Voters in San Diego rejected two measures to rezone the Latino neighborhood of Barrio Logan away from industrial uses on Tuesday, while setting up what promises to be one of the nation's toughest congressional races in the fall.
By roughly 60% to 40%, voters rejected propositions B and C, which would have rezoned the blue-collar neighborhood to restrict industry and encourage housing and shopping.
The measures were opposed by Mayor Kevin Faulconer and others who said the rezoning would cost jobs and possibly imperil the future of San Diego's shipyards. Those claims were part of a campaign of television advertising, but proponents said they were overstated.
Council President Todd Gloria, who supported the measures, in a tweet decried "money and lies used to undermine planning and democratic processes. The City Council will not forget Barrio Logan."
Barrio Logan is one of the city's oldest neighborhoods, and the process to develop a rezoning plan took a decade. Faulconer has promised to renew the process to find a compromise between neighborhood activists and business interests, including the shipyards.
Barrio Logan was the site of a landmark moment in the rise of Chicano politics. When the state moved in 1970 to build a California Highway Patrol facility on property beneath the elevated portion of Interstate 5 leading to the recently-constructed Coronado-Bay Bridge, Barrio Logan residents staged a sit-in, blocking bulldozers.
After days of protest, the state relented. The property is now a park featuring several dozen murals celebrating Chicano and Mexican history.
At day's end, the primary election could be seen as a victory for Faulconer, a Republican elected in February to succeed Bob Filner, a Democrat who had resigned amid allegations of sexual harassment.
Faulconer led the opposition to propositions B and C, and was a major supporter of fellow Republican Lorie Zapf in her reelection bid to the City Council. She was elected with approximately 54% of the vote, avoiding a runoff.
Faulconer also supported a former staff member in his campaign for an open council seat. Chris Cate placed first with approximately 47% and will face a runoff in November.
For the Democratic majority on the council, it was the second defeat in its disputes over economic issues with Faulconer and the business establishment.
In March, the council rescinded a tax meant to support construction of low-income housing. Business leaders, including former Mayor Jerry Sanders, now head of the Chamber of Commerce, had led a petition drive to put the issue on the ballot unless the council backed down.
In the 52nd Congressional District, first-term Democrat Rep. Scott Peters will face Republican challenger Carl DeMaio in November.
In unofficial returns, Peters had 42.2% of the vote and DeMaio 35.9%. Trailing were political newscomers Kirk Jorgensen with 17.9%, and Dr. Fred Simon, 3.98%, both Republicans.
DeMaio served one term on the City Council, Peters served as council president and then on the Port Commission.
The district, which includes a swath of northern San Diego and the cities of Coronado and Poway, is considered one of the few tossup U.S. House races in the country because of its close registration and history of political volatility.
DeMaio said of his showing that "we are sending a national message: It's time to fix the dysfunctional Congress."
The Peters campaign immediately challenged DeMaio to a series of debates.
“Now voters have a clear choice between my record of bipartisan reform and problem solving versus Carl’s history of divisiveness, grandstanding and Tea Party extremism," Peters said.
In other unofficial results, San Diego County Dist. Atty. Bonnie Dumanis was elected to a fourth term with 54.9% of the vote, defeating challengers Bob Brewer, 34.6%, and Terri Wyatt, 10.37%, both former prosecutors.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times