The Morning Report
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SANDAG has ditched its flawed forecast and now uses a new one to predict how much tax revenue it will bring in to pay for transportation projects across the region.
The corrected forecast makes clear what we first reported back in October: Transnet, a sales tax hike approved in 2004, is on track to collect $9 billion – not the $14 billion voters were promised, Andrew Keatts reports.
On Friday, SANDAG board members voted to kick off an independent investigation into the events that led the agency to tell voters that Measure A, another sales tax measure rejected in November, would bring in $18 billion when they knew it would actually bring in far less.
In the Friday board meeting, SANDAG officials conceded that its forecast had contained a crucial error, but still insisted its leaders did not knowingly deceive voters in November because they didn’t know there was a connection between the forecasting flaw and the Measure A number. In his latest story, Keatts pokes some big holes in that reasoning.
• In the Sacramento Report, Keatts runs down Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher’s plan to reform SANDAG.
Gonzalez Fletcher isn’t quite sure yet what the plan will look like, but it “could include changes to the board’s organizational or voting structure.”
Assemblyman Todd Gloria, who used to be a member of the SANDAG board, is meanwhile pushing a bill that would let the agency collect tax money from only certain parts of the county, instead of having to get the entire region to sign off.
Also in the Sac Report: Assemblywoman Shirley Weber on Dems’ transportation plan, Assemblyman Randy Voepel on Republicans’ transportation plan, Sen. Toni Atkins voices outrage over President Trump’s transgender bathroom decision and Sen. Pat Bates voices outrage at Democrats who silenced a GOP lawmaker.
VOSD Radio: The 3 Big Challenges Facing the Soccer Stadium Plan
On the latest episode of the VOSD podcast, Scott Lewis lays out the three big challenges facing the SoccerCity proposal for the Qualcomm Stadium site: NIMBYs and environmentalists, rival investors and politicians concerned about how public land is developed.
Nick Stone, partner with FS Investors, describes how his group will respond to each. Stone’s group wants to replace Qualcomm Stadium with a new joint-use soccer and San Diego State football stadium and develop new housing and entertainment on the adjacent land. SDSU is not very impressed with the plan. Stone says it should be.
More on SD Schools Cuts
KPBS’s Megan Burks shed some light how impending layoffs at San Diego Unified School District will affect special education efforts.
“The district plans to lay off 10 occupational therapy assistants, leaving 25 among its ranks,” Burks reported. Other cuts at individual school sites might occur as well.
District officials insisted that the cuts would not affect individual education plans for students with special needs.
Opinion: Time for SDPD to Double Down on Data
On Monday, the San Diego City Council will at long last get the final version of a long-delayed study on who gets pulled over by San Diego police.
Initial findings from the study show “black and Latino drivers are stopped, searched and questioned at rates higher than their share of the San Diego population,” writes Assemblywoman Shirley Weber in a new Voice of San Diego op-ed.
Weber wrote and passed a bill in 2015 that will eventually require law enforcement agencies across the state to collect data on who they stop, in order to identify and guard against racial profiling.
SDPD should show it takes racial profiling seriously by adopting the law’s requirements ahead of schedule, Weber argues.
Quick News Hits
• The Sacramento Bee is the latest news outlet to say Mayor Kevin Faulconer isn’t running for governor despite pleas from Republicans.
The thing is, though, I’ve read about 100 of these stories, and can’t find a single one in which Faulconer actually says unequivocally that he’s not running for governor. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
• Border Patrol officials said they plan to start awarding contracts to construct the border wall between the U.S. and Mexico by mid-April. (Associated Press)
• San Diego Magazine says these are the seven best neighborhoods in San Diego.
The Week’s Top Stories
These were the most popular Voice of San Diego stories for the week of Feb. 18-Feb. 24. Click here to see the full top 10.
1. Neither San Diego – Nor California – Is a Sanctuary for the Undocumented
In fiscal year 2016, the San Diego Field Office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement removed 23,729 people from the United States. More than 12,8oo of them had no criminal convictions at all. (Scott Lewis)
2. A Reader’s Guide to the SANDAG Scandal
The saga involving the San Diego Association of Governments can get convoluted pretty quickly. First, there’s the fact that SANDAG is not too familiar to many people. Then there’s the fact that the scandal centers on some complex stuff, namely economic forecasts and what goes into them. The fundamental issue at hand, though, is not complex: A powerful government agency knowingly misled the public. And that’s worth understanding. (Sara Libby)
3. Jacobs Center, Southeastern San Diego Landholder, Sheds Key Staff in Upheaval
The Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation, which promised years ago to develop 60 acres in southeastern San Diego, has been forced to fundamentally change its development vision and to significantly pare down operations. (Lisa Halverstadt)
4. There’s a Major Flaw in SANDAG’s Explanation of Its Scandal
SANDAG is claiming it did not know a forecasting error staffers discovered in 2015 would ultimately lead to voters being offered a false promise in 2016. But the agency’s own staffers made clear to SANDAG executives the two went hand in hand. (Andrew Keatts)
5. 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)