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.