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In all the debate over Measure A, SANDAG’s proposed sales tax hike to fund transportation, transit and preservation projects, everyone has accepted as a fact the agency’s claim that the measure would bring in $18 billion.
The only problem: There’s a good chance it won’t.
One reason we know this is because SANDAG’s last sales tax hike, Transnet, is on track to fall billions shorter than what officials promised voters that measure would bring in, throwing into question whether the agency will have the money to fund all the projects it promised.
In a major new investigation, Andrew Keatts reveals that SANDAG could be $5 billion short on Transnet. And he confirmed that if Measure A is approved, money from it could go to backfill the Transnet shortfall. A SANDAG official said he doesn’t think it will come to that.
SANDAG has only acknowledged the shortfall in one place – hundreds of pages into a document it sent to an oversight committee. That document took multiple steps to obscure the severity of the shortfall.
Even if you set the Transnet shortfall aside, there’s another reason Measure A is unlikely to raise what officials say it will: SANDAG is counting on an unprecedented raise in spending in order for the $18 billion figure to come true.
Outlook Not So Good for Chargers’ Convadium Bid
Even the Chargers’ owners are saying chances are slim that Measure C, the hotel-tax increase that would fund a new convadium, will get the two-thirds vote needed to pass.
CBS Sports reports that anonymous sources present at a recent NFL ownership meeting said Chargers owners admitted to bleak odds of passing the ballot measure in November. The sources said the team thinks it might get a little more than 50 percent of the vote, which isn’t enough to pass a tax increase but might show city leadership how popular the team is and get them moving quicker toward the goal of building the Chargers a new stadium at some point.
Meanwhile, in Nevada, the governor recently signed into law a bill that will raise hotel-room taxes to fund a new football stadium in Las Vegas. Forbes contributor Patrick Gleason rails against the deal and every other taxpayer-funded stadium deal like it. He thinks the Chargers’ Measure C is misleading and forces Comic-Con visitors and other travelers to foot the bill for a facility they’ll likely never step foot in.
“The whole purpose of financing a football stadium with higher hotel taxes is to get the project paid for predominantly by those who will never use or benefit from it. Sound fair? I didn’t think so,” he wrote.
He said a better method is to have team owners pay for new stadiums themselves by raising extra revenue through ticket surcharges.
The Pure Water Pitch
The city of San Diego named Oct. 22 “Pure Water Day” and invited folks to the North City Water Reclamation Plant to taste-test sewer water that’s been cleaned and made drinkable. Snow cones and kettle corn were also served, and people took tours of the water treatment plant. (CBS 8 San Diego)
Eventually, the city would like its Pure Water program to produce one-third of San Diego’s water supply.
But as Ry Rivard reported last week, the program is hitting some roadblocks at a crucial time as smaller cities around the county object to paying increased costs to fund Pure Water.
Weekend News Roundup
• Thousands of soldiers who signed up for the California National Guard and got big enlistment bonuses are now being forced to pay that money back after an audit revealed widespread overpayments and fraud. (L.A. Times)
• The U-T showed up at a rally and march in City Heights Saturday that was part of a national day of protest against police brutality and got a handful of stories from local family members of people who’ve been shot by police.
• A homeless man who was sleeping under a tree near Interstate 8 was killed Saturday when a driver lost control of his car and ran him over. (Fox 5 San Diego)
Earlier this year, we surveyed some of the region’s homeless camps and found several people who had set up encampments in unsafe nooks near freeways.
• Crews broke ground on a new trolley line over the weekend. Nine new stops will be added over the next five years throughout University City and UC San Diego region. (NBC 7 San Diego)
• U-T columnist Logan Jenkins gives props to Escondido leaders for pushing toward a goal of opening a new library near Grape Day Park. City leaders in Carlsbad, though, get Jenkins’ disapproval for taking too long to take down an illegal Christian cross that went up in a city park.
• The Associated Press reports that California’s second-longest river will have water flowing through it year-round for the first time in more than six decades. The eventual goal is to get salmon swimming through the river again, but costs are ballooning and it’s taking a lot longer than originally thought.
• Mayor Kevin Faulconer is helping promote a big annual event in Tijuana that’s meant to show off the innovative, creative and business side of the border city. (Times of San Diego)
• A San Diego produce company owned by a drug cartel played a small role in this story about how one cartel ran its money laundering operation. (Associated Press)
San Diego Social Media Moments
• This BB-8 droid made from pumpkins makes me want to drive up to Carlsbad for my pumpkin patch needs this season.
• These photos from the annual Day of the Dead festival in Sherman Heights are rad.