Taxpayers Association Issues Recommendations for SANDAG

The San Diego County Taxpayers Association recently formed a working group to evaluate errors made by SANDAG in its revenue forecasting and cost estimation models as well as the process by which those errors were released to voters last year. Based on the working group’s findings, SDCTA developed six recommendations to prevent SANDAG’s errors from recurring, promote public participation, and enhance understanding of complex projects and proposals among SANDAG’s member agencies and the public.

“All of the recommendations call for increased communications, so if errors do surface they would be recognized earlier on in the process and corrected, preventing them from becoming larger issues down the road,” SDCTA’s report says.

The working group found that SANDAG could drastically improve comprehension by simplifying information into its most salient aspects for respective constituencies. Currently, the legislation governing SANDAG, SANDAG board policies, and SANDAG bylaws do not require Board members to communicate SANDAG proposals or decisions to the respective governing bodies whom they represent. Furthermore, many governing bodies of SANDAG’s municipal members do not provide their representatives with sufficient opportunities to present updates on SANDAG’s performance.

Implementing SDCTA’s recommendations should result in SANDAG Board members presenting clear and digestible information to their respective governing bodies and to the constituents they serve, elevating the quality and efficacy of public debate on future issues.

“It’s disappointing that some of our elected leaders do not engage in the back-and-forth dialogue between the constituencies they represent and SANDAG’s Board,” said Haney Hong, SDCTA’s President and CEO. “SANDAG member cities should consistently give direction to their representatives, and these same member cities also should consistently demand reports back from their representatives. That’s how it is supposed to work.”

SANDAG recently committed to retaining outside experts to analyze whether officials intentionally misled voters with the errant data in support of Measure A, which voters rejected last year. As such, SDCTA’s working group did not address that issue.

SANDAG had said Measure A would raise $18 billion but reporting by Voice of San Diego and internal checks led the agency to release a forecast following the election that projected revenues at $14 billion.

Download the press release here.

Rosey Williams