Invest in the Truth Today.
Help us raise $100,000 by the end of May.

Donate

    Complaints about the San Diego Association of Governments are common, not surprising for a large government agency composed of other government agencies. Accusations of being too aggressive or too timid are standard, and proposals for restructuring are to be expected.

    Commentary - in-story logoThe latest proposal to reform the region’s transportation agency is, however, a truly insidious one and would surely have the most sweeping effects on the people who live in our region. Written by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, Assembly Bill 805 has a few measures designed to address and reform some agreed upon problems. The main effect of the bill, however, is to change the voting rules in a way that would choose just two of the 19 local municipalities to rule over the others and to take away representation of the majority of San Diegans, setting up a classic situation of taxation without representation.

    Last week Gonzalez Fletcher defended her bill in its first subcommittee hearing, and on Monday the bill passed the Assembly Transportation Committee, though not without controversy and along party lines. Gonzalez Fletcher made the case that the changes proposed would be to champion the rights of people of color and historically disadvantaged communities. To do this, she was joined by a labor union representative and a person identifying herself as a “social justice warrior.” Speaking to the committee, Gonzalez-Fletcher quickly moved to the real reason for AB 805: to change the voting structure in a way that gives all the power to the cities of San Diego and Chula Vista.

    Let me explain the way the voting is done now at SANDAG. Each of the 19 government agencies has two types of votes: the first is the tally vote that gives each agency one equal vote, and the next is a weighted, or proportional vote, based on population. For a measure to win before the SANDAG board, it must be passed by both the weighted and the tally vote; like in the U.S. Legislature.

    The new proposal would give power to the two largest cities in SANDAG, San Diego and Chula Vista, and those two cities alone override the tally vote at any time and impose the will of the weighted vote.

    Simply, this means that any time San Diego and Chula Vista feel something would be in their best interests, they can override the tally vote, imposing their will on the rest of SANDAG. This would essentially cut out the remainder of the cities, leaving them with no way to stop it. This disenfranchises most of the citizens of the county, leaving them in a position where they would pay taxes but have no meaningful representation when it comes to transportation issues.


    Help Us Raise $100k By the End of May

    The proposal would also mandate that the position of chair alternate between San Diego and Chula Vista. This is problematic in that SANDAG issues are very complicated, and it is often the case that the most qualified person for the job of chairperson might be a board member from another city who has worked his or her way through the various committees, giving them a broader knowledge base. When Bob Filner was the mayor of San Diego, for example, he hated SANDAG and his presence alone was hugely disruptive. Imagine if it were mandated that he were the chairperson.

    As the mayor of El Cajon, I know that we also have a large Latino population and many people living in poverty. We also have what is perhaps the largest per capita immigrant population in the county. Do these people of color and these immigrants not need representation? Do the poor of East County not count, while the poor of San Diego do? Are El Cajon Latinos less deserving of a political voice than Chula Vista Latinos? Are the people I represent, at least many of them, not historically disadvantaged? These exactly the groups of people who need to be protected. They of course have a great deal at stake when it comes to public transportation issues. To disenfranchise them – to give them no vote and no representation – is to victimize the very people you say that you want to help. El Cajon is not alone. Also disenfranchised would be La Mesa, Poway, Carlsbad, Del Mar, Escondido, San Marcos, Vista, National City, Santee, Oceanside, Coronado, Imperial Beach, Encinitas, Lemon Grove and San Diego County.

    The result of these changes to the voting structure is designed primarily to make it easier to raise taxes. There is much disagreement on how to spend our transportation dollars. Many of the cities benefit very little from the current emphasis on mass transit, bike lanes and mitigation land. Taking away their votes silences opposition. Like the U.S., San Diego County is also divided into partisan regions. Giving an override button to San Diego and Chula Vista ensures left-leaning policy and transportation choices that benefit just one area.

    The costs to the people would be dramatic, but perhaps the most devastating to minority communities and those living in poverty. I know that this concerns the board of directors at SANDAG, and I hope that AB 805 will be killed in committee or at least significantly amended so that it will be fair to everyone.

