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Propositions B and C get resounding approval

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With 100 percent of the precincts weighing in Wednesday morning, Propositions B and C were soundly approved by San Diego voters. Prop. B garnered 70 percent approval and Prop. C came in with 61 percent voting "yes."

Mayor Jerry Sanders claimed victory Tuesday night after preliminary results showed overwhelming support for his plans to open city services to outsourcing and let the public vote on new benefits for city employees.

"I appreciate the vote of confidence that voters have showed in my efforts to reform City Hall," Sanders said after voters passed Propositions B and C, which leave city employee benefit increases up to voters and open some city services to competition, respectively."

Mayor Jerry Sanders discusses Props B and C. Photo - Sam Hodgson

Despite apparently strong support from voters however, the more controversial of the two measures - Prop. C - still faces a potentially contentious implementation process.

Sanders said he will disclose more information on the implementation process Wednesday afternoon. City officials need to decide which services will be up for competition and how to design safeguards against corruption, and opponents say they plan to be vocal at the table.

"The question now is are city workers going to be able to compete," said Richard Barrera, a responsible development director for the Center on Policy Initiatives, a pro-union think tank that campaigned against Prop. C. "We want to make sure we're not [implementing competition] at the expense of healthcare and decent wages."

Barrera said the major concern for unions and some City Council members is that San Diego doesn't turn into a "sweat shop" where workers need to lower their pay and benefits to compete. These are issues they now plan to address at the negotiating table.

"The key now is the implementation ordinance," he said. Sanders said he has faith that city employees will win the majority of contracts but that, "no one should be assured a free ticket."

He harshly criticized the unions' claims that public safety won't be adequately protected against managed competition.

"Voters saw through the deceptive misinformation campaign funded by the employee unions," Sanders said. "The campaign they conducted I believe was irresponsible and I think it was a discredit to the committed police and fire and other city employees."

Propositions B and C were both part of the financial plan Sanders has proposed since he was elected last year. Now that they have passed, he said he plans to unveil his five-year financial next week.

"B and C are important reform tools, but they're just that: tools," Sanders said. "By themselves B and C won't solve the city's pension or financial problems, but they do give us the tools to move forward to reform City Hall."

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