"If the veto were to be overridden, what would the implication be in respect to the ballot?" asked District 1 councilmember Sherri Lightner during Tuesday morning's special meeting.
"It would be placed on the ballot," interjected council president Ben Hueso.
"Actually, it could not be [put on the ballot]," said assisstant city attorney Mary Jo Lanzafame.
The exchange between councilmembers and the assistant city attorney occurred as the council deliberated whether it should override the mayor's veto to place an ordinance on November's ballot to construct a new city hall. Yet, despite the outcome, as was evident in the response from Lanzafame, the deadline for ballot submissions expired in early August and the item was already dead.
The dialogue indicated confusion as to why the mayor objected to placing the ordinance on the ballot and allowing voters to decide the fate of a new city hall.
"This new city hall project was taken off the ballot,” explained councilmember DeMaio, “because a sales tax proposition was placed on the ballot. Let's be honest about that.”
DeMaio accused city officials — Mayor Sanders — of "operating too cute by half." During his comments, the fiscal conservative also refuted the mayor's reasoning for his veto by stating that the developer — or the city — lacked money to adequately fund a campaign.
"You're not taking this off because you don't have enough money for political campaigns. You're taking this off because you're afraid that the public has already come to a judgment and would vote it down."
DeMaio then offered a motion to forgo the override and asked that the mayor return with another option in addressing the city's office-space needs, besides a new city hall.
The motion did not receive any support, and the council moved on to the next item on the agenda.