County Supervisor Abandons Effort to Make Developer-Friendly Updates to Official Description of Anti-Sprawl ‘SOS’ Ballot Measure

by on December 10, 2019 · 2 comments

in Environment, San Diego

From SOS:

In a striking reversal, San Diego Supervisor Jim Desmond withdrew his last-minute proposal to change the ballot question for the Safeguard Our San Diego Countryside Initiative that will appear in the March 2020 election voter guide.

The decision to withdraw the proposed changes was announced at this morning’s Board of Supervisors meeting. Supervisor Desmond’s proposed amendments closely reflected the misleading messaging of the “No on SOS” campaign, which is funded primarily by the Building Industry Association, an advocacy organization for the building industry.

“The last-minute attempt to change the official description of this community-led ballot measure makes it clear why San Diego County needs the SOS initiative,” said Susan Baldwin, president of San Diegans for Managed Growth and a key campaign volunteer. “Once again, we see an elected member of the Board of Supervisors acting at the behest of the building industry instead of supporting a transparent and democratic process.”

Jim Desmond

Supervisor Desmond’s reversal came in the wake of more than seventy public comments submitted to the Board of Supervisors by concerned citizens in addition to a comment letter from attorneys for the Yes on SOS campaign. The letter, which was prepared by attorney Sara Clark of Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger LLP, noted that in addition to several other legal inaccuracies, “This proposed amendment is clearly unlawful, as it conflicts with plain and mandatory deadlines set forth in the Elections Code.”  It also stated that the proposed amendment to the ballot question “must be rejected as false and misleading, and therefore likely to prejudice voters against the initiative.”

“The building industry holds far too much sway over some of our local elected officials,” added JP Theberge, director of Grow the San Diego Way and San Diegans for Managed Growth board member. “This whole incident has made it clear why the SOS initiative is so important.”


In March 2020, San Diego County residents will vote on the Safeguard Our San Diego Countryside (SOS) citizens’ initiative. The ballot measure will reinforce the county’s award-winning “smart growth” General Plan by ensuring that developers who seek special exemptions to the rules of land use and planning in rural and semi-rural areas (known as General Plan Amendments) obtain voter approval before getting such exemptions.

The initiative will protect natural areas and farmland from land speculators and developers who want to build high-end, suburban density housing developments in high-risk fire areas where they currently aren’t allowed. It will also encourage developers to build housing where the county needs it most, closer to existing roads, schools, and other infrastructure, potentially saving taxpayers billions of dollars in infrastructure costs.

To learn more, go to

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Peter from South O December 10, 2019 at 4:51 pm

He only withdrew the proposed changes (read: attempted sabotage) when the city attorney agreed that it was too late to make changes. I remember a time when political corruption made an ATTEMPT to hide behind some kind of lame excuse. This guy needs to go next time his name is in the ballot box crosshairs.


Jacqueline Arsivaud December 10, 2019 at 6:55 pm

The grassroots backers of the SOS initiative said this morning in testimony they had less than $15,000 in the bank, and battling the behemoth that is the Building Industry Association and its large corporate members – Big Sprawl, aka the sprawl industrial complex. Pitch in what you can at How about $20.20 for the year we will save San Diego from turning into LA???


Leave a Comment

Older Article:

Newer Article: