In an investigative series, Voice of San Diego has revealed that SANDAG misled the public on two separate ballot measures. One was passed 13 years ago, after the agency told voters the tax would bring in far more than the agency actually expected.Encinitas' representative on the board at the time of both the 2016 deception and the cover-up of the 2004 deception was former ethics professor Lisa Shaffer. Shaffer fought vehemently to retain her SANDAG seat when former Mayor Kristin Gaspar attempted to appoint herself instead. Yet despite continuing to offer her opinion on public issues, Shaffer has not come forward to explain how she performed her oversight role while SANDAG was deceiving the public.
After our stories, SANDAG staff has faced questions from its board of directors and the public.
To answer them, staff members dug into the situation. In November 2016, they produced an internal presentation that explicitly spelled out how the agency had drastically scaled back the amount it expected to raise from TransNet, a 2004 ballot measure. In recent months, SANDAG staff have made a series of pronouncements about what happened that now look questionable.
The presentation not only spells out that voters were misled on the 2004 ballot, as Voice of San Diego reported earlier this month. It also shows that agency staffers were aware of the 2004 deception last year, in the weeks just after the scandal broke. But as the agency worked to explain away new revelations, it never disclosed the 2004 issue to the board or public despite repeated opportunities to do so.
In December 2016, with Mayor Catherine Blakespear now representing Encinitas at SANDAG, staff gave a 37-minute presentation on the false forecasts. VOSD has board member reactions.