Proposition C should have required a two-thirds vote.
Any time we have a proposal that requires a massive increase in government debt that will disproportionately burden the citizens, we need to be absolutely sure the people are in favor of it, and not just by a simple majority.
We especially need a two-thirds vote to be sure the election isn’t being “bought” by special interests who may have undue influence over the media or the ability to get a measure rushed through before all the facts are known.
In fact, the ballpark has become the “poster child” for all the reasons why we need two-thirds votes! Here we have massive public debt, very concentrated benefits (anyone who doesn’t own the Padres or even go to the games gets nothing), very dispersed costs (general fund money will pay for it) and the unusual euphoria so many people had over the Padres being in the World Series, coupled with massive pro-baseball “infomercials” on the front page of the city’s major newspaper every day just before the vote.
Now, however, the facts are known, and now that the Padres are back to their usual place in team rankings, this poll shows there simply wasn’t the long-term commitment or broad-based support that major projects like this need to be successful.
Yet this result was predictable over a year ago when, despite outspending their opposition by 30 to 1 or so, the special ballpark interests still couldn’t get more than 60 percent of the vote.
More On C
The city attorney says he is paying two outside law firms for “impartial” opinions on whether the city should sue to block the people’s right to again vote on the ballpark.
It’s bad enough the taxpayers have to pay for this outside advice. Unfortunately, the advice will be anything but impartial.
If they say “don’t sue,” then their task is finished. Furthermore, it is unlikely that the city ever will come to them again for their opinion. But if they say “sue,” they give the answer they were hired to give, and have a good chance of handling the litigation to boot.
This is like a person who has been in an accident who goes to a personal injury lawyer and asks, “Am I injured?”
Upon reflection, it is even worse. An ambulance-chasing attorney works on a contingency basis, and gets paid only if he wins. But law firms that contract with the city get paid by the hour regardless of the outcome of the lawsuit.
The City Council could have saved precious taxpayer dollars by just asking Padres owner John Moores if they should use the courts to block the new vote. Moores would gladly give them the same answer the lawyers will give, and he’d do it for free!
And Still More
The San Diego city attorney has hired outside counsel to address the question of whether the ballpark re-initiative is legal. Can the citizens be allowed to put in the ballot a new initiative that may overturn the results of Prop. C?
Article II of the California Constitution appears to hold the answer: “All political power is inherent in the people. Government is instituted for their protection, security and benefit, and they have the right to alter or reform it when the public good may require.” [Emphasis added.]
It would seem then that if, as has recently been reported, over 60 percent of the public may wish to alter (or “reform”) the results of their earlier initiative regarding the ballpark, that they may do so.