San Diego, CA.- San Diego City Councilman Scott Sherman provided some important truth serum on Wednesday.
Appearing on Good Morning San Diego on KUSI, Sherman called the decision by the City Attorney's office to sue the SoccerCity and SDSU West initiatives a sham and legally weak and questioned the true intentions behind the legal actions.
Sherman said, "It's terrible of us to be suing taxpayers not to have their right to vote in the first place. Never have we sued to take an initiative off the ballot after gathering signatures," he continued, "City leaders are worried that the initiative process is interfering with our power as a city, wait a minute, I thought the voters were the city, not us. But now the bureaucrats and the City Attorney are worried that our power as a city is threatened because the citizens are signing petitions saying we want the right to vote. A constitutionally guaranteed process."
City Council Switched Vote?
Councilman Sherman admitted that a week prior in closed session, the Council refused to support the City Attorney's wish to appeal the Superior Court decisions not to remove SDSU West and SoccerCity from the November ballot. "A week ago, our vote which was opposite of what happened Tuesday, wasn't reported out of closed session, so I asked the City Attorney to give me a memo and say why wasn't that vote reported out of closed session, yet this vote, changing the decision, was reported?"
Sherman continued, "Too many times for political reasons taxpayer money is used and thrown around uselessly, and we're wasting half a million in taxpayer money suing the taxpayers so they don't have their right to vote. 250,000 taxpayers signed petitions on both sides to weigh in on this issue. The city is saying you're disenfranchised, we don't think you have the right to vote."
As Councilman Sherman noted, in closed session on Tuesday, councilmembers voted 5 to 3 in favor of allowing City Attorney Mara Elliott to move forward with separate appeals to have SoccerCity and SDSU West removed from the ballot. Mara Elliott responded to that news with the statement below.
City Attorney Mara Elliott Statement:
“The Soccer City and SDSU West initiatives essentially force the lease or sale of City assets on terms set by the proponents,” Elliott said in a statement. “By filing writs with the Fourth District Court of Appeal, the City seeks clarity on whether this unprecedented use of the initiative process is legal.”
The city will ask the state appeals court for a decision on both cases by Aug. 30.
Costly Lawsuit For Taxpayers
Councilman Sherman was asked how much the suit and appeal will cost taxpayers? "If it goes all the way through the appeal, and we lose which it looks like we are going to do, because judges are not going to get in the way of voters rights, if we have to pay the other side we're looking at $500,000 spent to sue the taxpayers to try to get these initiatives taken off the ballot."
Sherman acknowledges lawsuits will come in spades if one of the initiatives pass, so he says, why are we using taxpayer dollars to disenfranchise 250,000 voters for ballot initiatives that might not even pass? Great question.