County Supervisor Abandons Effort to Make Developer-Friendly Updates to Official Description of Anti-Sprawl ‘SOS’ Ballot Measure

“The last-minute attempt to change the official description of this community-led ballot measure makes it clear why San Diego County needs the SOS initiative.”

County Supervisor Abandons Effort to Make Developer-Friendly Updates to Official Description of Anti-Sprawl ‘SOS’ Ballot Measure

In a striking reversal, San Diego Supervisor Jim Desmond withdrew his last-minute proposal to change the ballot question for the Safeguard Our San Diego Countryside Initiative that will appear in the March 2020 election voter guide.

The decision to withdraw the proposed changes was announced at this morning’s Board of Supervisors meeting. Supervisor Desmond’s proposed amendments closely reflected the misleading messaging of the “No on SOS” campaign, which is funded primarily by the Building Industry Association, an advocacy organization for the building industry.

“The last-minute attempt to change the official description of this community-led ballot measure makes it clear why San Diego County needs the SOS initiative,” said Susan Baldwin, president of San Diegans for Managed Growth and a key campaign volunteer. “Once again, we see an elected member of the Board of Supervisors acting at the behest of the building industry instead of supporting a transparent and democratic process.”

Supervisor Desmond’s reversal came in the wake of more than seventy public comments submitted to the Board of Supervisors by concerned citizens in addition to a comment letter from attorneys for the Yes on SOS campaign. The letter, which was prepared by attorney Sara Clark of Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger LLP, noted that in addition to several other legal inaccuracies, “This proposed amendment is clearly unlawful, as it conflicts with plain and mandatory deadlines set forth in the Elections Code.” It also stated that the proposed amendment to the ballot question “must be rejected as false and misleading, and therefore likely to prejudice voters against the initiative.”

“The building industry holds far too much sway over some of our local elected officials,” added JP Theberge, director of Grow the San Diego Way and San Diegans for Managed Growth board member. “This whole incident has made it clear why the SOS initiative is so important.”

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