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June 7, 2016 — California Primary Election
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City of San Diego
Proposition B Charter Amendment - Majority Approval Required

To learn more about measures, follow the links for each tab in this section. For most screenreaders, you can hit Return or Enter to enter a tab and read the content within.

Election Results


215,776 votes yes (79.31%)

56,301 votes no (20.69%)

Shall the City Charter be amended to update provisions related to the authorization and issuance of bonds, to reflect changes in state law, and simplify and conform the City's processes with the California Constitution?

What is this proposal?

Measure Details — Official information about this measure


San Diego County Registrar of Voters

This proposition would amend the San Diego Charter to revise the processes by which the City authorizes the issuance of General Obligation Bonds and Revenue Bonds to conform the processes more closely with the California Constitution. 

Impartial analysis / Proposal

San Diego City Attorney

This ballot measure does not authorize the issuance of any bonds or the levy of any taxes. The proposition revises the processes by which the City authorizes the issuance of General Obligation Bonds and Revenue Bonds to conform the processes more closely with the California Constitution.

The City of San Diego may choose to issue bonds when the City does not have sufficient cash available in any one year to fund the cost of certain capital improvements such as libraries, fire stations and streets. Bonds are a form of borrowing in which the City sells bonds to investors and promises to pay the investors back over time.

General Obligation Bonds are paid from ad valorem property taxes. These are taxes that are levied as a percentage of the value of the real property that is being taxed. The amount of the levy is set by the City Council annually so that the tax will be sufficient to pay the debt service (principal and interest) on the bonds coming due in each fiscal year.

The authorization of General Obligation Bonds has required a two-thirds vote of the public since Proposition 13 was enacted in 1978. The City currently has additional requirements in the Charter that predate Proposition 13. If approved, the proposition would eliminate these additional provisions, some of which conflict with Proposition 13, and require the City to comply with the California Constitution and state law in authorizing and issuing General Obligation Bonds. The City Council also could adopt local procedures for issuing and selling General Obligation Bonds as long as the procedures comply with state law.

Revenue Bonds are bonds that are payable from enterprise funds, such as those related to the City’s Water and Wastewater utilities. Enterprise funds differ from other government funds because they receive revenue from customers receiving a service. Enterprise funds do not typically receive tax revenue. The Charter contains extensive provisions setting forth requirements for the City’s issuance of Revenue Bonds for the Water and Wastewater utilities. These provisions require a vote of the public and have not been used by the City to issue bonds in decades.

If approved, the proposition would allow the City to authorize the issuance of Revenue Bonds with a two-thirds vote of the City Council. The General Fund could not be used to pay Revenue Bonds. The Revenue Bonds could only be used to fund water facilities, wastewater facilities or stormwater facilities. Revenue Bonds could be issued and sold in accordance with state law or local procedures adopted by City Council.

The City Council’s Charter Review Committee approved sending this measure to the ballot and the City Council voted to place it on the June ballot. If approved, the Charter amendments would become effective after they are chaptered by the California Secretary of State. 

Financial effect

San Diego Registrar of Voters

This measure would repeal outdated sections of the City Charter related to the issuance of bonds and replace them with updated sections designed to simplify and conform the City’s processes with the California Constitution.

There is no fiscal impact associated with these Charter amendments. 

Published Arguments — Arguments for and against the ballot measure

Arguments FOR

The Charter, the Constitution for the City of San Diego, was first written 85 years ago, and has not undergone a thorough review or update since then. Some Charter articles and many sections are simply unnecessary, outdated, confusing, or worse, contain misinformation. The Charter needs to be updated to reflect how the City operates in the 21st Century and to be more open, transparent, and easy for citizens to read.

The Charter Review Committee worked with the City’s Chief Financial Officer, the Independent Budget Analyst, the City Attorney and the Mayor’s office to develop these proposed Charter changes.

These recommended Charter changes regarding the City’s issuance of bonds will:

  • Streamline the Charter by replacing 17 pages of very detailed requirements for water and sewer services and bond issuances with one essential paragraph.
  • Place the detailed language on how to issue sewer and water bonds in the Municipal Code.
  • Simplify section 90 to read that general obligation bonds may be issued and sold in accordance with state law.
  • Authorize the issuance of revenue bonds by a twothirds vote of the Council.

Your “yes” vote on Prop B will update the City’s issuance of bonds to read in plain language, accurately reflect current practices, move appropriate provisions to the Municipal Code, and repeal language that is outdated or superseded by state or federal law.

Prop B has strong support from the City Council, League of Women Voters of San Diego, and the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Sherri Lightner, City Council President

Chris Cate, City Councilmember

Jerry Sanders, President & CEO, San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce

Jeanne Brown, President, League of Women Voters of San Diego 

— see above

Arguments AGAINST

 No argument against Proposition B was filed in the office of the City Clerk 

— see above

More information

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