That’s what the San Diego Association of Governments’ chief economist Ray Major wrote in an email when he found out that the agency’s economic forecasts had problems – big ones that overstated how much revenue a sales tax would bring in to fund local transportation projects.
VOSD’s Andrew Keatts finally got a hold of emails that reveal that Major and other top SANDAG officials knew about the faulty economic forecasts almost a year before they put Measure A on the 2016 ballot.
Measure A, you’ll remember, would have raised the sales tax by a half cent. SANDAG officials used that projection to promise San Diego voters it would raise $18 billion and fund all kinds of transportation and open space projects.
But the newly uncovered emails show that SANDAG staffers knew the $18 billion was unrealistic a year ago. Yet instead of informing the agency’s board, or the watchdog group overseeing a previous tax increase, or voters, they plowed forward, misleading the public in the process.
SANDAG’s executive team told Keatts that only when our story about the shortfall came out did they recognize its significance.
Our Scott Lewis previously wrote that if we learned this was true — that they knew — it would be a scandal.
SANDAG leaders continue to tell the public that they still think they can find the money to build all the projects they promised the public in 2004.
Yes, the projection of what a 2004 sales tax increase would raise used the same assumptions and is billions off too.
Showing Trump They Mean Border Business
On Monday morning, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and Tijuana Mayor Juan Manuel Gastélum are scheduled to hold a press conference meant to tout the strength of a binational economy.
Business leaders from both sides of the border will join them to talk about the “importance of the megaregion’s strong economic and cultural ties,” according to the press release.
The subtext, of course, is President Donald Trump. Faulconer and Gastélum are signaling that they’re not down any actions that mess with border business.
Other city’s mayors have certainly come out with stronger messages for the president. What do you think the mayor and other San Diego representatives should be doing? Shoot me an email and let me know. Include your full name, neighborhood of residence and a short one-line bio and I may include your answer in an upcoming post.
• In his column, U-T writer Michael Smolens touches on a few of the careful responses to Trump’s refugee ban by San Diego politicians like Rep. Darrell Issa, who was “extremely disappointed” by how the policy was rolled out, but stopped short of criticizing the policy itself.
• Trump’s refugee ban was temporarily halted by a federal judge, but the executive order continues to have a big impact. The U-T talks to some San Diego refugees and a few of the agencies that serve them about the continued reverberations from Trump’s actions.
Weekend News Roundup
• Californians pay more for just about everything, including electricity. An investigation by the Los Angeles Times digs into the state’s excessive power problem.
• Folks who live on Charger Boulevard in San Diego’s Clairemont neighborhood say now that the team is gone, it’s time to rename the street. Speaking of the team, Chargers administrative employees have a March 15 deadline to decide if they’ll go to L.A. or accept severance pay. (U-T)
• San Diego Superior Court judge Gary Kreep is heading to court this week where he’ll face allegations of judicial misconduct. (U-T)
• Protests in Tijuana over gas prices again prompted officials to close the San Ysidro Port of Entry. (U-T)
• U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents in San Diego are detaining more families at the border. A new report shows that in the first fiscal quarter of 2017, the number is up 246 percent from 2016. (NBC 7 San Diego)
• The Mid-Coast Trolley extension project is underway, and people have lots of thoughts and complaints about what should happen at the planned trolley station at Balboa Avenue. (Reader)
• San Diego judge and former city councilman Ross Tharp has died. (U-T)
• San Diego native Terrell Davis was voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. (U-T)
Social Media Moments
• Rep. Todd Gloria and I had our eyes on the same prize during the Super Bowl game Sunday.
• Winter in our city sure is purty.
Kinsee Morlan is the Engagement Editor at Voice of San Diego and author of the Culture Report. Contact her directly at email@example.com. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter. Subscribe to her podcast.