Who is at fault for the cost of a special election

After almost two years of waiting for the Solana Beach City Council to adopt a policy for the use of our Fletcher Cove Community Center and many requests to use it, a public meeting was set by the City Council. At that meeting it became clear that the Council favored the position of severe restrictions on its use. The opposition to reasonable rules was led by a person who managed the election campaign of all five council members. She was also allowed to get the last word at every hearing I attended by turning her speaker slip in late, smart move, leaving us no chance for rebuttal. The supporters of moving ahead with a test period using reasonable rules governed by the present permit processes and precedence were ignored by the council members.

I, as a member of our founding Council, knew that special elections are costly, we felt sure it would not come to that. Our Initiative, now called Prop. B, clearly gave the Council two options: (1) Adopt the Initiative as presented and they could amend it later if needed at a regular election or Option 2: Call for a Special Election. Only the governing body can set a special election. We never for a moment thought the council would be foolish enough to spend up to $200,000 for a test period.

So heading into October, it seemed the council would go ahead and call a Special Election. Then Council received the ultimate “Win-Win” proposal from Margaret Schlesinger, Solana Beach’s first Mayor. Margaret is in favor of opening the center but was not involved in the Initiative process. Margaret proposed Council adopt the Initiative and at the first sign of a problem place its revocation on the June primary ballot. Everybody would win, should a problem arise the people would be able to vote on it. Proponents would have their trial period and opponents would have time to document any problems. Amazingly, Council dismissed former Mayor Schlesinger’s $10,000 proposal and proceeded to set the $200,000 Special Election. So as to responsibility for the cost, blame should be assigned to the City Council and the people who advise them.

Celine A. Olson

Solana Beach