    Bill Wells is the mayor of El Cajon.

      This article relates to: Opinion, SANDAG, State Government

      Written by Opinion

      Op-eds and Letters to the Editor on the issues that matter in San Diego. Have something to say? Submit a commentary.

      47 comments
      John H Borja
      John H Borja subscriber

      Beyond the possible pitfalls of taxation, the real issue is traffic.

      People in rural areas could benefit some with mass transit. The problem there is economies of scale: too expensive. But, much of San Diego County is urban. Basically, most San Diegans want to avoid the 405-ization(Orange County) of our freeways. Another problem is eminent domain. At least two areas of the County would be negatively impacted by any build-out of current freeways: Solana Beach, Encinitas, Nestor, Otay Mesa West, and San Ysidro. Still another issue is pushing back against those people that want another freeway from Mission Viejo into I-5. That notion is a non-starter for most people in San Diego. No, the only practical answer is mass transit with more frequent stops that reach well underserved communities. Underserved does not necessarily imply low income. Much of Chula Vista is very underserved, as a result of extremely poor planning dating back to the early nineties. 

          Taxation at this moment, as regards transportation infrastructure, is massively regressive, thanks to Governor Jerry Brown and the California legislature. The new fuel "fees" will negatively impact, directly, low and medium income people. 

            What we have in SANDAG today does not adequately represent San Diegans. Perhaps, power can be distributed like the United Nations Security Council and the U.N. Secretary General.  The issues of rural San Diego are not the issues of urban San Diego. Both, however, must benefit from SANDAG decisions. 


      Derek Hofmann
      Derek Hofmann subscribermember

      @John H Borja "The new fuel "fees" will negatively impact, directly, low and medium income people."

      What would be a good, non-regressive way to pay for transportation infrastructure?

      Walt Brewer
      Walt Brewer subscribermember

      HOORAY,  Councilman Jones understands what SANDAG analyses really say and the serious disconnect with actions described in SANDAG  Plans 2050RTP, and San Diego Forward.

      Our Representative Democracy has created a monopoly with no meaningful authoritative checks and balances related to performance.

      For some time I have identified some SANDAG staff numerical data related to your VOSD comments, and what I consider at  best a serious misinterpretation continuing to over- fund mass transit.

      - About 95% of energy, GHG, and pollutant's reduction are provided by on-road vehicles.

        - Mass transit absorbs about 2 million of added daily passenger-miles, and  about 10% of that needed to handle about 30% population growth under normal community growth designs. Two million p-m are  less than 2% of the region's travel.

         - More than 2.5 million gallons of fuel are saved daily by rapidly improving personal motor vehicles. Even doubling mass transit fuel efficiency would  save about 50 thousand gallons daily.                 

         - About half the capital, $40 billion, in the $203 billion plan however goes to new and augmented mass transit

         - It is supposed to make a significant reduction in access deficiency, first/last mile, mass transit problem. But mass transit work trips are reduced only 5 minutes. Autos remain nearly twice as fast, though hardly any congestion is reduced by the $203billion plan.

      Looking back many years, this unfortunate situation could be avoided.

         -Public's survey volunteered comments predominately have preferred more funds for roads. But SANDAG has stuck with 1/3rd for mass transit.

         -Augmented by state & federal funds, more than a third of the transportation budget, mass transit has remained below overall 2% of the region's total, including its 4% peak hours augmentation. 

         -Historically in the last 30 years, mass transit has absorbed one million daily  p-m, while road system has added  near 40 p-m.

      Fundamentally, we are still following flawed mid 1970's edicts meant to reduce auto's pollution of that era. Travel would return to mass transit to handle growth, and most road expansion would be curtailed.

         -Autos, instead of mass transit have absorbed 95%  of travel growth, despite increasing congestion.     

         - Ignored was the 1974 market introduction of autos with nearly 50%  fuel and emissions reduction. Another 50% reduction  is in sight.     

      Attachments to SANDAG Directors March 10, and April 14 Agendas show no intention to change course in what still amounts to anti-auto dogma. It is not seeking autos that do meet GHG standards. Instead, drastic community designs and functions are in the plan to force significantly less auto  travel. Impact on social activity and productivity not quantified.

         -In the SANDAG attachments, statements are made that  aggressive mass transit investment and land use changes assumptions achieve limited GHG reductions. But no indication of reduction or character of $40billion mass transit and land and population changes as prominent factors in the SANDAG Plan to reduce vehicle miles traveled. 

         -Negative tactics such as parking restrictions and artificial taxes on autos are listed. They stress professional ccredibility.

      Requirements for the vast majority of travelers, currently 85% autos, and the non-drivers who now must use mass transit:

      The point that has been made for years is that leaders are missing. Travelers are insisting on-(near driveway) demand, personal, same vehicle travel direct to actual destination. The 85% auto users now have it. Uber, etc, can also. Mass transit usually needs transfers and two more access trips. The roles of Uber, etc may need to be mostly reversed.

      Hopefully the joint effort with California Air Resources Board to update GHG reduction levels will lead to better transportation and community design the public will want to use.

      I don't feel qualified to comment on AB 805 voting, representation etc. In terms of the above, however, it seems to increase power to continue the current undesirable aspects.

      The audit function alone is unlikely to reverse course.

      The State needs a  single bill to unite all aspects of this community design, transportation planning. SB-375 is poorly written, mainly concerned with GHG from autos and light trucks at unexplained density levels. Other bills in consideration are for separate parts.                I

      La Playa Heritage
      La Playa Heritage subscribermember

      According to the Legislative Analyst currently the City of San Diego with its 40% points can team up with the County of San Diego with its 16% points to create an automatic Veto Majority voting block with 56% of the vote if they wanted. Therefore 2 members consisting of the City and County representatives can outvote the remaining 17 Cities, as is. 


      http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billAnalysisClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180AB805


      "Under existing law, for the 2017 FY the weighted vote for SANDAG is allocated as follows: County (16), City of San Diego (40) Chula Vista (8), Oceanside (5), Escondido (5), Carlsbad (3), El Cajon (3), Vista (3), San Marcos (3), Encinitas (2), La Mesa (2), Santee (2), National City (2), Poway (1), Imperial Beach (1), Lemon Grove (1), Coronado (1), Solana Beach (1), and Del Mar (1)."


      ZachW
      ZachW subscriber

      So what? The county is often weighted towards the interests of the outlying areas not the urban core. If this is supposed to be a defense of keeping the current system, it's pretty weak.

      La Playa Heritage
      La Playa Heritage subscribermember

      @Sandag sucks.   AB-805 is a great opportunity. 


      AB-805 reallocates the 56% Majority voting block between the City and County Board of Supervisors (BOS), to 23% to the City of San Diego, and remaining 23% to the County Board of Supervisors (BOS).


      "Requires the weighted vote allocated to the two representatives from the BOS and City of San Diego to be equal, instead of authorizing each agency to apportion the weighted vote among their two members; and,"


      With or Without AB-805 there has and will always be the potential for a City and County BOS Majority Voting Block to push any unfair Budget items through.  


      The Cities of San Diego and Chula Vista by themselves would not have a majority 50% vote without also getting support by the County of San Diego.   Problem solved. 


      ZachW
      ZachW subscriber

      Sorry I misread your first comment :)

      La Playa Heritage
      La Playa Heritage subscribermember

      No problem.


      The Smoking Gun.


      Audio Start Time 1 Hour 8 Minutes for the December 16, 2016 SANDAG Board of Directors Meeting for Council Member Carrie Downey  of Coronado questions about hiding massive cost increases for existing projects, so late in the design. 


      http://www.sandag.org/index.asp?fuseaction=meetings.sc&mid=BOD121616&cName=Board of Directors&mType=Regular Session&mDate=12/16/2016


      Gary Gallegos of SANDAG stated that in order to not make waves, compete for grants, and potential loss of Federal grant funding for telling the truth,  staff purposely hide the known +$84 million cost increase for Seismic Mitigation for 2 of 3 new Bridge Foundations on the active Rose Canyon Fault Zone (RCFZ) for over a year, for the Elvira to Morena Double Track and Mid-Coast Corridor project.  


      "By design we held back. We wanted the chance to compete."


      SANDAG hid scientific evidence and hundred thousand dollar fault investigation reports paid for by Taxpayers, from the public, the majority of the Board of Directors,  and our State Geologist by marking the reports Confidential" for years, which is not allowed.  Then pretending the fault reports would never exist due to excessive costs. Which again was false information by staff. 


      Staff also failed for the last 10 years to invite our State Geologist or CalTrans' Seismic Advisory Board (SAB) to give them guidance on following State law.  Plus refuse to turn in the fault investigation to our State Geologist to update the super old 1991 La Jolla and 2003 Point Loma Quadrangles Alquist-Priolo Maps of Surface Rupture Hazards. 


      The shady part is that Gary Gallegos' testimony was not separated from Council Member Downey's question on the audio tape.  Also see the "hallucination" comments by County Supervisor Ron Roberts. 



      Walt Brewer
      Walt Brewer subscribermember

      Question about what do  taxpayer payment for mass transit.

      All of the capital. (And part of gas tax.)


      Operate and maintain:  50% to 75%subsidy.  original Trolley between downtown and Mexican Border somewhat better.


      route miles more than tripled since, but addition caries only 25% more than the origginal.


      philip piel
      philip piel subscriber

      This bill was hand written and approved by Union Labor so it must be in our best interests. Please don't make Lorena go to the nuclear option and claim "it's for the children."  

      ZachW
      ZachW subscriber

      I've noticed when republicans don't like something and can't make an argument based on the merits or lack thereof, they play the 'union card.'

      philip piel
      philip piel subscriber

      @ZachW

      I apologize Zach, Ex-Union Labor Boss Lorena Gonzales has been screwing tax payers for so long I thought everybody knew it was a given we'd be hosed again. 

      Please excuse me as I have to get the bus ready to take local state approved non-union construction apprentices out of town to work.

      ZachW
      ZachW subscriber

      We get you have a chip on your shoulder about something and want to hijack the conversation, but it's not about you and your Union bitterness. It's about SANDAG and their current unfair, disproportional system.

      philip piel
      philip piel subscriber

      @ZachW

      It is about SANDAG Zach and the current proposal is a thinly veiled union power grab. Read the article again Zach, "union labor representative" and "social warriors" along with the queen of special interests Lorena are championing this change, sound like fiscal responsibility to you?

      Walks like a duck, talks like a duck...plenty of webbed feet and bills around this one.

      Kristine Alessio
      Kristine Alessio

      Reading the conversations back and forth, it appears that some may not realize that SANDAG already has a weighted vote system, El Cajon does not have the same number of votes as Chula Vista, there is weight on population already.  What this bill would do would increase the weight given to two cities to the point where none of the other cities votes matter.  If you're collecting taxes and spending money on a regional level then there needs to be regional representation on the board of the entity (SANDAG) in a manner that everyone's constituents have a meaningful voice at the table.  


      The current voting structure at SANDAG is designed to protect against the tyranny of the majority, one of the basic tenets of our entire governmental system.  I suppose there may be some out there who favor a less democratic approach to government, and sacrifice of freedom for the mirage of a promise of comfort is appealing, however history shows that such trade offs never end happily.

      ZachW
      ZachW subscriber

      You're incorrect. There is a weighted system already, but it's NOT based on population or democracy as you claim. In fact, it's based more on "giving the small populations a voice," similar to the electoral college which is not based on population but rather on giving rural red states a bigger say than large blue ones. It's not a fair system for the city of SD and Lorean Gonzalez Fletcher's plan would help correct this.

      Derek Hofmann
      Derek Hofmann subscribermember

      @ZachW There's already a way for bigger cities to increase their power in SANDAG (we already discussed this below). No changes to the current system are necessary.

      ZachW
      ZachW subscriber

      Derek Hofman, changes are necesssry and they are coming because SANDAG has operated as a clandestine organization that the general public didn't know much about for decades until now. A spotlight has been shown on their incompetence and the flawed structure they use so the public is finally aware (much brought on by their own corruption that was exposed with their erroneous projections for measure A). I hope this legislation passes.

      Jerry Jones
      Jerry Jones

      Sandag is a planning organization that primarily deals with the regional transportation system. That includes multiple forms of transportation including transit. When roads and freeways move 85% plus of the population it's natural that the bulk of the spending would be directed there. When you look at the numbers and see that the effort and money spent on transit is disproportionately high for transit then the claim that Sandag and it member cities have not prioritized transit holds no water.


      Had Measure A passed nearly 50% of the dollars in that measure would have gone to transit, transit related, and alternate transportation spending. Many of us fought hard to have the 24% for local infrastructure include spending that could be used for a variety of local needs and that included transit, active transportation, and even subsidized transit passes where appropriate. That is not exactly a prioritization in the direction of roads and freeways. The real issue here is that the transit advocates want to punish people that depend on their cars for transportation. They objected to the 14% for highways, managed lanes and connectors. These much needed and underfunded projects primarily serve the needs of East and North County. It's hard to ask 85% of the taxpaying public to pay for something and in the same breath tell them that you want to punish them for their choice of transportation. That includes the 85% in all areas of the county, including the 85% inside and outside of the 80th Assembly District of Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher. People get kind of funny when you move to restrict their freedom of travel. Measure A was a transit oriented tax that the transit advocates defeated by opposing it. They opposed it because it didn't contain punitive measures for the 85%. Now they are supporting, and some believe devised, AB805 in an attempt to change the results of this past election and institute those punishments.


      I am always amazed when people reference the United States as a democracy. We are not a democracy, we are a democratic republic and that is a right guaranteed to us in the constitution. Had we been a democracy there would not have been women's voting, civil rights, gay rights and so on. Our founders understood that a pure one person one vote was like two wolves and a sheep deciding what was for dinner. They also recognized the importance of geographical and state identities, rights and issues. In our county setting that equates to the individual cities that have chosen to preserve their community identity and right to self determination by incorporating rather than assimilating into another city. The genius of our founders created a legislative body that included a weighted and tally consideration, the House and Senate. If we apply the arguments here to Congress then the Senate would not exist. I can imagine states like Main and Wyoming would be fighting as passionately as North and East County are to stop the dismantling of an institution that has made us who we are.


      This really is not about “low income minorities” or communities of color. All cities have their own communities of concern to protect and represent. How effective we are at that is for us to determine and answer for in our individual cities. How we deal with those issues may be very different than those cities in the 80th Assembly District. What is proposed with this change in voting structure is to eliminate the Senate of Sandag and hand over the self determination of our individual cities to San Diego and Chula Vista. I wonder how any of us would feel if LA decided to do that to San Diego County?


      Stop this mad attempt to destroy regional collaboration. Sandag is a transportation agency tasked with the development of a region wide system that includes transit. Sandag is not a transit only agency. If you want a transit only tax then simply give the transit agencies (MTS and NCTD) the right to float a ballot measure for a transit only. Leave Sandag to what it does which is to find a balanced approach to a regional transportation system. A system that includes North and East County and all 18 cities and the County.

      Derek Hofmann
      Derek Hofmann subscribermember

      @Jerry Jones San Diegans don't really want to drive everywhere. They are coerced into driving through San Diego's meddling in the market for parking (see Chapter 14 Article 2 Devision 5, especially Table 142-05A, of the San Diego Municipal Code) and by making non-drivers subsidize the roads for drivers through general sales taxes like TransNet.

      If people really wanted to drive everywhere, businesses would build parking lots without being forced to, and drivers would pay 100% of the cost of the roads instead of less than half. Obviously this is not the case.

      San Diego should stop making people drive everywhere and give them more options. When your only feasible way to get around is to drive, you're in a very weak position strategically.

      Derek Hofmann
      Derek Hofmann subscribermember

      @David Crossley That's a tough question to answer because one purpose of public transportation is to be a form of welfare for the poor. So first you have to separate the welfare from the non-welfare subsidy, if any, to determine what part of public transportation is welfare and what part is a true subsidy.

      Then keep in mind that the poor tend to live in inner city areas that bring in more tax revenue than they cost in city services. That's right, poor neighborhoods subsidize the affluent.

      So I think you'll find that public transportation is a repayment to poor neighborhoods for contributing more than their fair share to the cost of running a city.

      Jerry Jones
      Jerry Jones

      @Derek Hofmann @Jerry Jones  Sorry Derek but I've seen nothing that would back up your statement here. At least not in all areas of the county.  But lets suppose for a moment that you are right and people don't want to drive (not that I believe the majority do). Options will not happen overnight. In the mean time you have to balance the need to move people and the local economy today while balancing the budget to support a future that will indeed include more transit.  The problem is that for transit to be most effective you have to build around it rather than the other way around. Have you ever had to approve a transit oriented project in your community while facing angry people opposed to it?

      The total cost of a society based on a transit heavy transportation system will include building costs for job centers and denser housing. Changing the direction of a civilization that was built around the car involves the evolution and replacement of existing neighborhoods at an astronomical cost.  That's not to mention a huge change in life style. People say one thing but when it comes to changes in their back yard there is a very different thing that happens  Building around the car has allowed a nation founded on an agrarian lifestyle to cling to those values for many generations. Shifting to an urban mentality will take at least several more to accomplish.

      Personally I believe that we owe future generations those transit options you talk about. I just don't believe that you can ask today's generation to sacrifice their freedom of movement and dedicate 100% to a cause they may not benefit from. It's all about balance and that's where the debate is and why it's important for everyone to have an equitable seat at the table.  

      Derek Hofmann
      Derek Hofmann subscribermember

      @Jerry Jones Why not end the subsidies and other political favoritism for both cars and transit (so both compete on a level playing field) and let people decide for themselves how to get around?

      Jerry Jones
      Jerry Jones

      @Derek Hofmann @David Crossley Pretty subjective stuff there Derek but I'm not sure that model fits a regional setting.  But as someone that lives in a less affluent city this concept concerns me.  In my case there are visual indicators of that for my city.  Just drive east on 94 and tell me you can't tell the Lemon Grove city limits by the roadside landscaping between San Diego and Lemon Grove.  I find this a bit amusing as I remember several articles about La Jolla wanting to secede form San Diego believing they were paying more than they were receiving.  

      As to transit subsidy that number can be quantified and is reported by MTS in their reports. As a former alternate on that board I know I've seen it but don;t remember where.



      Jerry Jones
      Jerry Jones

      @Derek Hofmann @Jerry Jones When a taxpayer pays a tax designed and designated to support a public facility that facilitates their freedom of movement that is not a subsidy.  A level playing field is the ability of the transit agencies to float their own transit-only tax. When that happens then this will cease to be a debate and will become proper public policy. 

      Derek Hofmann
      Derek Hofmann subscribermember

      @Jerry Jones "When a taxpayer pays a tax designed and designated to support a public facility that facilitates their freedom of movement that is not a subsidy."

      Correct. A subsidy is when people do not all pay for a facility in the same proportion that they benefit from it. An example is using a sales tax (such as TransNet) to pay for roads, because this shifts the cost of the roads from drivers to non-drivers. It's a road subsidy.

      Jerry Jones
      Jerry Jones

      @Derek Hofmann @Jerry Jones Every Transnet measure spelled out exactly what the the voters would get for their money. Granted the great recession threw a monkey wrench into the mix and delayed projects but they will get done.  If you are implying that there has been a disproportionate allocation of expenditures in the regional system you are going to have to show that to me because I just don't see that San Diego and Chula Vista have suffered that. We all have our parochial interests and it not easy to think regionally and outside of our own selfish needs.  None of us gets everything they want. If we did I'd have a trolley in Lemon Grove that either stops at the lights as they do downtown or grade level separation like the do in La Mesa and El Cajon.  

