2014 19th Annual Goldens
Once In A Lifetime Award:
Coordinated Efforts to Ensure a Smooth Mayoral Transition
Council President Todd Gloria, then-Councilmember Kevin Faulconer and City Attorney Jan Goldsmith guided the City of San Diego through a time of great instability. The leadership team helped City employees, citizens and our entire region move from unprecedented gridlock and scandal back to being America’s Finest City.
Grand Golden Watchdog Award:
Firestorm 2014 Relief Efforts
Over the course of 4 days, 11 fires burned more than 25,000 acres and destroyed several homes throughout the County. The coordination among city, county, state and federal governments enabled firefighters, Navy and Marine Corps personnel, emergency medical service providers and police officers, to quickly suppress the fires and minimize damage to taxpayers. This multi-jurisdictional response was the finest example of mutual aide.
Golden Watchdog Award:
San Diego International Airport Green Build
On August 13, 2013 the Green Build expansion at the San Diego International Airport opened to travelers, marking the completion of the largest improvement project in the airport’s history. The Green Build was completed on-time and came in approximately $45 million under budget…and it’s awesome.
Public-Private Partnership Award:
Computers 2 SD Kids
Since 2005, Computers 2 SD Kids has donated computers equipped with Microsoft Office and educational programs to more than 138,000 children. The non-profit partners with internet providers, San Diego City Libraries, the San Diego County Office of Education and local businesses to ensure children from across the county receive training, technical support and affordable access to technology. #payitforward.
Media Watchdog Award:
Media - Print
Jeff McDonald, U-T San Diego, “Balboa Park Centennial Group Disbands”
Media - Television
KPBS staff, Mayor Filner’s Accusers Come Forward
It’s About Time Award:
Changes to Purchasing and Contracting Department
Inefficiencies plaguing the City of San Diego’s Purchasing and Contracting department sparked a change under new Mayor Kevin Faulconer. Every-day purchases previously required multiple approvals at different levels of bureaucracy. Department heads can now approve purchases totaling less than $25,000 – accounting for 84 percent of City purchases. Seriously, it’s about time.
Golden Fleece Award Finalists:
Sweetwater Union School District
The Sweetwater Union School District is not the shining star of San Diego County. Far from it, in fact. Four of the five district trustees were indicted in a bribery scandal earlier this year and over $100,000 of taxpayer funds went to a private investigator. This is starting to sound more like the next season of House of Cards…
The Sprinter Shutdown
Due to a lack of preventative maintenance and internal oversight, the North County Transit District was forced to shut down the Sprinter to replace brakes that were wearing down too quickly. Taxpayers spent over $3 million during the shutdown while the train was sidelined - dangerously derailing the budget.
San Ysidro’s “Pay-to-Play”
San Ysidro School District was recently ordered to pay a contractor $12 million in damages as a result of the “pay-to-play” culture in South Bay. The superintendent fired the company on false claims and later admitted to accepting $2,500 in cash from a competitor in a steakhouse parking lot…we got a beef with that.
Oceanside School District DC Trip
Finding themselves with unused federal taxpayer dollars, Oceanside Unified School District spent $137,000 last July to send 61 administrators and teachers to a conference in Washington DC. The kicker: the theme of the conference was “doing more with less” …let’s hope they paid attention.
Uncollected Wastewater Fees
Due to weak internal controls and an unnecessarily complicated billing process, the City of San Diego failed to collect over $10 million in wastewater fees over the last three years. The City’s fee structure is so outdated that it not only violates existing council policies, but has left some rates untouched since 1984, when Karate Kid first debuted. What a mess grasshopper!