San Diego

State Legislation Targets SANDAG for Reforms

A new way of doing business may soon be imposed on this region's transportation planners.

It's a reform measure aimed at the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), which was cast in a bad light after the November election.

SANDAG is run by elected officials from the county and its 18 cities.

And those officials, comprising the agency’s board of directors, were left in the dark about revenue projections that were several billion dollars too high during the campaign for "Measure A".

The measure called for a half-cent sales tax to boost transportation spending over 40 years, and got a 58 percent majority vote -- but needed two-thirds to pass.

SANDAG staffers didn't correct the revenue error until later, and now an outside law firm is investigating the agency's handling of the situation.

The County Taxpayers Association weighed in this week with recommended improvements.

And state Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher is pushing AB 805 through the Legislature to overhaul SANDAG's governing structure and procedures.

SANDAG officials are against the bill, saying it's unfair to the county's smaller cities.

But in Friday's recording session for Sunday's edition of NBC 7’s "Politically Speaking", Gonzalez Fletcher said agency staffers were aware of the questionable revenue numbers long before the election -- and still went ahead with them.

“Either somebody knew about it that was an elected official, that hasn’t copped to it,” speculated Gonzalez Fletcher. “Or, they didn’t honestly know about it, but haven’t held anybody accountable within SANDAG.”

“The fact that there's no accountability, there's no transparency just begs the question 'What do we do to change this?'” Gonzalez Fletcher added. “And one of the things my legislation does is, it sets up an auditor and an independent committee so that we can insure that the numbers that come out of SANDAG, the spending that we're being told is happening, is actually happening."

AB 805 is making its way through Assembly committees on strong majority votes.

Gonzalez Fletcher says she's still working suggested amendments into it, to gather more support.

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