In the week since we reported SANDAG executives knew its revenue forecast had a crucial flaw before it asked voters to approve a tax hike, the agency has tried on a handful of explanations.
The basic response from SANDAG executives is that they knew there was a problem with the forecasting model, but they didn’t realize it was connected to revenue expectations for Measure A, which voters nonetheless rejected in November. They’ve since acknowledged the flawed forecast overstated expected revenue by roughly $4 billion.
“There was no connection drawn between that and the bigger picture revenue forecast for TransNet or Measure A,” SANDAG executive director Gary Gallegos wrote in a letter to agency board members, obtained by Voice of San Diego.
Internal emails and a presentation given to executives in December 2015, though, contradict that claim.
When SANDAG staffers found the problem and presented it to agency executives, they explicitly and unequivocally connected the forecast’s error and how much the agency could raise in its sales taxes.
There was a whole slide dedicated to it. It was even titled “Projected TransNet Revenues.” TransNet is SANDAG’s existing tax program. Measure A would have been just like it.
Sacramento Report: San Diego Legislators Aim Big
Friday marked the deadline to introduce new bills in the state Legislature, and some of San Diego’s delegation is proposing some big initiatives.
For one, state Sen. Toni Atkins is co-sponsoring a bill that would provide universal, single-payer health care across the state. That bill’s light on details at the moment, but Atkins and co-sponsor Sen. Ricardo Lara said they are pushing the ambitious measure as Republicans at the national level, led by President Donald Trump, are figuring out how and when they can repeal or dismantle the Affordable Care Act.
In this week’s dispatch from the Capitol, Sara Libby covers that as well as two bills from local representatives – Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher and Assemblyman Rocky Chavez – aimed at filling a donut hole in the state’s subsidies for child care.
Now, families can almost be incentivized against getting modest raises, because it would price them out of eligibility for child care reserved for very low-income residents.
The two bills have some differences, but both would update the wage standards for qualification (a family with two earners making minimum wage often doesn’t qualify), and ease people who receive raises out of the program, instead of forcing them to pull their kids out of daycare as soon as they get a raise.
Podcast: Fake News and Fake Immigrant Protections
On this week’s episode of the Voice of San Diego podcast, Scott Lewis and I talked about a term that has quickly lost all meaning entirely: fake news. Lewis hammered out a basic taxonomy of terms that fall within the overall umbrella to try to differentiate related issues from the OG meaning: fabricating information to profit financially or politically.
We also went over our increasing discomfort with the prevalence of the term “sanctuary city” being applied to places that routinely deport lots and lots of immigrants – even ones who haven’t been arrested for violent crimes. As leaders from states, cities and school districts try to assure their constituents that they’ll protect them from new federal policies, they’re increasingly making false promises.
We were joined by Peter Callstrom, CEO of the San Diego Workforce Partnership, and Clare Crawford, executive director of the Center on Policy Initiatives. They broke down for us how the Department of Labor matters to their efforts in San Diego, and how the new secretary of that department should change things.
Ice Cube’s Diss Track for San Diego
I feel sad after watching this video from famous L.A. rapper Ice Cube directed at San Diego.
“San Diego, please stop sending us your trash,” Cube said.
He didn’t even try to be clever or rhyme or anything. He just said the Clippers and Chargers are garbage and he’s sick of us sending our junk up north. That was the whole thing.
Cube even told us to keep the Zoo. Did he mean the Zoo is trash? I really like the zoo.
In Other News
• San Diego hasn’t been notifying affordable housing developers when it sells off excess land. State law requires cities to make their property available to other public agencies before selling it. And, they’re supposed to give affordable housing developers a chance to buy it too, but the private developers need to submit a written request to receive those notifications. No one has done that, and the city didn’t try to reach out to anyone on its own. The only group that builds affordable housing that has been notified of upcoming land sales is the city’s Housing Commission, which turned down all the offers. (Union-Tribune)
• KPBS profiled Chris Ward, the newly elected councilman for District 3. Ward calls himself an “open-minded progressive.” (KPBS)
• An analysis by inewsource found that without the Affordable Care Act or a replacement of some kind, some 370,000 people in San Diego could find themselves without health care coverage. (inewsource)
• San Diego attracted more tourists last year than ever before. (Union-Tribune)
The Week’s Top Stories
These were the most popular Voice of San Diego stories for the week of Feb. 11-Feb. 17. Click here to see the full top 10.
1. Opinion: San Diego Is Taking a Backward Approach to Qualcomm Stadium
Instead of signing off on developers’ plans, San Diego should collectively assess what it wants out of the stadium space, then come up with a plan of action to achieve it. (Howard M. Blackson)
2. SDPD Finds a Way Around State Law Limiting DNA Collection From Juveniles
Last year, police stopped a group of boys in Logan Heights for wearing blue and walking in a public park. They collected DNA swabs from all of them, despite a state law that would seemingly prevent them from doing so. A new lawsuit from the family of one of the boys is challenging department policy. (Kelly Davis)
3. North County Report: Issa Praises Trump, Faces Heat at Home
Pressure is growing in the 49th and 50th congressional districts, Encina power station will keep burning longer than planned, federal data used by North County activists and politicians goes dark and more in our weekly roundup of news from North County. (Ruarri Serpa)
4. San Diego’s Art Scene Can’t Stop Asking Itself: ‘What’s Wrong With Me?’
For years, folks have been organizing panels and discussions on why San Diego doesn’t have a more vibrant arts scene. Here are 10 points that continually resurface in the arts world’s neverending soul-searching quest. (Kinsee Morlan)
5. Developers See a Market for Senior Care Across the Border
Facilities like Serena Senior Care in Rosarito, where about 75 percent of clients are American, are at the forefront of what could become a growing trend in Southern California senior care. (Maya Srikrishnan)