City Council moves to keep convention center expansion off November ballot

SAN DIEGO -- The San Diego City Council Thursday rejected a proposed measure for the November ballot that would have raised the hotel tax to fund convention center expansion, homelessness services and street repairs.

A nearly identical measure appeared headed to voters until Wednesday, when the city clerk's office reported that a random sampling of the initiative's more than 114,000 signatures fell short of the required threshold to place the measure on the ballot. A signature-by-signature count will begin but likely won't finish nearly in time for the Friday ballot deadline.

Faulconer, who had supported the Yes! for a Better San Diego citizens' proposal, pivoted Wednesday upon hearing of the failed signature-gathering effort and asked the council to consider approving for the ballot his own similar measure during its Thursday meeting.

The council didn't vote on the proposal Thursday. Before that would have happened, they voted 4-4 on waiving the policy by which the council approves measures for the ballot, which was required to move the proposal forward on such short notice.

Council members Barbara Bry, David Alvarez, Georgette Gomez and Myrtle Cole voted against waiving the policy while council members Mark Kersey, Lorie Zapf, Chris Cate and Scott Sherman voted in favor. Councilman Chris Ward wasn't present for the vote.

The council's proposed ballot measure would have raised the city's 12.5 percent hotel tax to 13.75 to 15.75 percent depending on the location of each hotel.

The 42-year tax increase was expected to generate $5.9 billion.