In a narrow 3-2 vote, the Imperial Beach City Council abandoned its attempt to put a counter initiative on the ballot in November to compete with the .
Last month council after supporters gathered enough signatures from Imperial Beach voters.
Mayor Jim Janney said that the counter initiative had many flaws, like the Safe Access Ordinance, and that he could not support the time city staff and legal counsel would need to invest to get the counter initiative on the ballot in time.
In order to appear on the November ballot, the initiative would need to be handed over to the County of San Diego Registrar of Voters by Aug. 10.
Had the city authored competing measure received enough votes from council Wednesday, a special meeting would have been necessary to grant final approval.
Janney said he was not in favor of a competing initiative when there are enough problems with the Safe Acces Ordinance. A decent opposition statement from councilmembers and citizens against the initiative would clarify things for voters, he said.
"I am not going to be able to support putting a separate one on there just because somebody put something else out there that we don't like," he said. "I believe in what we did the first time," he said, referring to a restrictive .
Janney said he is concerned about the amount of time the city is spending on something that is not going to make Imperial Beach a better place to live.
"If people read the arguments, and that is what they believe in, they will vote the right way," he said.
The city's ordinance was put together in less than two weeks by staff, City Attorney Jennifer Lyons and Councilmembers Ed Spriggs and Brian Bilbray.
Lyons said the language of the initiative was largely derived from the County of San Diego's ordinance that regulates collectives, with some elements borrowed from the city's current ordinance that regulates adult entertainment bookstores.
Bilbray and King both voted in favor of the city's competing measure "that fixes a lot of the problems that the citizen's initiative doesn't touch," Bilbray said.
The Safe Access Ordinance has it flaws, Bilbray said, but he believes that it received enough signatures that it will likely pass in November.
Among concerns expressed by Imperial Beach City Council about the Safe Access Ordinance:
- not allowed to deny business licenses
- smoking allowed at dispensaries
- the number of dispensaries that may be established under Safe Access Ordinance
Since the Safe Access Ordinance was put on the ballot by voters, the ordiance's language cannot be amended by city council.
During the public comment period of the meeting, a half dozen people spoke both for and against the city's initiative.
Tracy Rivera said her concern is what happens if the city does shut down safe access to its citizens.
"You are sending them to places that are illegal and putting patients in danger," she said. "Stand up. What are you afraid of? The people want this change."
Marcus Boyd said he appreciated the work Spriggs and Bilbray did to write the counter ordinance but said the full language of the ordinance was not released until Tuesday and that's not enough time for anyone to give it a thorough review.
He said that in the short time he had to go over the initiative he found provisions that actually created a ban against safe access and in ways was more restrictive than the adopted by council.
Tell us in the comments.
Do you think that city council should have spent more time and called a special meeting to create an alternative initiative for the November ballot, or are opposing arguments sufficient? Will you vote for against the Safe Access Ordinance of Imperial Beach?