguous expansion of the convention center, which SDCTA supports.
14. Proposition C: San Diego Integrated Convention Center Expansion/ Stadium and Tourism Initiative
Even with optimistic and likely unrealistic assumptions and projections, overall revenue would fall significantly short of the estimated $1.15 billion, not including interest on public debt, needed by the City of San Diego to construct this integrated facility. The City of San Diego would likely have to service debt from the General Fund, which funds street repairs, programs for citizens, and other public services, in order to maintain its credit ratings and avoid higher financing charges for future debt.
15. San Diego County Road Repair, Transit, Traffic Relief, Safety, and Water Quality Ordinance and Expenditure Plan
SDCTA supports this expenditure plan as it accounts for all three strategic aspects needed to create public value. Evaluations conducted by the TransNet Independent Taxpayer Oversight Committee (ITOC) reveals that SANDAG is operating effectively and efficiently. SANDAG’s historic ability to leverage state and Federal funds—at nearly three-to-one, manage costs, and complete projects indicate that SANDAG will be successful in executing this measure. SANDAG is capable as an agency to deliver operationally on promises to voters.
16. Drug Price Relief Act
SDCTA opposes the Drug Price Relief Act, as policies aimed at lowering prescription drug prices come with a trade- off. Price fixing prescription drugs to the VA would reduce healthcare costs for the State of California, but shift the burden of drug costs to private buyers or even the VA itself, which has been receiving discounts in recognition of veterans’ service and general health care needs. Moreover, pharmaceutical companies may offset profit losses by allocating less investment toward drug research and development, negatively affecting future innovation in medicine as well as San Diego’s large biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry and economy. The measure neither promotes efficiency nor equity in the drug market, and therefore will not relieve the cost burdens of prescription medicine for patients as intended. The fiscal effects also remain unclear.
17. Medi-Cal Hospital Reimbursement Improvement Act of 2016
SDCTA supports the Medi-Cal Hospital Reimbursement Improvement Act as it safeguards health care funding for low-income patients and children. The legislation would ensure that California maximizes its share of federal health care funding and that the money is used toward its intended purposes. Because private hospitals have agreed to contribute to a program that brings in $3 billion a year in matched federal funds, these resources should go to the 12 million Californians under Medi-Cal that need this aid the most. State officials and government leaders should not be able to divert these funds for other interests, unrelated to the provision of health care for underprivileged children and families. Otherwise, these missing health care resources will have to be compensated by taxpayers and private insurers whose taxes and premiums will increase respectively to subsidize costs. This legislature is a sensible and preventative measure that seeks to maximize California’s share of federal funding, protect health care funds from poor governance and accountability, and reduce the risk of closures and insufficient funding for hospitals that provide necessary care to the state’s most vulnerable populations.