Morning Report: The New, Grim Reality at SANDAG - Voice of San Diego

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Morning Report: The New, Grim Reality at SANDAG

A meeting of the SANDAG Transportation Committee / Photo by Megan Wood

For more than a year after the SANDAG financial scandal broke, the agency continued to insist it would be able to complete the projects promised in TransNet, a sales tax hike to fund transportation projects.

Those days are over.

As Andrew Keatts reports, “SANDAG staff now regularly remind the board just how bad TransNet’s finances are. Pending a rescue from billions in new state and federal government transportation stimulus, many of the projects included in the measure won’t be built.”

Each new staff update on the state of TransNet seems to bring more bad news.

“For instance, in late 2017 the agency estimated that it would need to bring in $3.40 from state and federal sources for every $1 it collected in local revenue,” Keatts reports. But now “the agency will need to collect a whopping $9.60 from outside San Diego for every $1 it collects from local residents in order to build everything included in the TransNet ballot measure.”

Cops Accused of Illegal Gun Sales Also Tied to Underground Pot Market

Federal prosecutors accused a retired sheriff’s captain of selling an excessive number of guns that are only available for other cops to friends and acquaintances, and then scheming with others to cover their tracks. The Union-Tribune reports that Marco Garmo, a 27-year veteran who ran the Rancho San Diego Station, had political ambitions and, according to the indictment, was looking not only to make money but win favor with potential donors. 

Four others were indicted, including a sheriff’s lieutenant and a prominent San Diego jeweler who’s run for office before, both of whom pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting charges. Another man was accused of bribing a clerk at the sheriff’s licensing division to push their clients to the front of the concealed-carry permit line. 

The  U.S. attorney announced the charges Friday shortly after the indictment was unsealed. A press release also notes that Garmo tipped off a cousin who’s a partner at an illegal marijuana dispensary in Spring Valley about a possible raid. Spring Valley is the Wild West of the underground pot market, and authorities have struggled to pull it up. 

“Acts such as these are a violation of public trust and tarnish the reputation of law enforcement,” said Sheriff Bill Gore in a statement. 

A statewide investigation by more than 30 media outlets, including Voice of San Diego, reported earlier this month that hundreds of California cops have been convicted of crimes over the last decade. 

Politics Roundup

  • An independent state board that investigates government operations convened a hearing in San Diego focusing on labor trafficking, which experts say has far more victims than sex trafficking in California. But there’s less we know about it. Last year, the governor vetoed a bill written by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez and sponsored by District Attorney Summer Stephan that would have tried to encourage more victims to come forward. 
  • This week’s podcast comes from our most recent live show at Mission Brewery. The crew spoke to Carol Kim of the Building Trades Council and political consultant Ryan Clumpner about the GOP’s future and the hotel-tax increase measure on the March ballot. If you’re still in the dark about that initiative, check out this Politifest debate and Lisa Halverstadt’s explainer
  • Despite Barbara Bry’s elite business resume, the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce endorsed Todd Gloria for mayor. It’s the first time we, or anyone we talked to, can remember the business group, the Democratic Party and labor unions being on the same side in a contested race for the city’s chief executive.
  • U-T columnist Michael Smolens writes that recent court filings suggest that Rep. Duncan Hunter may try (again) to blame his wife at his upcoming trial on campaign finance-related violations. She’s agreed to cooperate with prosecutors. 

In Other News

The Morning Report was written by Jesse Marx, and edited by Sara Libby.

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