Friday, May 15, 2020

San Diego, CA, RCV Ballot Measures

San Diego, CA, Residents may get a chance this November to Vote on a Ballot Measures that would shift City Elections to Ranked-Choice Voting (RCV), provide Public Funding for Local Candidates, and Change Contracting Laws in favor of Union Labor.

The City Council’s Rules Committee voted 3-2 Wednesday to allow Further Evaluation of those Measures so the Full Council can decide this summer whether they should appear on the November Ballot. A Fourth Proposed Measure, which would provide the City Auditor the ability to Hire Independent Legal Counsel in Controversial Situations, got a Green Light from the Rules Committee. During a five-hour Public Hearing, the Rules Committee Rejected 11 other Proposed Ballot Measures for November. In addition, Two other Proposed Measures were Withdrawn by their Proponents.

The Four Ballot Measures Approved Wednesday will return to the Committee for a Second Debate June 10th. If the Committee Approves them a Second time, the Full Council would have until Aug. 7th to place them on the November Ballot.

RCV, sometimes called “instant runoff” Elections, would allow City Voters to Rank Candidates instead of just casting a Single Vote. Voters would still only choose One Candidate in the Primary, but the Top Four Vote-Getters would Advance to November instead of just the Top Two. In November, Voters would Rank All Four Candidates from 1 to 4, with 1 being their Top Choice.

The Candidate who receives the Fewest No. 1 Votes would be Eliminated from the Race, and any Voters who had Picked that Candidate for their No. 1 Slot would instead have their No. 2 Candidate Counted as their Top Choice. Once the Field is Reduced to Three Candidates, the Next Person with the Fewest No. 1 Votes is Eliminated. The Process Continues with Two Candidates Left and the Candidate with the Most No. 1 Votes is the Winner.

Supporters say RCV would Reduce Political Polarization and Negative Campaigning. Opponents say it would create Confusion. With so many States and Cities using RCV, the Confusion Complaint has been Disproved.

The Ballot Measure that would provide Public Funding for City Elections aims to Reduce the Impact of Campaign Contributions on Local Elections. Supporters say such a System would Encourage more Qualified Candidates to Run for City Office and Reduce the Influence of Corporate Interests and Labor Unions.

The Ballot Measure that would Change City Contracting Policy in Favor of Labor Unions focuses on “project labor agreements,” which are Pro-Union Deals that a previously Approved City Ballot Measure sought to Limit. Supporters of the New Ballot Measure say it would Preserve Millions of Dollars in State Funding for Local Public Works Projects by Loosening Restrictions on when the City can use Project Labor Agreements.

Opponents, including the Local Chapter of the Associated General Contractors, say the City’s Existing System is working well because it allows Union Contractors and Non-Union Contractors to Conduct work for the City. A Dispute over Project Labor Agreements has Stalled Construction of San Diego’s Proposed Water Recycling System. Water is pumped through Microfiltration Membrane Filtration Modules (Tubes) at the Advanced Water Purification Facility in University City at the City of San Diego’s North City Water Reclamation Plant, the First Step to making the Water comparable as Pure Distilled Water in Quality.

The Ballot Measure that would Allow the City Auditor to Hire Outside Legal Counsel aims to Eliminate a Conflict of Interest for City Attorney Mara Elliott, who provides Legal Advice to the Auditor and the City Employees that the Auditor Investigates.

The Committee also Rejected a Measure Proposed by the City’s Chief Financial Officer to Loosen Regulations that he characterized as Redundant.

The other Rejected Measures were proposed by City Residents. Among them was a Proposal by Matt Valenti that aims to Prevent Child Abuse in City-Funded Organizations, and Proposals by Katheryn Rhodes related to Hotel Taxes and Travel Agents.

Six separate Ballot Measures proposed by John Stump got Rejected, covering a Range of Issues including City Budgets, Election Rules, and the San Diego Zoo.

The Two Withdrawn Ballot Measures focused on Swimming Lessons in Mission Bay Park and how the City Schedules Shifts for its Workers.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

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