2017 22nd Annual Goldens
GRAND GOLDEN WATCHDOG AWARD:
Wendy Fry, NBC San Diego: Coverage of Water Quality at San Diego Schools
In 2017, Fry has investigated and reported on the lead and other chemicals discovered in drinking fountains in County school districts, and the subsequent measures taken by districts to test and decontaminate their water. Fry uncovered that San Diego Unified School District had been aware of elevated chemical levels in its water in at least one school but was still not providing bottled water to some students nearly a month later.
CHAIRMAN'S GOLDEN WATCHDOG AWARD:
Andrew Keatts, Voice of San Diego: Coverage of SANDAG's Measure A
In 2016-17, Keatts identified SANDAG's overestimation of revenue for Measure A by billions of dollars, as well as the fact some employees at SANDAG, at some point in time, knew about the revenue overestimates and billions of dollars in cost underestimates during the Measure A campaign. Keatts raised the public conversation about an issue which has lead to discussions for increased transparency and accountability at the agency.
REGIONAL GOLDEN WATCHDOG AWARD:
County of San Diego: Owner Controlled Insurance Program
San Diego was the first county in California to purchase an umbrella insurance policy to cover all general contractors and subcontractors on large construction contracts to achieve lower premiums and increase safety. The program saved $4 million in reduced insurance costs and increased safety oversight for the County Operations Center and Las Colinas Detention and Reentry Facility contracts.
METRO GOLDEN WATCHDOG AWARD:
City of San Diego: Performance and Analytics Department
Since 2014, the Performance & Analytics Department has increased efficiency and innovation at City Hall through several new programs, including an online Public Records Act platform and a mobile app for virtual reporting of City issues and service requests. Their Operational Excellence program helped decrease 9-1-1 call wait times by 40%, reduced street light repair times by 20%, and improved productivity at City libraries.
PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP AWARD:
San Diego Padres and the City of San Diego: 2016 MLB All-Star Game
In 2014, the City Council voted to waive fees associated with providing safety, permitting, and other operational services up to $1.5 million in order to solidify the Padres' bid to host the 2016 MLB All-Star Game at Petco Park. The game and connected events were estimated by the SDCTA to create $80 million in economic impact, $1.2 million in TOT revenue, $1 million in sales tax, and $3 million in donations from the Padres Foundation and MLB for community projects across the region.
IT'S ABOUT TIME AWARD:
City of Encinitas: Technology Upgrade
Encinitas has implemented a number of technology upgrades over the past year which have improved efficiency and promote open government. The city's new website contains several databases to provide easy access to public information for Encinitas residents, and the new SeeClickFix app and online service allow citizens to submit service requests while improving reporting efficiency.
MEDIA WATCHDOG AWARD:
Ashley McGlone, Voice of San Diego
Coverage of San Diego School's Turf Contracting Performance
TAXPAYERS' CHAMPION AWARD:
No Downtown Stadium Coalition
No on C Campaign
GRAND GOLDEN FLEECE Award:
San Diego Unified School District: Where do we start?
To balance a $124 million budget deficit, the SDUSD cut approximately 850 employees after having given staff 4% pay raises, which had added almost $30 million to the deficit. The District has asked voters 3 times for property tax revenue-backed bond funding—and has received upwards of $4.9 billion—to complete projects which included upgrading aging plumbing. Plumbing has clearly not been a priority for the District unlike turf upgrades for athletic fields which have continued to move forward.
REGIONAL FLEECE Award:
San Diego County Board of Supervisors: Out the Door Pay Raise
In January 2017, the Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 to give themselves a 12.5% pay raise--over $19,000--and a consequential pension spike. The initial vote taken for the pay raise invoked public criticism since it occured without discussion or explanation and appeared as an item on the consent calendar. The four Supervisors approving the raise are termed out of office and cannot run for re-election.
METRO FLEECE Award:
City of Poway: Affordable Housing for Veterans
In November 2016, the Poway City Council voted down a 22-unit affordable housing project for veterans that had been in the works with Habitat for Humanity, had been recommended by its own planning staff, and had met all of the city's requirements. The Council cited traffic, density, and too big of a city subsidy--from a fund set aside for affordable housing--as reasons for denial.