City of San Diego Barrio Logan Community Plan Update Referendums, Measure B & Measure C (June 2014)
|Voting on Property|
|Not on ballot|
- 1 Election results
- 2 The proposed plan
- 3 Text of measure
- 4 Support
- 5 Opposition
- 6 Path to the ballot
- 7 See also
- 8 External links
- 9 Additional reading
- 10 References
Measures B and C were put on the ballot through a successful referendum petition by a coalition mostly consisting of shipyard businesses and military contractors in order to allow voters to make a decision about proposed amendments to the Barrio Logan Community Plan and the city zoning ordinances necessary to implement them. The approval of Measure B would have adopted a city resolution to abide by the proposed community plan, and the approval of Measure C would have enacted the zoning ordinances necessary to carry it out. These zoning changes were originally approved by city council in a party-line vote in which the five Democrat city council members voted to approve the plan and the four Republican city council members voted against it.
The plan chiefly concerned nearly a thousand acres in the Barrio Logan Community that are mostly located between downtown, Interstate 5, and the San Diego Bay. The proposed plan would have moved this area in the direction of residential development and commercial/retail development and away from the use of the property at the time of the vote, which was chiefly industrial and closely tied to the operation of the shipyards and the navy in the San Diego Bay.
A "yes" vote on Measure B and Measure C would have supported the city council decision and approved the proposed plan. A "no" vote overturned the proposed plan, leaving the industrial zoning in place, which was the desired outcome of the referendum petitioners. Since the proposed plan was rejected by voters, the city council was prohibited from re-enacting a similar plan for at least 12 months.
- Election results from San Diego Elections Office
- Election results from San Diego Elections Office
The proposed plan
Specifically, the proposed plan and ordinances would have made the following changes to the zoning and community plan:
- Reduced the property zoned for industrial use from 230 acres to 170 acres.
- Increased certain development, operation and work permits and fees from $10,737 to $11,986, with exceptions for certain kinds of residential-related developments.
- Required the construction of 34 city projects, including transportation facilities, parks and a fire station, to support additional population and commercial uses of the land in question. These projects would have cost about $85 million and would require additional operation expenses from the city, which would, in turn, require additional taxation.
- About $58 million of this cost was expected to come from the increased industrial development fees.
Text of measure
The question on the ballot for Measure B:
REFERENDUM OF RESOLUTION RELATED TO BARRIO LOGAN
COMMUNITY PLAN UPDATE.
The question on the ballot for Measure C:
REFERENDUM OF ORDINANCES RELATED TO BARRIO LOGAN COMMUNITY
Summaries and analyses
The official summaries and analyses of Measures B and C are available here.
Note: The supporters and arguments in favor of Measure B and C were the same, as the measures had one, united purpose.
The following individuals signed the official arguments in favor of Measures B and C:
- Mel Katz, former chairman of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce
- Mark Steele, president of M.W. Steele Group, Inc.
- Todd Gloria, City Council President
- David Alvarez, San Diego City Councilmember
- Martin Stein, a pediatrician
Arguments in favor
Supporters of the proposed update to the Barrio Logan Community Plan argued that the new plan features important restrictions on businesses, requiring a safe distance between toxic and carcinogenic chemicals and pollutants and schools, playgrounds and residential areas. They also argued that the community plan was last updated in 1978 and was out of date with regard to modern science on health, medicine and air pollutants.
Dr. Martin Stein wrote, "The State of California ranks Barrio Logan in the top 5% of California neighborhoods most burdened by pollution. Visits to Emergency Rooms due to childhood asthma are nearly triple the County average. Childhood exposure to these dangerous and cancer-causing chemicals can have devastating effects."
Mark Steele wrote, "Our company is 30 years old with 15 employees. The Barrio Logan Community Plan Update involved the total community and is designed to make the neighborhood a healthy place for families to raise children and for ALL businesses to thrive. It's a balanced Plan that is fair to business and residents and should be upheld and implemented."
Note: The opponents and arguments in opposition to Measure B and C were the same, as the measures had one, united purpose.
The group behind the referendum effort that put the proposed plan on the ballot, giving voters a chance to repeal it, was called the Protect Our Jobs Coalition.
