A Raspberry for the Raspberry!

Jerome Stocks Jerome Stocks


I was troubled by the “Raspberry” the NCTimes handed out to SANDAG the other day for a number of reasons. I have emailed them my concerns but doubt they’ll have the fortitude to publish any correction, so I’ll post here and you will know the accurate  facts. It’s a shame the editorial Board couldn’t have the courage or courtesy to call and confirm their concerns… I guarantee you they have my phone number and email address… Too much trouble I suppose.  The editorial is in italics, and my corrections are in bold:

Posted in Editorial on Monday, February 1, 2010 12:00 am Updated: 10:25 pm.| Tags: Editorials, Nct, Opinion

The ‘Less Work, More Pay’ award: The Headline “Less Work, More Pay” is a cheap shot. Gallegos works his tail off and he’s not going to work less. That’s an unfair and incorrect assertion.

On that note, a raspberry to San Diego Association of Governments’ Executive Director Gary Gallegos for accepting a $50,000 raise, and to the SANDAG board members who voted to give it to him. I have respectfully requested a correction, thus far not published,  because Gallegos was not offered, and did not accept a $50,000 raise. His contract calls for a $10,000 raise each year, and he got it. The Board action was to extended the contract by three years with no changes in the provisions of the contract. Each year the percentage of the raise goes down, but even if you want to put a negative spin on it, three years is $30,000 not $50,000.

The decision to give Gallegos a raise comes as his agency struggles with declining revenues that threaten to put some of the region’s long-term transportation projects on hold and cut public transit.: Wrong again!  The agency (SANDAG) isn’t “struggling with declining revenues that threaten to put some of the regions long term transportation projects on hold” That’s another incorrect assertion. In fact, the projects referenced are TransNet projects, and the TransNet plan of finance is healthier now than it was previously because while revenues are indeed down, the bids on projects are down even more! In fact, we recently were able to move $50 million dollars from I-15 to I-5 due to favorable bids on the I-15 project. Additionally,  SANDAG doesn’t operate public transit, nor does it recommend route changes or cuts. MTS in San Diego and NCTD in the North County respectively are responsible for that. SANDAG has the responsibility (under SB1703) to sign off on process that is handled at the transit agencies, and to dole out various Federal and  State funds as well as Transnet dollars according to various formulas.

The raise is an addition to Gallegos’ $240,000 annual salary. His total compensation for the 2008-09 fiscal year was $325,000. That included his $230,000 salary at the time, a $23,000 bonus, retirement pay, deferred compensation, executive benefit, parking, car, cell phone, medical, dental and vision benefits.: His contract calls for a flat $10,000 raise per year, which is less than 4%, and he’s excelled in his performance by any rational measurement. So he got his $10,000 raise as called out in his contract, but no bonus. Are the editors merely envious of a highly compensated extremely competent individual who is serving our region admirably?

Solana Beach City Councilwoman Lesa Heebner and Del Mar Mayor Crystal Crawford were two of the few board members who opposed the raise. Lori Holt Pfeiler, SANDAG’s chairwoman and mayor of Escondido, and Jerome Stocks, vice chairman and an Encinitas councilman, both enthusiastically supported the pay hike.: Yes, I did. Along with the VAST majority of the Board. Those who voted “no” made comments of high praise for Gallegos, but were unhappy with the process used, so once again, a misleading comment in the Raspberry.

In short, I think the N.C. Times should re-hire a fact-check department to keep themselves from making this type of credibility destroying error in the future. The Raspberry deserves a Raspberry. And I hope the North County Times has the guts to admit their errors on this one. I also hope the correction will be as big and bold as the original was, but I’m not holding my breath.

Thanks for reading.

Jerome Stocks

Councilman, City of Encinitas; 1st Vice-Chair, SANDAG; Board Member, NCTD