SANDAG or County Supervisors? Please Pick One

Brian Brady Brian Brady 5 Comments


What the heck does SANDAG do?  Its mission statement, from its website:

The 18 cities and county government are SANDAG, the San Diego Association of Governments. This public agency serves as the forum for regional decision-making. SANDAG builds consensus; makes strategic plans; obtains and allocates resources; plans, engineers, and builds public transportation, and provides information on a broad range of topics pertinent to the region’s quality of life.

I looked at the history of SANDAG and found that it formed as an unelected body which gradually gained authority and power by fiat.  What started as an informal steering committee, was granted power as a regional transportation authority and then a centralized economic planning board.  I can see how a collaborative effort, from and among the municipalities, can properly exploit economies of scale but isn’t that what the County Board of Supervisors does?

I like the idea of SANDAG because it is a republican form of government.  Representatives from the different municipalities, jealously guarding their local interests, interests me more than an elected board of five, controlling a massive budget.  The overweighting of the suburbs could counterbalance the influence of the City Of San Diego on regional decisions.

On the other hand, San Diego County is the fifth most populous county on the country and more populated than 20 states.  Californians love the idea of direct democracy and an elected body appeals to many.  I can see the need for an administrative department to coordinate public safety, transportation, parks, etc but isn’t that what SANDAG does?

Can we eliminate one of these government bodies and still survive?  I think so.  I’m interested in your thoughts, arguments, and ideas.


Comments 5

  1. Brian Brady:

    SANDAG is Regional Government. It is the “pass through agency” for billions of fed, state and local tax dollars. It is the planning agency for everything from trolleys and buses to sustainable living/smart growth and sand on the beaches. The most important person is CEO Gary Gallegos. The elected officers come and go while the bureaucracy runs the show.

    You might be interested in SANDAG Executive Comm. Mtg.,
    Nov. 2, 2012 ,Draft 2013 Legislative Program, Att. 1, Rev. Item 7b:

    Lower the current two thirds voter requirement for special purpose taxes, such as transportation and quality of life improvements, to a simple majority vote. (Highest Priority)
    (Board Position , Support)

  2. I agree Brian Brady, we should either elect the people in SANDAG so they are accountable to those they represent or get rid of them completely. Who pays them?

  3. Ms. Right:

    You can find the names of the members by going to You will see that they are elected officials in their respective jurisdictions and appointed one way or the other from same. Also included are ex-officio members. The chairmanship is being changed because of Mayor Jerome Stocks of Encinitas being recently voted out of office.

    Perhaps a way you could become more acquainted with SANDAG is by attending the upcoming SANDAG Board of Directors annual retreat scheduled to start Wed., Feb. 6, 2013 and conclude on Friday Feb., 8, 2013. The retreat will be held at the Barona Resort in the community of Lakeside.

    The retreat is a public meeting, no cost. If you wish to wine and dine with the attendees you must pay for your own food. Key Staff Contact: Colleen Windsor, (619-699-1960)

    Also, for more info see SANDAG Board of Directors Mtg., Nov.16, 2012, Agenda Item 13.

    With confirmed speakers like QUALCOMM Founding Chairman and CEO Emeritus Irwin Jacobs and U-T San Diego Vice Chairman and CEO Editor John Lynch you can get a feel for San Diego’s “path of progress”.

    Ms. Right, where do you fit into that “path of progress”? Perhaps you can get together with Brian Brady and both attend to find out more about what you want to know about Regional Government.

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  5. Brian Brady:

    The County Supes do have representation on the Board with 17 other jurisdictions. Obviously their influence is dilluted. But could they do it? Originally “localism” was the norm in this country. They were intended to do it. Now statists use tools such as monetary allocations with all the strings attached to control local representation regardless of local sentiments. Yes, they could resume the original intent if local sentiment is vocal and forceful enough. Perhaps failed economies out of Sacramento and Washington, D.C. will provide such an opportunity.

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