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Where’s the one place in San Diego where politicians of all stripes seem to come together and agree? No, it’s not a trick question. The answer is the SANDAG board.
The board for the regional transit planning agency is made up of elected officials from all over San Diego County. They deal with an enormous amount of money and make decisions that will affect residents decades into the future – yet there’s remarkable unity to their votes.
That’s not necessarily because they all think the same and sing kumbaya together. Some members are afraid to go against the grain for fear of losing out on money for their city, writes Andrew Keatts. And the staff members for SANDAG have huge pull over decisions.
• Earlier this week, Keatts talked with the one guy who voted against keeping the fight for SANDAG’s big transportation plan alive. Chuck Lowery thinks the plan has room to improve.
The Snub Heard ‘Round San Diego
Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez says she didn’t get snubbed with her new committee position in Sacramento: vice chair of the Local Government committee. Speaker Toni Atkins, who doled out the assignments, also says it’s not a snub. But Brian Joseph lays out some pretty compelling evidence to the contrary in the latest Sacramento Report.
Zapf Staffer Under Fire
Earlier this week, a group of demonstrators rallied outside Golden Hall to protest the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner at the hands of police. Their protest took place as City Council members were being inaugurated. KPBS has a photo of children at the protest wearing hoodies that say, “Don’t Shoot.”
That’s what makes comments from a staff member of Councilwoman Lorie Zapf in response to the protest so disturbing. According to KPBS: Zapf’s “community representative Shirley Owen called the protesters “f—— idiots with their hands up” and said ‘I wanted to shoot them.’”
Zapf didn’t speak to KPBS, but she issued a statement late Friday saying the Owen would be suspended without pay for two weeks.
KPBS’s Tarryn Mento, who wrote the story, explained how she overheard the comments in a bit more detail on Twitter.
The Council Looks Forward …
New Council President Sherri Lightner tweeted the docket for Monday’s meeting, where Council members will be appointed to various outside boards and internal committees. Lightner recommends Marti Emerald to serve as Council president pro tem, and Todd Gloria, who she ousted as president earlier this week, to serve as budget chair.
… Journalists Look Back
NBC San Diego offers more details about what went on behind the scenes to engineer the swap from Gloria for Lightner as Council president. Different groups of Council members met in a series of private meetings, which triggered some open meetings laws concerns that NBC has forwarded to the city attorney.
Gloria told NBC that he doesn’t take the move personally, but he doesn’t sound all that happy either: “The nuts and bolts, the gears of this city have been running incredibly smoothly, which is why it’s disconcerting that we would try to make a change when things are finally hitting stride and we’re doing well.”
What We Learned This Week
• Local Republicans haven’t figured out a cohesive answer to how they’ll address poverty.
• Scott Barnett doesn’t think he got much done on the school board.
• SDPD trumpeted the arrival of its body cameras as a win for transparency. Now it says they’re mostly just for evidence.
• Parents in San Diego Unified want more say over changes to the school calendar.
Quick News Hits
• A day after SeaWorld’s CEO resigned, hundreds of employees were given pink slips. (NBC San Diego)
• This photo of rain outside Qualcomm Stadium is pretty nuts.
Departing Interns of the Week
Instead of a Quote of the Week, I want to shout-out our two college interns, Matt Hose from USD and Michelle Monroy from SDSU, who ended their run at VOSD this week. Check out some of their best stories here and here. The kids are all right, children are our future, etc. etc.