      Derek Hofmann
      Derek Hofmann subscribermember

      @Jerry Jones I don't agree that a regressive tax is acceptable even if the majority supports it (two wolves and a sheep), so I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on this one.

      ZachW
      ZachW subscriber

      Jerry Jones, the problem with your desperate defense of SANDAG is that they've had decades to operate under the current system that you want to keep so bad, and they've failed. Our region has one of the poorest transit systems in the country. As LA starts improving much of their decades poor planning, they are actually improving transit and starting to see the beginning of transitioning from being the freeway he'll hole of the world. As SD stagnates with an inept, insufficient planning agency, we are poised in the coming decades to overtake LA as the freeway hell hole of the planet. I also like the way your defense of SANDAG and measure A includes nothing about how they LIED about the numbers to the people. Are you connected to SANDAG and feeding off the trough, Jerry?

      David Crossley
      David Crossley subscriber

      @ZachW  --But wait--isn't LA doing BOTH freeway construction AND improving transit?

      Jan Neff-Sinclair
      Jan Neff-Sinclair

      @Jerry Jones Please use more paragraphs and break up the post into readable segments. It looks like you have some good points but I was getting a headache trying to read those long paragraphs. 

      michael-leonard
      michael-leonard subscriber

      The choice seems to be similar to what the federal government had back in Constitutional days. They ssolved it by having 2 houses of congress - one that worked on proportional representation (house of reps) the other that relied on equal votes for each jurisdiction (senate). The inconvenient truth is that BOTH methods have fairness to them.

      So, some sort of double board might be the way to go with SANDAG.

      Jerry Jones
      Jerry Jones

      @michael-leonard Michael a double board does exist.  Unlike MTS a simultaneous tally/weighted vote takes place and is displayed on the projection screen.  It's not just the vote that's at stake here. It's a system that has promoted consensus for many years now. 95% of the time the votes aren't even close because of the time spend to that end. Without the current voting system there is no incentive to continue that.


      tarfu7
      tarfu7 subscribermember

      Using only a population-based vote certainly would NOT be "taxation without representation" as the author claims. Rather, it would provide EQUAL representation to all people in the region.

      "One person, one vote" is a bedrock principle of democratic representation. SANDAG's current system of "one city, one vote" means that El Cajon's 103,000 people get the same say as San Diego's 1,380,000 people.

      In other words, the people of El Cajon currently have 13 TIMES more power than the people of San Diego in making regional transportation decisions. How is that fair representation?

      Derek Hofmann
      Derek Hofmann subscribermember

      @tarfu7 Because if San Diego didn't like it that way, they would have split up into 13 cities in order to have the same power as El Cajon.

      Derek Hofmann
      Derek Hofmann subscribermember

      @David Crossley 13 smaller, more nimble city governments, like a bunch of Silicon Valley startups versus one big clumsy old company. Yes, the risk is great, but so is the reward.

      Paul Grimes
      Paul Grimes

      The proposal by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher would do some good things with auditing the agency.  The credibility situation at SANDAG gave the author an opening to introduce this bill, which would further manipulate SANDAG by changing the voting system, which has nothing to do with SANDAG's problems.  In fact, I see the proposed voting structure as setting up more questionable votes from those who would control the system.  Under this proposal, what power does any city but San Diego and Chula Vista have?   Will the cities lessen their participation?


      SANDAG has continued to push last century's technology of the Trolley, claiming their dedication to those who voted for TRANSNET.  Every new Trolley extension is the most expensive to build and lowest ridership projections or they would have been built earlier. Huge cost escalation and new technologies  should instead move SANDAG to protect TRANSNET voter's investment by searching for cost effective solutions.   The nearly 5 mile segment between stops at the slow 45 MPH max of the Mid-Coast Trolley should concern riders as Freeway traffic whizzes by 20+ MPH faster. The circuitous routing to its termination point at UTC is a hallmark of transit projects that need to hit population and/or activity centers to generate ridership, further delaying riders.  Those who have a choice will not use the service.


