Voters complete their ballots at the Colina del Sol Recreation Center in San Diego on Nov. 8, 2022. (Zoë Meyers/inewsource)

Ballot initiatives ending a height restriction in the Midway District, paying for school facilities, expanding child care locations and lifting a ban on project labor agreements in the city of San Diego are poised for passage, according to unofficial results updated Friday.

Why this matters

The election results spell big changes for the city of San Diego, potentially ending free trash pickup and lifting a height limit in the Midway — laws that have for decades helped shape what it means to live here.

And supporters of ending free trash pickup also held their late lead, though with a much narrower margin.

The votes, released Friday by the county Registrar of Voters, are the latest unofficial results and the final update until Dec. 8, when the county releases the certified results.

As of 5 p.m. Friday, the county projects 11,000 ballots outstanding. Here’s how the races had shaped up:

  • Measure B, authorizing the city to charge for trash services, has 50.4% support, or just 3,300 more votes in favor. 
  • Measure C, removing a 30-foot height limit in the Midway District, has 51.1% support, or 9,000 more votes in favor.
  • Measure D, amending city code to allow use of project labor agreements on city construction projects, has about 58% support, or 58,825 more votes in favor.
  • Measure H, amending the city charter to allow child care on parkland property, has about 69% support, or 140,600 more votes in favor.
  • Measure U, the bond referendum for $3.2 billion to improve San Diego Unified school facilities, has 65% support, or 92,600 more votes in favor.
A recycling truck drives through the University Heights neighborhood of San Diego, Oct. 13, 2022. (Zoë Meyers/inewsource)

The “People’s Ordinance” is a century-old city law that has ensured free trash collection mostly for single-family homes. Opponents have criticized Measure B, which sought to amend the law to allow the city to charge for trash services, saying the initiative wasn’t clear about future trash fees and that city residents already pay for trash services through property taxes. 

If Measure B officially passes, it will be awhile before residents are actually charged for trash services. First, the city must conduct a cost-of-service study, and officials wouldn’t be able to charge beyond what it would cost to provide services.

The city estimates trash fees could cost customers between $23 and $29 a month, but the actual cost could be much higher. The city didn’t account for inflation or the expansion of services later on, inewsource found.

San Diego City Council President Sean Elo-Rivera and Councilmember Joe LaCava, both supporters of Measure B, could not be reached for comment Friday evening. 

 “It’s a 103-year-old law that is outdated and has really boxed the city in on what they can and can’t do with regard to waste management,” said Cody Hooven, a consultant who worked with Elo-Rivera on the Measure B campaign. “Waste management was very different a hundred years ago than what it is today.” 

A section of Sports Arena Boulevard in San Diego’s Midway District is shown on Nov. 9, 2022. (Zoë Meyers/inewsource)

The battle over Midway development appears decided, with Measure C paving the way for redevelopment and new housing. The initiative eliminates the 30-foot height limit on buildings constructed in an area that covers 1,300 acres just north of the airport, and gives a greenlight to an already approved plan to improve the aging sports arena and add 4,250 new homes. 

“Passing Measure C allows for significant and necessary investment in an area that has the potential to be a vibrant neighborhood, including new park space and homes, for thousands of San Diego families,” said San Diego Councilmember Chris Cate, who brought the initiative forward. He claimed victory for the measure Wednesday night.  

San Diego Unified school facilities will receive a makeover after voters overwhelmingly approved Measure U. More than 200 facilities across the district were built 30 to 60 years ago and officials estimate they are deteriorating at a rate of $240 million every year. Supporters of the $3.2 billion bond referendum initially worried that economic anxiety would prevent it from passing. 

From that bond, $296 million will pay for security and safety improvements. The rest will go toward renovating school facilities and addressing a backlog of deferred maintenance. It marks the district’s fourth bond referendum since 2008, totaling $11.5 billion borrowed for school improvements. 

The San Diego Unified School District administration building is shown on March 19, 2020. (Zoë Meyers/inewsource)

Unofficial results also show the two union-backed San Diego Unified school board candidates have won their respective races.

Shana Hazan, candidate for Sub-District B, claimed a resounding victory over opponent Godwin Higa with 60% of the vote, while Cody Petterson, Sub-District C, defeated Becca Williams with 56% support. Hazan and Petterson declared victory last week.

Crystal Niebla and Andrea Figueroa Briseño contributed to this report.

Type of Content

News: Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Cody Dulaney is an investigative reporter at inewsource focusing on social impact and government accountability. Few things excite him more than building spreadsheets and knocking on the door of people who refuse to return his calls. When he’s not ruffling the feathers of some public official, Cody...