By Pat Landis, PhD
September 14, 2018 (Julian) - Proposition QQ will be on the November 6, 2018, ballot in San Diego County. This is a Citizens' Initiative to raise the benefit fee for Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection District. Proponents believe that a simple majority vote is required to pass this measure.
It appears the San Diego County Registrar of Voters will leave the decision of whether the Initiative requires a simple majority (50%) or 2/3 vote to be certified to the "District" (see letter from the Registrar's office).
Currently, 3 JCFPD Board members (Jack Shelver, Aida Tucker & Kirsten Starlin) are pursuing dissolution of the 34-year-old volunteer fire department. They have already prevented a Referendum to Rescind their Resolution to Dissolve from being on the November ballot. They "inadvertently" failed to follow Elections Code and place the Citizens' Initiative on the ballot - requiring a last minute ex parte hearing to order the Registrar to place the Initiative on the ballot.
Two other Board members (Brian Kramer & Buddy Seifert) are opposed to dissolution and in favor of the Citizens' Initiative. This is a separate fight that will require LAFCO Protest Petitions, and we feel confident we will win that one. We will force LAFCO to place the issue of dissolution on the ballot in a Special Election and that will require a majority vote to stop that process. But, we still need to increase the revenue for our fire department; hence, we need the Citizens' Initiative to pass.
In June, San Francisco had 2 propositions on the ballot. One of them, proposed by the City, required 2/3 vote and failed. The other, Proposition C, was a citizen initiative and it passed by 50.87%. The City of San Francisco certified the citizens' initiative.
This is the test case that could determine our fate as well as that of San Francisco. Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association is suing San Francisco to overturn Proposition C (the SF citizens' initiative). It will probably go back to the Supreme Court of California for clarification.
I am a Proponent of the Initiative, along with a retired firefighter and a paramedic in my town. We are most certainly "citizens" and the JCFPD Board had nothing to do with the Initiative. And, this whole process has been done without legal representation. While the City of San Francisco has the resources to fight in court, we in Julian are on our own with no major supporter or financial resources. We are relying on the success of the City of San Francisco to make precedent and support our cause.
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