The San Diego Association of Governments is moving ahead with a ballot initiative that would hike sales taxes to pay for more transportation projects throughout the county.

Earlier this year, SANDAG representatives went on a promotional tour touting the plan to various city councils in North County, and were largely met with skepticism. City councils bemoaned projects that never came to fruition, and were worried that North County wasn’t going to see its share of the money.

North County electeds generally want to see higher priority for highways in this area, like the Interstate 5 and Highway 78 widening projects, and re-working the interchanges on the 78 at Interstates 5 and 15.

They also decry certain transportation projects in the far-off city of San Diego ‒ yeah, Skyway gondola-thing, they’re talking about you.

Those sentiments were shared by Mayor Sam Abed, who is running for county supervisor in District 3, Poway Mayor Steve Vaus and Supervisor Bill Horn, who all voted against the sales tax increase. Encinitas Mayor Kristin Gaspar, also a candidate for District 3, opposed the measure, but is not the city’s representative on SANDAG.

Abed, et al. argue that transit projects are good, but that North County needs more money for roads. Why should North County taxpayers subsidize transportation in San Diego?

This week, Maya Srikrishnan fact-checked that argument and provided some context for the conversation. She found Abed’s statements to be a stretch of the truth, namely because North County residents do benefit from projects outside North County, with our tendency to work in other cities, like San Diego.

• The Union-Tribune’s Joshua Stewart also fact-checked the D3 candidates, and found all three were fluffing their resumes.

Stewart found Gaspar’s claims to be an educator are exaggerated, and Supervisor Dave Roberts made his demotion, from vice chairman to chairman pro tem of the Board of Supervisors, actually look like a promotion.

Meanwhile, Abed takes credit (it’s right there on his homepage) for turning around a budget deficit that never existed, writes Stewart.

Surprising no one, the candidates did not react well to being called out – they took turns bemoaning the Union-Tribune piece at a debate Tuesday night, writes the Times of San Diego.

Oceanside’s Fire Chief Retires

Public safety is a tough subject in North County, where cities are still dealing with mushrooming populations, and building out suburban neighborhoods.

In Oceanside, Fire Chief Darryl Hebert has been vocal about the need to increase the number of personnel in the department as the city continues to build. Things got even more complicated in 2013, when Carlsbad approved a 600-home development on a parcel of land that can only be accessed through Oceanside, and relied on its neighbor’s fire station to meet the mandated response times.

Hebert’s requests for more public-safety personnel, combined with comments about recent layoffs of grant-funded positions, have provoked the ire of the budget-conscious City Council.

Last Thursday, he announced his immediate retirement.

Also in the News

• With all the talk about Rep. Darrell Issa joining Team Trump, I missed this op-ed last week where the congressman spoke out against civil forfeiture. (L.A. Times)

• The Del Mar City Council thinks 20-year plans to alter Camino Del Mar (Highway 101) are moving too quickly. (The Coast News)

• Residents are still trying to rebuild after 2014’s Poinsettia and Cocos fires. (Union-Tribune)

• Poway Unified botched a public records request, and released over 30,000 students’ records, instead of just the one that was requested. (Union-Tribune)

• The Union-Tribune profiles a minor league baseball player from Oceanside, who spent a month in jail after he was wrongfully convicted of two robberies in 1991. (Union-Tribune)

• Del Mar says it can’t regulate motorcycle noise. (The Coast News)

Ruarri Serpa

Ruarri Serpa is a freelance writer in Oceanside. Email him at and find him on Twitter at @RuarriS.

Leave a comment

We expect all commenters to be constructive and civil. We reserve the right to delete comments without explanation. You are welcome to flag comments to us. You are welcome to submit an opinion piece for our editors to review.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.