SANDAG not only overstated how much money it would collect through the TransNet sales tax hike voters passed in 2004, Voice of San Diego’s Andrew Keatts has discovered the agency also severely understated the cost of local transportation projects it would fund.
The agency updated the cost of projects right when it updated the faulty forecasting Keatts first revealed in October. The projects SANDAG intended to build with TransNet are now $8 billion more expensive
The agency knew about this but held onto the information for quite some time.
Together, vastly overstating how much money it would collect and understating how expensive projects really were equal a $17 billion shortfall for the agency’s 13-year-old, voter-approved transportation program.
SANDAG’s leaders told Keatts that underestimating project costs put the agency in a better position for getting outside state and federal funding.
All Eyes on the Border
With international attention on President Donal Trump’s push to build a border wall and increase deportation efforts, San Diego’s border-front location means our city makes its way into media headlines more often.
This week, our fair city makes an appearance in the latest episode of the Center for Investigative Reporting’s Reveal podcast, which drops in on border towns that already have walls built.
We also get a mention in this Associated Press explainer that details the deportation process.
And across the border wall in Tijuana, where thousands of Haitians are stranded now without much chance of ever crossing into the United States, Mexican officials have announced a program offering to help refugees return to the countries from which they came. (ReliefWeb)
• San Diego Democratic Rep. Scott Peters and Texas Republican Rep. Will Hurd are on opposite sides of the political fence, but they both represent border regions and see eye-to-eye when it comes to opposing the border wall and the importance of protecting binational collaboration and economic interests. The U-T talks to Peters, Hurd and other lawmakers, and paints a picture of the “bipartisan collaboration that border issues have inspired.”
Localized DNA Databases Skirt Regulations
More police agencies across the country are creating their own local DNA databases, a move that allows them to avoid state and federal regulations governing these types of sensitive repositories.
The AP reports on the practice and highlights both the benefits to police agencies (they say they can solve crimes faster) and the concerns (the agencies create their own rules, which means they can collect DNA samples from children or people who’ve never committed a crime).
A few weeks ago, Voice of San Diego contributor Kelly Davis broke the story about the San Diego Police Department’s local DNA database, and its governing policy that says officers can collect DNA samples from kids and just about anyone as long as the profile remains in the local database.
Weekend News Roundup
• VOSD’s Mario Koran joined NBC 7’s Marianne Kushi for a Politically Speaking segment about what happens now that California voters approved Prop. 58, clearing obstacles for bilingual education in schools.
• The U-T reports that, right as San Diego Unified SChool District faces severe financial problems and questions about the quality of its facilities despite major investments in them, the district is going to gut its internal auditing team.
• The U-T’s Michael Smolens leads his latest column with a summary of a budding feud at City Hall, with City Councilmembers Scott Sherman and Chris Cate on one side and City Attorney Mara Elliott on the other. Essentially, Sherman and Cate are accusing Elliott of bringing Washington D.C. politics to San Diego by approaching the City Council about signing on to high-profile cases, like the one against Trump’s refugee travel ban.
• You’d think all the cranes and construction sites downtown might mean that a ton of new office space will be coming online over the next few years. But most of the projects going up right now are mixed-use commercial and residential, because developers don’t like to build office space when the vacancy rate hovers above 10 percent like it has in San Diego for years. The U-T’s Roger Showley explains why the growing co-working trend could mean the end of San Diego’s long-running office glut.
• This CNET travel writer was clearly impressed by his recent trip to the the San Diego Maritime Museum.
• Two pro-Trump rallies were held in San Diego and other cities and towns across the country on Saturday. (NBC7)
• Also on Saturday, protestors met in Ocean Beach to spell out anti-Trump messages on the beach.
• The beach in Coronado opened back up to swimmers and surfers Sunday after being closed after the huge sewage spill in Tijuana last week. Beaches south of Coronado remain closed. (Fox5)
• A new report says early April is the best time to sell a home in San Diego. (Times of San Diego)
• Time to dig out your summer clothes: the temperature’s gonna crank way up this week.