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ELECTION '87 : Garbage Burning Is Rejected; Park Measures Falter

November 04, 1987|ANTHONY PERRY | Times Staff Writer

San Diego voters Tuesday rejected trash-burning plants and commercialization around Mission Bay but failed to provide the necessary two-thirds support for bonds to enhance Balboa Park and Mission Bay Park.

Voters also rejected development in the La Jolla Valley area in the city's northern reaches.

In final, unofficial results, voters lifted a spending limit that has put a ceiling on the city budget.

Support Big for Parks

Both park bond propositions collected strong majorities but failed the two-thirds test that has foiled every bond proposal since 1970.

Mayor Maureen O'Connor said the City Council will have to search for money to preserve the city's major parks without again confronting the two-thirds requirement. Even with the loss of Propositions B and C, the mayor was buoyed by the voting on environmental issues, as well as the passage of a countywide measure to provide money for transportation.

"The results are very clear: People support their parks and want to preserve Mission Bay and Belmont Park," O'Connor said. "They're telling the council to clean things up: Fix the traffic, clean up the air, save the parks, and manage the growth sensibly."

Both measures to restrict development around Mission Bay, Propositions D and G, won easily.

B & Bs Aced Out

In Coronado, a measure to allow bed-and-breakfast hotels was handily defeated by voters concerned about an influx of tourists.

Proposition H, called the Clean Air Initiative by its proponents, grew out of public opposition to the SANDER trash-to-energy plant proposed for the Miramar landfill. The company seeking to build the SANDER plant withdrew in August, but the ballot proposition remained.

The measure bans any plant burning more than 500 tons of trash per day that would add to air pollution, make demands on the city water system, or be built within a three-mile radius of a hospital, elementary school, nursing home or child care center--restrictions seen as effectively banning large plants from the city.

The San Diego chapter of the Sierra Club, San Diegans for Clean Air, and a variety of politicians said the measure was needed because of the health hazards posed by trash-burning plants.

Opponents of Proposition H, including outgoing Councilman Bill Cleator, said the clean-air lobby would tie the city's hands in its search for a solution to the mounting trash problem.

Park Measures

Propositions B and C both sought approval to issue bonds for improvements at Mission Bay Park and Balboa Park. Each required a two-thirds yes vote for passage; in the event both passed, Proposition B would prevail.

Proposition B sought approval for $93.5 million, Proposition C for $73.9 million. The two-thirds figure has proved to be an insurmountable barrier for local bond issues; all 10 bond requests between 1970 and 1987 have failed to meet it.

Among the projects to be funded under Propositions B and C were renovation of the House of Hospitality, the House of Charm, the Museum of Man and the Old Globe Theatre complex, as well as efforts to stop beach erosion at Mission Bay and a new system to prevent sewage contamination of the bay.

Proposition B added a start on improvements at Fiesta Island, a new municipal gymnasium near Balboa Park, and parking and traffic projects at both parks.

Boosters estimated that Proposition B, the more expensive of the two, would add $23.80 per $100,000 valuation to a property owner's annual bill.

The park bond measures were supported by the City Council, the San Diego Taxpayers Assn. and the San Diego Chamber of Commerce. Mayor Maureen O'Connor was featured in television advertisements asking for voter approval.

Opponents said the measures violated the spirit of property tax-cutting Proposition 13 and suggested that some way should be found to make tourists pay for park improvements.

Another spending measure, Proposition E, proposed by City Manager John Lockwood, sought approval for the city to exceed the spending limit imposed statewide Proposition 4 in 1979. The approval would last for four years; without it, the city would be forced to rebate property taxes over the next two years in a yet-undetermined fashion.

Lockwood argued that unless E passed, the city would be unable to expand services to match population growth and the inflationary impact on salaries and other expenses. The San Diego Taxpayers Assn., to the political chagrin of the mayor and council, opposed Proposition E, saying that bigger budgets would "foster bureaucratic reliance upon inflated budgetary levels."

Development Limits

Propositions D and G both sought to limit commercial development around Mission Bay.

Proposition D would require a vote of the public for any development around the bay once overall development reaches 25% of the land area. Once development reaches that level, any new lease involving public land would require a two-thirds vote of the public.

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