Over the next eight years, the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) needed to pass three different tax increases. These increases would fund the grandest of their plans to improve transportation for the whole region and update the ways we get around, large and small.

But this week, the first of those three initiatives failed. And it failed fast.

A group pushed a citizen’s initiative to get this thing on the November 2022 ballot so it could pass with a lower threshold (simple majority) and get the plan rolling.

However, as VOSD hosts Scott Lewis and Andrew Keatts laid out in a recent story and on this week’s show, the measure died prematurely by failing to get enough legit signatures from residents. Now, after thousands of dollars spent, thousands of signatures gathered and tossed, where does SANDAG and its executive director, Hasan Ikhrata, go from here?

On the second half of the pod, Keatts, Lewis and co-host Andrea Lopez-Villafaña discuss what went wrong and what’s next.

High Hopes

A major development in housing bubbled up this week.

As reported by Jennifer Van Grove of the Union-Tribune, the State of California has opened the door to tall, dense housing where it’s currently forbidden — issuing a letter that argues state law trumps local zoning rules if the project in question includes affordable housing.

Here’s the deal: An affordable housing developer proposed to build an apartment building that would be taller than the 30-foot height limit for the Mission Bay area. Last week, the developer got that “all-clear” letter from California’s Department of Housing and Community Development to bust through that limit, which has been protected by a local law (the coastal height limit we’ve talked about a lot on the show).

Could this be a change in the wind for housing, arguably the most pressing issue in the region? Let’s get into it.

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Nate John

Nate John is the digital manager at Voice of San Diego. He oversees Voice's website, newsletters, podcasts and product team. You can reach him at nate@vosd.org.

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  1. Did state senate Toni Atkin’s office put any pressure on the state’s housing department on behalf of this developer? What relationship does this developer have with Toni and her wife, who is also a housing developer consultant?

  2. The voters did have their say, loud and clear. By not support a ballot initiative with enough signatures to even get on the ballot, the voters are saying SANDAG is on the wrong track.

    SANDAG needs to start over and come up with a transportation plan that San Diego needs, not what Mr. Ikhrata thinks we should have.

    Speaking of Mr. Ikhrata, it is evident he is out of touch with San Diego. He should be encouraged to be successful somewhere else, take his senior staff with him when he goes.

  3. “…where does SANDAG and it’s executive director, Hasan Ikhrata, go from here?”. He can go anywhere, as long as he just goes away.

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