Seven board members say they weren’t told SANDAG’s Measure A sales tax estimates were wrong – an error that led to voters being sold a false promise – and are calling for an independent review.
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.
SANDAG is claiming it did not know a forecasting error staffers discovered in 2015 would ultimately lead to voters being offered a false promise in 2016. But the agency’s own staffers made clear to SANDAG executives the two went hand in hand.
The longer it takes for the truth to come out about SANDAG’s massive revenue shortfall, the harder it will be for the agency to regain the public’s trust. If too much time passes, that goal may become impossible.
The watchdog groups that keep tabs on taxpayer-funded bonds in California “by and large … have proven ineffective,” according to a new report. Many of the issues identified in the report have reared their heads in San Diego.
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.
SANDAG needs voters’ trust in order to succeed. It lost that trust, and only sweeping changes can restore it.
County Supervisor Ron Roberts, who chairs the SANDAG board and who was one of the public faces of the effort to sell Measure A, said the agency needs to rebuild public trust after Voice of San Diego revealed executives there knowingly misled voters about how much money the measure would have raised.
“WTF.” That’s what the San Diego Association of Governments’ chief economist Ray Major wrote in an email when he found out that the agency’s economic forecasts had problems – big ones that overstated how much revenue a sales tax would bring in to fund local transportation projects. VOSD’s Andrew Keatts finally got a hold of emails that reveal […]
Emails obtained by VOSD reveal that top SANDAG officials were told the agency’s economic forecasts — and therefore its Measure A numbers — were way off almost a year before the 2016 election. Instead of acting, the agency continued to rely on numbers they’d been told were faulty, misleading voters in the process and keeping important information from potential watchdogs.