Though Measure A ultimately failed, the fact that SANDAG, the agency backing the massive transportation sales tax measure, knew its numbers were way off was information the public should have had before they headed to the polls.
Indeed, we put in the California Public Records Act request that ultimately netted the explosive emails revealing SANDAG officials knew the measure would not generate $18 billion, as they claimed, before Election Day.
Yet it took months of back-and-forth, in which we had to insist that the emails were public record, before we obtained them.
Only when our lawyer stepped up the dispute by formally threatening to sue did the agency release the records.
Even then, it took nearly two more months to finally receive the emails.
They came in a batch of 2,700 emails after 6 p.m. on the Friday before Martin Luther King weekend.
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Excellent work. SANDAG leadership is a blot on the city and an embarrassment beyond measure. The mark of real leaders is the ability to step up and admit the errors when something goes wrong. Cover-ups and simply ignoring the truth of what's happening are for weaklings, criminals, and those in over their heads. Take your pick. San Diego needs better leaders.
When I think of SANDAG, I picture the board, those mayors and councilpersons, and perhaps Executive Director Gallegos; those are the public face of the agency.
Mr. Keatts' excellent investigative work indicates that at least some of the staff knew, and seems that “top SANDAG officials” knew about the likely shortfall, but these are not identified. It seems that the board did not know. Yet, SANDAG is continually refer to as if it were a single entity.
Until actual culprits are identified, I think it is very important to CLEARLY differentiate elements when writing about this scandal.
This is the way journalism works in the movies but seldom in real life. Congratulations to VOSD for it's persistence. I think all members should look at their contribution levels and consider an increase. We need aggressive investigative journalism at all levels in this country and it's not cheap! Look at the hoops they had to jump through to get this story.
I keep remembering Ron Roberts saying SANDAG should have told it's board. Sorry, but I just don't believe the board was kept totally in the dark. Do they have the authority to fire SANDAG staff? If so, when do they start?