Voters will go to the polls today to elect new city council members in San Diego and Chula Vista, as well as to decide on several controversial propositions, including a proposed countywide sales tax increase and two measures--a street name change and a tough no-smoking ordinance--that could attract nationwide attention.
The polls will be open throughout San Diego County from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Voters uncertain of their polling place or who experience other Election Day problems can contact the San Diego County registrar of voters' office at 565-5800.
San Diego City Clerk Charles Abdelnour has predicted that about 45% of the city's 511,862 registered voters will cast ballots today. County officials have expressed hope for a relatively high turnout for the off-year election, but have not estimated how many of the county's 1.1 million voters they expect to go to the polls today.
Possibility of Rain
The turnout is unlikely to be boosted by the weather--the National Weather Service has forecast a 40% chance of rain today, with light to moderate showers expected to cover most of the county. Temperatures are expected to be in the high 60s countywide.
Most of the public attention leading up to today's election has focused on the San Diego City Council races and several high-profile proposition campaigns.
With four San Diego City Council incumbents retiring--the first time that has happened in more than half a century--voters' choices will result in a 50% turnover on the council. Eight candidates--the top two finishers in their Sept. 15 district primaries--are seeking to succeed outgoing council members Bill Cleator, William Jones (who has already resigned), Mike Gotch and Celia Ballesteros.
Among the 18 propositions on the ballot around the county, one of the most emotional is Proposition F in San Diego, an initiative aimed at changing the name of Martin Luther King Way back to Market Street. Supporters of the initiative argue that the name change has produced confusion and inconveniences, and say that they favor restoring the historic Market Street name. Black leaders, however, say that rescission of the City Council's decision to rename the street in honor of the slain civil rights leader would be an affront to them and a nationwide disgrace.
The City of San Diego ballot also includes proposed bond issues to raise as much as $93.5 million to improve Mission Bay and Balboa Park and propositions that would ease the Gann spending limit facing the city, restrict commercial development at Mission Bay, permit development in La Jolla Valley and impose standards on trash-burning plants.
There is one major countywide proposition on the ballot--Proposition A, which would increase the local sales tax by one-half cent on the dollar to raise an estimated $2.25 billion for street, highway and public transportation improvements.
Another closely watched election will occur in Del Mar, where voters will cast ballots on a proposition that would ban smoking in public places, both outdoors and indoors--the most restrictive anti-smoking measure proposed anywhere in the country.