The following individuals signed the official arguments in opposition to Measures B and C:
- John T. Lyons III, retired rear admiral of the United States Navy
- Peter M. Hekman, retired vice admiral of the United States Navy
- Timothy W. Lafleur, retired vice admiral of the United States Navy
- Francis K. Holian, retired rear admiral of the United States Navy
- Garland P. Wright, retired rear admiral of the United States Navy
Opponents of the Barrio Logan Plan amendments argued that the proposed plan was an initial step towards the total removal of San Diego's shipyards and that the approval of Measures B and C would have been harmful to the local economy through eliminating jobs that depend on the operation of the shipyards. They also claimed that the approval of the new plan would have affected national security decisions. Critics of the new plan defended the shipyard operators as responsible and effective guardians of the environment and the public health and claimed that accusations of pollution and toxic chemicals were unfounded. Opponents of the plan also argued that the proposed amendments themselves would have allowed urban development too close to existing military facilities, ship building operations and ship repair facilities. They argued that housing developments can be built anywhere, while shipyards cannot be moved. Those who advocated the repeal of the new plan through "no" votes on Measure B and Measure C also claimed that, by rezoning industrial land near the shipyards as residential, the plan would have put residents in conflict with key industrial support for the expanding Pacific Fleet, which operated ships out of the San Diego Bay shipyards.
Matt Carr, president of Cal Marine Cleaning - which was a Barrio Logan shipyard supplier with more than 200 employees - said, "The City’s new requirements will make it very difficult and costly, if not impossible, for new shipyard suppliers to acquire the necessary permits to do business within two blocks of the shipyards. Today, our small business must secure permits from 13 different government agencies. The last thing we need is to make the process even more difficult and time consuming."
When the plan was approved by the city council, a group called the Protect Our Jobs Coalition began a referendum effort against it, resulting in Measures B and C. The group spent about $729,463 in its referendum petition and advertising efforts. The biggest donors included:
- National Steel and Shipbuilding Company - $200,000
- British based military contractor BAE Systems - $75,000
- Continental Maritime of San Diego - $50,000
Path to the ballot
The proposed community plan amendments and zoning code changes were originally approved by the city council in a party-line vote in which the five Democrat city council members voted to approve the plan and the four Republican city council members voted against it. The Protect Our Jobs Coalition spent nearly three quarters of a million dollars to run a referendum petition drive, forcing the city to either rescind the zoning plan or put it before voters. The council decided to put it before voters in the form of Measure B and Measure C. Since Measure B and Measure C both failed, the city council was prohibited from proposing new plans similar to the ones proposed in Measure B and Measure C for at least a year.
"Voice of San Diego" video of referendum signature collector
Concerning the proposed plan and the coalition's efforts against it, Frederick J. Harris, president of General Dynamics NASSCO, said, "We are extremely disappointed that the City Council voted to approve the Plan and are convinced that this decision represents a dangerous first step toward the elimination of San Diego’s shipyards. We have no choice but to protect the future of our industry by taking this aggressive action to prevent the adoption of this flawed Plan.”
The Environmental Health Coalition sued petitioners and the Protect Our Jobs Coalition for allegedly misleading signers while gathering signatures to qualify Measure B and Measure C referendums for the ballot. Plaintiffs argued that when referendum circulators told voters that they would be protecting 46,000 jobs and $14 billion in annual revenue to the shipyard industries by voting against Measure B and Measure C, they were giving groundless and false information. San Diego County Superior Court Judge Randa Trapp, while agreeing that there was some misinformation in the referendum campaign, refused to interfere with the direct democracy process and proclaimed that ultimately the Protect Our Jobs Coalition was not fully responsible for any misinformation that occurred.
The final court decision said, "The evidence suggests that although the (ship repair) association could have been more proactive (the ship repair association) did not have ultimate control of the circulators, who were independent contractors.”
- San Diego County Elections Department website
- San Diego government website, "The full text of the proposed Barrio Logan community plan"
- San Diego County elections department, Measure B voter pamphlet information, archived April 22, 2014
- San Diego County elections department, Measure C voter pamphlet information, accessed April 22, 2014
- Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
- Protect Our Jobs Coalition press release, "Referendum Launched to Protect Shipyards, Suppliers and Working Families that Build and Repair the Navy’s Fleet," September 25, 2013, accessed April 22, 2014
- San Diego Reader, "Military contractors target Barrio Logan plan," February 2, 2014
- San Diego Business Journal, "Barrio Logan Zoning Issue to Remain on June Ballot After Lawsuit Fails," April 7, 2014
- KPBS, "Judge Rules Barrio Logan Community Plan Will Be Referendum On June 3 Ballot," April 7, 2014