San Diegans voted on dozens of measures including one that would tax cannabis businesses in unincorporated areas, one that would raise height limits in the city of San Diego, one that would affect project labor agreements and more.
Some, including Measures B and C — a trash pick-up measure and a measure to raise coastal height limits for development in the Midway area — were too close to call after the first election results dropped at 8 p.m. Tuesday. Others seemed to have a wide enough gap to predict if they were headed to victory or failure.
Here are where the results stand now for some of the most closely-watched local ballot measures:
Measure A: Cannabis Business Tax Measure
A proposal to impose a tax on medical and recreational cannabis businesses operating in San Diego County’s unincorporated areas to raise money for health care, fire safety, parks and other government services appears to be headed for victory.
If passed, this measure would support a cannabis sales tax of 6% for retail, 3% for distribution, 2% for testing, cultivation at 3% or $10 (inflation adjustable) per canopy square foot, and 4% for other businesses.
It would impose a sales tax on cannabis businesses in the unincorporated areas of the county — not on cities that already impose a tax on marijuana businesses — such as the five dispensaries in El Cajon, Ramona and Escondido. The taxes could generate from $3 million to $5.5 million. and would go to the general fund for services and infrastructure for anywhere in the county.
Measure B: Waste Management Measure
A ballot measure that would take a step toward repealing “The People’s Ordinance” trash collection model in the city of San Diego remained in limbo Wednesday, with ballot returns showing the result too close to call.
By Wednesday morning, there was just 1 percentage point and about 2,000 votes between the measure’s passage or failure. The Registrar of Voters said there are an estimated 500,000 ballots left to be counted and the next update would come Thursday at 5 p.m.
For more than 100 years, many single-family residents in San Diego have not paid for garbage services while apartment and condominium owners have to pay and do so by passing that burden onto tenants. This measure could give the San Diego City Council the option to allow the city of San Diego to charge a fee for waste management services for eligible residences.
The measure would not create a fee, but it would allow the city council to choose to adopt a fee in the future if they wish.
Supporters say the measure would end a system that allowed a benefit for certain residents, while those living in apartments or condos have to pay for private haulers. According to the ballot argument in support of the measure, its passage would “fix this broken and unfair system so San Diego can start delivering better services for all of us, like bulky item pickup and free replacement of broken trash bins.”
Opponents say homeowners already pay for trash pickup through property taxes and thus would be charged twice for the same service if Measure B passes.
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Measure C: Remove Height Limit in Midway-Pacific Highway Community
Again, it’s just too soon to know which way voters are leaning for Measure C, a city of San Diego measure that would remove the 30- foot coastal height limit for buildings in the Midway District.
As votes were tallied from Tuesday’s election, the yes and no votes were nearly evenly split on Measure C, likely leaving the proposal undecided for days as vote-by-mail ballots continue to be tallied. The measure was ahead by 1.5% in initial election results, but that lead has diminished with each subsequent tally. As of 9 a.m. Wednesday, it was ahead by just 623 votes. The county Registrar of Voters estimates there are still 500,000 ballots to be counted.
Measure C’s passage would exclude the 1,324-acre Midway-Pacific Highway Community Plan area from the existing 30-foot height limit on buildings, which supporters say will spur housing opportunities and revitalize a run-down neighborhood.
In 2020, 57% of San Diego voted for a ballot measure to remove the height limit in the Midway District area, but a judge invalidated that vote, stating that the city of San Diego did not complete the required environmental impact study. Now with the study done, the measure is up to voters again.
Measure D: Project Labor Agreements Measure
San Diego’s decade-long ban on the use of project labor agreements in municipal construction projects looks to be a thing of the past.
Measure D on Tuesday’s ballot appeared to be heading for victory with a 13-point lead as of 9 a.m., although vote-counting was continuing Wednesday. The county Registrar of Voters estimates there were still 500,000 ballots to be counted.
The measure would repeal 2012’s Measure A, which prohibited the city from requiring contractors to enter into project labor agreements. Such agreements, often called PLAs, are collective bargaining agreements between contractors and labor organizations establishing the terms and conditions of employment for specific construction projects.
Proponents say lifting the ban would keep San Diego from losing out on state and federal infrastructure funds, as such funding is not allowed on local construction projects in cities prohibiting PLAs. Supporters say San Diego’s ineligibility to receive those funds leads to issues affecting public safety, such as poorly maintained roads that prevent emergency personnel from being able to quickly respond to critical incidents.
Opponents argue San Diego has not lost out on any funding since Measure A’s passage because it contains an exemption allowing PLAs on projects “when such bans would lead to the forfeiture of state or federal funding.” They also argue the measure would discriminate against the majority of local construction workers because they are not union members.
Measure H: Authorize Childcare on Park Land Property Amendment
San Diego will likely be allowed to lease out its parks and recreation centers for child care services, thanks to a ballot measure overwhelmingly backed by voters.
Measure H, which was approved on Tuesday’s ballot, will address a dearth of childcare facilities in the city, according to supporters, who said the measure will amend the city charter to expand what properties can allow child care services.
A recent study found that 42 San Diego recreation centers would meet the requirements for child care under Measure H.
Supporters said more than 74,000 children under age 5 in the San Diego region lack access to licensed care and the availability of such care has dropped off dramatically over the past few years.
Opponents noted some uncertainty with the measure placing the approval of such facilities in the hands of one official, described as the city manager in the measure, which would effectively be the mayor.