Center for Policy Initiatives / Nov. 13, 2008
Change came to San Diego County as well as the nation on November 4.
Our traditionally red county turned blue, voting 54% for Barack Obama. It was the first time a Democratic presidential candidate got more than half the county’s vote since Franklin Delano Roosevelt was reelected 64 years ago.
Voter registration trends also showed a changing region. Countywide, the number of registered Democrats surpassed Republicans this year.
The changes underway run much deeper than a partisan shift. The City Council and the San Diego Unified School Board both will enter 2009 with solid majorities of progressive thinkers who give top priority to the needs of low- and moderate-income families, strengthening our communities and creating good jobs with healthcare coverage.
Taxes provide education and city services
And the results on ballot propositions indicate a renewed collective spirit. The region’s long-standing anti-tax fervor gave way in this election to support for government funding to meet our common needs.
- Voters approved all 7 school bond measures on ballots across the county, most by wide margins. Proposition S, which will raise $2.1 billion in bonds for San Diego Unified School District, passed with 68% of the vote. Voters declared they are willing to pay slightly higher property taxes to improve schools and education in our communities.
- In La Mesa, El Cajon and National City, voters agreed to increase or maintain sales taxes to fund basic city services. Officials in these cities say the votes will let them escape drastic budget cuts such as San Diego is now facing.
- In Del Mar and Encinitas, hotel taxes were increased or expanded.
- Even the proposed countywide parcel tax for regional fire protection, while falling short of the required two-thirds approval, got 63% of the vote. That’s despite an almost nonexistent campaign on its behalf.
Despite the current economic distress — or maybe partly because of it — voters throughout San Diego County are ready to chip in and work together to build a stronger region in which we all can prosper.