Supes Gaspar and Desmond say SANDAG failed to deliver on critical voter-approved road and highway improvements

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Press Release

“San Diegans have lost faith in SANDAG,” Supervisor Kristin Gaspar said. “They can’t be trusted to follow through with their promises to voters.” In 2004, SANDAG persuaded voters to approve a half cent sales tax in exchange for critical highway improvement and expansion projects in East and North County.

North County has experienced exceptional growth and the addition of high tech, life sciences, and other businesses that drive our innovation economy. Unfortunately, the investments in our infrastructure have not kept up with that growth and today, commuters are suffering hours of unnecessary time in their cars, burning more carbon while they crawl to and from work and to school to pick up their kids.

Now, SANDAG’s new Executive Director has decided to arbitrarily change the 40-year plan in favor of a high-speed rail project at the expense of North and East Counties. Not having viable roads will make it very difficult for first responders to get in and for evacuees to get out of Ramona during a wildfire.

“Even with SANDAG’s new vision, 90 percent of people are still going to be in cars,” Supervisor Jim Desmond said. “We’re only 11 years into a 40-year tax and it is being suggested that we not do those projects but that the taxpayers continue to pay that tax for the next 29 years.” Keeping your word shouldn’t need to be legally binding. Shifting funds from a voter-approved plan to new projects without voter approval is wrong! Let’s hold SANDAG accountable. Visit and email your concerns.

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10News: County Supervisors speak out against new SANDAG mass transit plan


Comments 8

  1. Aren’t Gaspar and Desmond on the Board of SANDAG? Haven’t they been for quite some time? I thought the Board of the Directors was in charge, so if “San Diegans have lost faith in SANDAG,” whose fault is that?

  2. Your usual great point, HQ. Those two ARE on the SANDAG board. Regardless of the fact that the board has about 22 members, this dynamic duo should be able to dictate to the others how they should properly vote.

    If only THEY had the benefit of your sage advice earlier!!

  3. “SANDAG is our county’s most dishonest local agency — by far!”
    by Richard Rider
    Nov, 2016

    Measure A, SANDAG’s $18 billion San Diego County sales tax increase supposedly for transportation, has been thoroughly rejected by the editorial board of the centrist SAN DIEGO U-T. And that was 3 weeks ago.

    Since then, more information on SANDAG’s dishonesty has come to light, courtesy of VOICE OF SAN DIEGO. The agency has lied about the money that will be raised — it now appears they will be AT LEAST $5 billion short of their $18 billion projection, which means they won’t be able to finish many of the projects they CLAIM they will build with the money.

    Moreover, the EXISTING SANDAG half-percent county sales tax we are paying is ALSO on track to come up $5 billion short of their Pollyannaish projections. That means that much of the new tax is really backfilling the OLD tax, further gutting SANDAG’s bogus claim that the new tax will provide all the projects they list. All told, SANDAG has told voters that it’s raising $10 billion more than is realistically expected. Did I mention that SANDAG is a dishonest agency?

    Indeed, they lie about EVERYTHING in an effort to expand their power and influence (and pensions). I’d be hard pressed to name a government agency that is more CONSISTENTLY dishonest — and that’s a competitive field!

    The infamous Willie Brown was both a con artist and an honest politician (sometimes). Here’s a frank admission by him describing how government hoodwinks everyone to get what it wants — describing to a “T” the modus operandi of SANDAG:

    News that the Transbay Terminal is something like $300 million over budget should not come as a shock to anyone.
    We always knew the initial estimate was way under the real cost. Just like we never had a real cost for the Central Subway or the Bay Bridge or any other massive construction project. So get off it.
    In the world of civic projects, the first budget is really just a down payment. If people knew the real cost from the start, nothing would ever be approved.
    The idea is to get going. Start digging a hole and make it so big, there’s no alternative to coming up with the money to fill it in.

    Here’s the U-T editorial. Take it to heart.

  4. Below is a U-T letter to the editor I wrote in 2016:

    Kudos for the editors for highlighting the latest dishonest numbers from SANDAG — and heartfelt thanks to VOICE of SAN DIEGO for doing the investigative reporting exposing this fraud.

    And yes, SANDAG does commit fraud. EVERY time they present figures or numbers, they lie.

    Over the last three decades they have CONSISTENTLY lied about the projected cost of projects (SANDAG ALWAYS low-balls the cost — by a lot), the public’s usage of the completed projects (SANDAG ALWAYS badly inflates the projected ridership numbers), the growth of the population of the county (SANDAG always overestimates population growth) and the revenue the agency will get from tax increases.

    Honest errors are understandable, but when EVERY “error” ends up overselling their boondoggle expenditures, that’s NOT an error. It’s fraud.

    SANDAG is a rogue agency that hoodwinks its gullible governing board. The board is made up of local politicians. Most (NOT all) are the same glad-handing chuckleheads who believed their city managers about how the public employee Ponzi pensions were fully funded. These rubes are pushovers for slick PowerPoint presentations from the “expert” SANDAG staff. Never does the board seek independent analysis, nor do they go back and see if they previous transportation projects met their projections.

    It appears that this measure is going down to defeat — as it should. Hopefully SANDAG has reached the end of its crooked road.

  5. Richard,

    It is called leadership and leaders speak up when the organization they are supposed to be leading commits fraud. Jim Desmond was on the Board in 2016 yet he said nothing and even voted to put the measure on the ballot. I think you were charitable when you called him “gullible.” The Board, not the staff, has fiduciary liability for the actions of the agency.

  6. To clarify:

    In 2016, Jim Desmond couldn’t have voted to place a 2004 measure on the ballot.

    The 2016 SANDAG measure, which he did vote to place on the ballot, is a can of worms, but that’s not the issue currently raising eyebrows.

    The 2004 Transnet extension is at issue — some (or lots of the) funds promised for certain projects are now being proposed for other uses, it appears. That is what these two Supervisors, as well as Dianne Jacob, are opposing.

  7. T.A.,

    Point taken but Desmond did vote to put another measure on the ballot in 2016 and had it passed, it would have had the same issue.

  8. Republican Party of San Diego says…

    Thank you Jim Desmond, Kristin Gaspar, Richard Bailey, Rebecca Jones, and Caylin Frank for standing up for taxpayers and against SANDAG’s Hasan Ikhrata’s proposed bait-and-switch to steal money specifically voter approved for roads and freeways. New mass transit projects should be put before voters as a separate ballot measure with full transparency and not raid existing funds.

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