Proposition MM and the new extension bond, Proposition S, both work extraordinarily hard to earn the trust of taxpayers. Lou Smith, one of the lynchpins of Prop. MM’s successful project management, used to continually remind staff about the urgent importance of properly shepherding Prop MM. Let me tell you, Lou was not someone with whom you wanted to argue.

Prop MM was the recipient of two Golden Watchdog Awards from the San Diego County Taxpayers Associations for its fiscal management, as well as the recipient of numerous other awards throughout its ten-year lifespan. In fact, Prop. MM was so successfully managed that the school district was able to lower the tax rate from $98 to $67 per $100,000, ultimately saving taxpayers $83 million. That new tax rate will be maintained under Prop. S, so there will be no new taxes. Remarkably, Proposition MM has also been delivered on time and on budget. There are no other government projects that have been so successfully managed.

If you saw my previous post, I talk about the bulletin boards that we all put up inside our heads, our values and preconceived ideas that sometimes do not line up directly with reality. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately for taxpayers, the incompetence of government seems to be one of those bulletin boards that we all have inside our heads, which is why Proposition MM and its new extension bond, Proposition S, both come with rather extraordinary safeguards.

If you would like to know more about how Prop MM funds were spent, please visit the Independent Citizens Oversight Committee’s website, to read eight years of annual reports with sections on the required annual financial audits. If you would like to read the actual audits, please contact the San Diego Unified School District’s Facilities Department and they will proudly give you copies. If you really want a thorough homework assignment, ask them for the documentation they presented to the San Diego County Taxpayers Association, and you can be sure you left no stone unturned.

Also available on the website are minutes from monthly committee meetings and subcommittee meetings. You will also find a separate study of the replacement fencing program. offers the most comprehensive analysis of how funds were spent in this important program with oversight by leading citizens in our community, including representatives from the PTA, the San Diego County Taxpayers Association, the Chamber of Commerce and the American Society of Civil Engineers, among many others. To suggest that these volunteer leaders from our community didn’t provide proper oversight, people who have overseen this project without compensation and little acclaim other than the acknowledgement of a documented job well done, is to do them a grave disservice.

We shouldn’t let perfect be the enemy of the good. A public works project of this size requires assurance and diligence that its intent will be carried out. It was understood from the beginning that Proposition MM would need to meet that standard and it has become a model for the state, as referenced in my earlier post. Prop S will continue to meet and exceed those standards. To learn more, please visit


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