      Rubber tired BRT service would be more flexible, quicker to add, less expensive and quicker to destinations. One would think for what the Mid-Coast Trolley will cost, an added lane on I-5 for BRT buses and car pools would be much more effective in helping all who use the corridor. 

      herm toba
      herm toba subscriber

      It is hard to understand why SANDAG should be funded at all.  Considering their recent history of lying to the public over a money grab they should be disbanded.  CCDC went away and we're still here building and developing away.  Transportation infrastructure decisions should be done by elected (eg, publicly accountable) officials.

      Derek Hofmann
      Derek Hofmann subscribermember

      If San Diego and Chula Vista want more power, why can't they each split up into multiple cities? Then they would each have more tally votes, one for each new city they create, no new legislation needed.

      Sara K
      Sara K

      Please list for us the times El Cajon has taken the lead at SANDAG to prioritize alternative transportation projects over funding for roads.


      In my memory, your city's position has been to support every single RTP for at least the last decade, each of which allocates the lion's share of our region's budget for roads infrastructure. Not transit.


      Talking points are not transit, and low income minorities should not be used as a power grab when you have done little to lead on actually creating transit resources for them. 

      Bill Wells
      Bill Wells

      @Sara K I wrote this op-ed to point out that this proposed law would put voters in my city, and most other cities, in a situation where they would loose their right to have a representative vote on SANDAG, and as a result on transportation issues. Keep in mind that this would be the case even though they would still be required to pay taxes. The fact that you may disagree with the way I vote is beside the point. If you can make the case that the citizens of the 16 cities and the county should have their votes nullified because the two largest cities should have the totality of the power, then this would be the time and the place to do so.

      Kristine Alessio
      Kristine Alessio

      @paul jamason @Bill Wells @Sara K "SANDAG vests disproportionate power in our smaller cities. Given our demographics, this generally results in the whiter, more affluent, and more suburban and rural cities having complete veto power over our transportation and regional planning."


      I think this is misleading.  Vista, Escondido, Lemon Grove, National City, Imperial Beach are all small cities who will lose their voice and who have a majority of Hispanic residents.  The City of San Diego's largest number of residents are also white. So equating it with whiter cities controlling cities with large minority populations is a red herring of an argument, it's just not true. 


      Making planning and transportation decisions based on race sounds suspiciously  like segregation, a backwards policy that this Country fought long and hard to end.

      paul jamason
      paul jamason subscribermember

      @Bill Wells @Sara K  Yet Mr Wells is fine with how undemocratic the current system is. From http://www.sdyimby.net/blog/2015/9/16/sandag-the-undemocratic-gorilla-in-our-midst:

      "Each resident of Del Mar has almost 163 times the voting power of a resident of the City of San Diego."

      "The 'whitest' cities in San Diego have seven times the voting power of the cities with the highest percentage of hispanic residents."

      "
      SANDAG vests disproportionate power in our smaller cities. Given our demographics, this generally results in the whiter, more affluent, and more suburban and rural cities having complete veto power over our transportation and regional planning."


      Perhaps if you had acknowledged the above inequities and addressed them, you might have averted this bill even being created.  But you did nothing, because you unfairly benefited from the existing system.  

      ZachW
      ZachW subscriber

      Mr Wells, I live in the city of San Diego and I feel like I'm being taxed without representation because of the current way SANDAG works. The infrastructure in the urban core is insufficient. SANDAG has promised for literally decades in future plans to extend trolley service from downtown into uptown, and now they've completely abandoned that in their long term plans. Part of the reason urban SD is so poorly planned is because people like yourself and others who represent more rural outlying areas have no motivation to vote for things hat will specifically benefit the core urban area of SD. You've admitted in your post that your loyalty is with El Cajon and that's fine, but you shouldn't get the disproportional vote that allows you to weigh in on my neighborhood to which you weren't elected to represent me. What Gonzalez is proposing is a more fair way of doing this, in my opinion. The city of San Diego is the civic/cultural/governmental/transportation hub of our region and we should have more autonomy in how our transit systems are approved designed and built without leaders from rural outlying areas being able to call the shots.