2019 24th Annual Goldens
GRAND GOLDEN WATCHDOG AWARD:
The San Diego Rapid Response Network: Sheltering Migrants
Over 24 participating non-governmental organizations and public entities have helped fill the demand for public services that the migrant caravan has placed on the region as part of the San Diego Rapid Response Network. These agencies have actively assisted the fundraising and operations of a migrant shelter started in October 2018 that provides meals, medical care, legal services, and travel aid to 30 to 40 immigrant families a day.
REGIONAL GOLDEN WATCHDOG AWARD:
County of San Diego: Juvenile Justice Transformation
Using research-backed best practices and the help from leading experts, the San Diego County Probation Department has shifted its juvenile justice approach to one that is less punitive. The Department now spends $37 million less per year on Juvenile Field Services and Juvenile Institutions compared to 10 years ago.
METRO GOLDEN WATCHDOG AWARD:
City of San Diego: Affordable Housing Regulations
The efforts of the City of San Diego’s Planning Department to reform several housing policies represent a paradigm shift in the way the City has moved to address the current housing crisis in the region. The early results from the reforms are significant: Accessory Dwelling Units constructed increased from only a handful a year to 216 units in 2018, while new development using the City’s new density bonus incentives grew by 300% in 2018.
PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP AWARD:
San Diego County Assessor’s Office, Veterans Association of Real Estate Professionals, and Pacific Southwest Association of Realtors: Better Serving 100% Disabled Veterans
The San Diego County Assessor’s Office partnered with representatives from the disabled veterans community and the real estate community to educate the community about a little-used California property tax exemption for disabled veterans and their spouses. By promoting homeownership, housing affordability, and property tax refunds, the County served over 1,400 more disabled veterans in 2018, reflecting a 28% increase from the previous year, and $1.9 million in property tax savings.
MEDIA WATCHDOG AWARD:
NBC 7 Responds Team (Dorian Hargrove, Tom Jones, Bob Hansen) and Ry Rivard, Voice of San Diego: Coverage of City of San Diego Water Bills
After analyzing more than a year of customer billing data, NBC 7 Responds and the Voice of San Diego uncovered a “glitch” in meter readers that significantly increased the water bills of City of San Diego Public Utilities Department customers. After disproving several allegations made by the Public Utilities Department, this series of stores prompted an internal review of the agency that culminated in a structural reorganization.
GRAND GOLDEN FLEECE Award:
Sweetwater Union High School District: District Financial Mismanagement and Accountability
Several state agencies are investigating instances of fiscal mismanagement by officials from the Sweetwater Union High School District. The District’s budget overstated how much money it would actually receive and understated how much money it was budgeted to spend, specifically on salaries and benefits. The District is on track to be $30 million in debt by the end of the 2018-2019 school year.
GoLden FLEECE Award:
San Diego Unified School District: Where Do We Even Start?
The San Diego Unified School District has demonstrated a lack of transparency in several areas, including: delayed responses to records requests; an attempted policy that would purge all emails older than six months without public input; changes to the public comment period; and the mishandling of incidents of sexual misconduct. The district also failed to receive $750,000 in federal funding for homeless students that it qualified for due to a missing signature on its application.