The saga involving the San Diego Association of Governments can get convoluted pretty quickly. First, there’s the fact that SANDAG is not too familiar to many people. Then there’s the fact that the scandal centers on some complex stuff, namely economic forecasts and what goes into them. The fundamental issue at hand, though, is not complex: A powerful government agency knowingly misled the public. And that’s worth understanding.

We put in the California Public Records Act request that netted the explosive emails revealing SANDAG officials knew Measure A would not generate $18 billion, as they claimed, before Election Day. Only when we threatened to sue did the agency release the records — two months later. In the meantime, the public voted on a false number.

Gov. Jerry Brown wants to build two 35-mile underground tunnels to keep water coming south through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay Delta. The San Diego County Water Authority used to pine for such a plan. But now, emboldened by its drought-proofing projects and wary of shocking ratepayers, the agency is aggressively questioning Brown’s delta tunnels.