SAN DIEGO—Voters decisively rejected aA proposition that would have raised the sales tax in San Diego by a half-cent Tuesday.
With 100 percent of the ballots counted, 62 percent of San Diego voters opposed to Proposition D, compared to 38 percent in favor.
Before the tax could be levied, the independent city auditor would have to certify that 10 other benchmarks -- related to city pensions, retiree health care obligations and outsourcing -- have been met.
Four of those changes have already been adopted by the San Diego City Council.
Supporters of Proposition D argued the new revenue is needed to maintain and restore city services, including public safety.
Mayor Jerry Sanders has projected a budget shortfall for San Diego of $72 million next fiscal year.
Opponents, led by Councilman Carl DeMaio, accused Sanders and other proponents of using scare tactics to frighten the public into voting for the tax increase by threatening public safety cuts.
They insist the budget gap could be closed by eliminating wasteful spending at City Hall, overhauling the pension system and streamlining municipal finances.
To help close the anticipated spending shortfall, city departments have proposed laying off firefighters, instituting more "brownouts'' of fire engine companies, the loss of 169 sworn police officers, closing libraries or trimming hours of operation, shuttering recreation centers and pools and less park maintenance.
Cith voters approved Proposition B, which would amend the city charter to require that "good cause'' be established before a deputy city attorney, who has served for at least two years, could be suspended or terminated was leading. The measure received a 72 percent yes vote compared to 28 percent no.
The measure was put on the ballot largely in response to the tenure of former City Attorney Michael Aguirre, who fired or forced out dozens of deputy city attorneys when he took office.
Proposition C, which would allow for the completion of the Pacific Highlands Ranch development in Carmel Valley, was also approved with 70 percent of voters in favor.
When it was first approved by voters in 1998, restrictions were placed on the development until a freeway interchange from southbound Interstate 5 to state Route 56 has been completed, something Caltrans says won't happen until at least 2020.