The San Diego Association of Governments, Metropolitan Transit System, county Board of Supervisors and San Diego Unified School District were named as finalists Thursday for the annual Regional Golden Fleece Award issued by the San Diego County Taxpayers Association.
SANDAG was nominated for it’s Measure A fiasco, in which staff discovered that financial projections for its proposed sales tax hike were erroneous but failed to inform board members prior to the election. The proposition, which would have funded infrastructure projects around the county, failed to reach the two-thirds support required at the ballot box in November.
Voice of San Diego reporter Andrew Keatts, who uncovered the flawed estimate, was nominated for a Media Watchdog Award.
The MTS, which operates San Diego buses and trolleys, was named for continuing to make passengers use their obsolete Compass Cards, which have security flaws and don’t allow holders to store value, forcing them to fill the card for each trip.
The SDCTA, which will issue its awards at a sold-out dinner next week, called out the supervisors for giving themselves a pay raise that will boost their pensions. Four of the five board members are leaving office in upcoming years because a term-limit law is taking effect.
The entry for the fiscally challenged San Diego Unified School District simply said, “Where Do We Start?”
The cities of Poway and San Diego, and Escondido City Council, were nominated in the Metro Golden Fleece category for various problems.
Also nominated in the media category were Wendy Fry of NBC San Diego for reporting on water quality at schools, and Ashley McGlone of the Voice of San Diego for coverage of issues with turf contracting at San Diego Unified.
The taxpayers’ group also made nominations for Golden Watchdog Awards as examples of government fiscal excellence. Among them were the city of San Diego for the work of its Performance and Analytics Department, the Sweetwater Authority — a South Bay water district — for adopting zero-based budgeting, and the Helix Water District for the campground and recreation program at Lake Jennings in Lakeside.
The SDCTA also nominated the city of San Diego and Padres for a public- private partnership award for last year’s Major League Baseball All-Star Game.
The dinner, at the Hard Rock Hotel, is famous among political insiders for introductory videos in which elected officials make fun of their public reputations.
“The theme for this year’s dinner is `Make the 80s Great Again,’ and we have some excellent video skits planned that feature elected officials and other well-known San Diegans,: said Haney Hong, president and CEO of the association. The Goldens go beyond recognizing the good and the bad in local government — they are widely considered San Diego’s Academy Awards for those in government, business and community relations.”
—City News Service