Sometimes you can just feel when a story has legs.
This story about the San Diego Association of Governments has legs.
Right now, one of the region’s least-known but most influential government agencies is going through a severe crisis.
The agency persuaded county voters in 2004 to extend a sales tax to pay for a bevy of transportation projects that it pledged would ease traffic congestion and expand transit options.
But SANDAG’s promises were based on its estimate of how much money it would collect from those sales taxes.
And that estimate was wrong. Very wrong.
Help Us Raise $100k By the End of May
The level of interaction one would see at a dynamic transportation authority is weak or non-existent at SANDAG meetings. The agency needs to be re-energized, the sooner the better. A fraction of the money for the new blue line could have been spent on linking the regional rail coaster-surfliner lines just east of I-5, which would have avoided the east jog. SANDAG never completed their Regional Rail system which should have had stops at Del Mar Racetrack, University, Clairemont and Tecolote. When I have business in LA I have to drive 13 miles to Solana beach to get the reginal rail which passes within a mile of my house in University.
You mean to tell me there is corruption plus total incompetence in San Diego government operations? Say it isn't so. Again what do you expect from a city dubbed by the national media as Enron by the Sea? It will not go away anytime soon. The people who seek government positions just simply see the average San Diego voter as ignorant and at best apathetic. That is why San Diego has always been corrupt to the core. An honest politician could never get elected here.
@Phillip Franklin There are kernels of truth in what you write but I think San Diego voters demonstrated, in November, that they are not as ignorant or apathetic as you claim. I put Props A, B, C & D before you as evidence. All had huge, expensive and highly visible campaigns to convince voters that these measures were to the benefit of voters but voters were capable of perceiving that they were not, in reality, beneficial to residents of San Diego City or County.
Another "sin of omission" initiative was prop "D" the so called citizen initiative. touted as a way to, as Donna Frye put it...
“Measure D protects the San Diego River by authorizing the city to sell whatever portion of the Qualcomm Stadium site the Chargers don’t use to local colleges, universities, and/or the San Diego River Conservancy at fair market value. "It would condition the sale to setting aside at least 28 acres for river restoration and an urban rivers research center, 22 acres for development of public parks, and walking and biking trails." LIKE if you agree!
trouble was that most revenue went to the general fund where it could be used for anything a majority on the council wanted it to.
Then the day after the election the mayor announces service cutbacks because of pension shortfalls.
Coincidence? yea right!
The city has a credibility crisis also. They too, have proved themselves to be less that trustworthy.
I don't know how "excusable" the forecasting error is when organizations (governmental and commercial) routinely Low Ball estimates to secure approval.
Not only SANDAG remained silent about the shortfalls, but so did the supposed TRANSNET independent oversight board. Or did they even notice? Do they just rubber stamp everything SANDAG feeds them? I think some major housecleaning is in order, both at SANDAG and the oversight board.
This is consistent with court rulings on their 2011 Regional Transportation Plan which is very much like their current one:Superior court... "SANDAG abused their authority" Appellate court... "SANDAG mislead and misinformed the public..." What will our elected official do? What should the people of our region do?
Mr. Shu: The inertia here, in my view, abuses aside, is based on the fact that because SANDAG's board is made up of representatives of each of the cities and political districts of the county, there is no one from those entities willing to criticize or hold SANDAG accountable. Reason being: They own each of the decisions and would be criticizing their brethren on the board who routinely approve this stuff. Like Ms. Zapf, they sit mostly silently and rubber stamp the staff approach, but in doing so they become responsible, while representing their own cities. Will the Mayor of San Diego say, "This is an outrage," considering that he has a seat at the table and has never really pushed back in any way? Unlikely. Will the San Diego City Council express upset toward Ms. Zapf? Unlikely.
@Jack Shu While looked upon favorably by others in principle, SANDAG is a monopoly assigned to handle complex issues in the public interest. Corrections, and changes are by longp term ballot box feedback.
It needs authoritative independent objective facts based oversight.
You have shown the example of other options not shown and rationale of choice not explained. There is currently mismatch between mode choices by Staff and Directors.
What thoughts do you have for a different process?
I guess I wasn't the only one who had lost some faith in SANDAG, BEFORE the election. Since I'm 85 and would probably not see any results from the wonderful projects SANDAG had been promoting, I was a bad boy and voted my wallet. Obviously, I had company. I don't see how SANDAG recoups it's credibility, absent a major shakeup in it's bureaucracy.
Pay no attention to that little man behind the curtain.
I mailed in my vote for Measure A BEFORE the VOSD article disclosing the revenue shortfall. I decided to trust SANDAG - will not make that mistake again for many years.
Image of SANDAG members that comes to mind.
I'm repeating myself but: After the failure of the Measure A initiative, dubious forecasting, and deliberately misleading voters, the SANDAG Board of Directors unanimously voted to give Executive Director Gary Gallegos a $10,000 raise and 4% bonus reward: http://www.sandag.org/uploads/meetingid/meetingid_4287_21404.pdf (page 49).
Board voting results: http://www.sandag.org/uploads/meetingid/meetingid_4287_21411.pdf.
@paul jamason Just for fun, I scrolled through the items the board considered, all ten of them. There were about 150 votes tallied on the ten issues. Wanna guess how many "nays" there were. You got it Zero.
So, I guess it's fair to say that, regardless of the quality of it's decisions, we have a SANDAG board that's really in synch. I don't know how long this guy Gallegos has been in place, but maybe it's time to see if we can trade him to The Chargers for, say, a place kick holder?
A sin of omission: Failure to do what one can and ought to do. (Wikipedia) Perhaps for a larger salary, they might have mentioned this?
The faulty projections are easy to fix, even without a sales tax hike. Simply lift restrictions on the number of parking spaces that business owners must provide for their own customers. (Who do you think is more qualified to judge a business' needs, the business or the city?) This would allow more taxpaying businesses to fit within the city's borders while reducing traffic congestion (because why would you drive somewhere without abundant, free parking?).