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FCPG requests unincorporated area advisory member on SANDAG board

Joe Naiman

Village News Reporter

The Fallbrook Community Planning Group has requested that the San Diego Association of Governments board add an advisory member for San Diego County’s unincorporated areas.

A 14-0 planning group vote Jan. 16, with Anna Strahan absent, approved the sending of a letter to SANDAG requesting an advisory member from the unincorporated and predominantly rural areas for more inclusiveness in planning for the region.

“We really need to start paying attention to SANDAG and how they’re operating. We do not appear to be getting the representation that we should, especially when they disregard the majority vote and go to a weighted vote,” said planning group chair Eileen Delaney.

SANDAG has transportation planning authority for San Diego County and is also the region’s coordinated public transportation agency with oversight and responsibility for planning and programming of public transportation activities performed by the North County Transit District and Metropolitan Transit Service.

Each of San Diego County’s 18 incorporated cities has representation on the SANDAG board, and the San Diego County Board of Supervisors represents the county on the board. The City of San Diego and County of San Diego have two board members apiece but do not have additional voting power; if the two representatives disagree the weighted vote is split evenly. If one City of San Diego or County San Diego representative is absent the remaining board member’s vote constitutes the entire weighted vote.

Each jurisdiction has a weighted vote based on its population and prior to 2018 in order for a measure to pass it needed support both by a majority of voting jurisdictions and by a majority of the weighted vote.

In 2017, State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher introduced Assembly Bill 805, which was eventually passed by the state legislature and signed into law by Governor Brown. AB 805 allows a SANDAG representative to call for a weighted vote if a majority of jurisdictions do not approve a motion. Such a weighted vote override would require at least 51% of the weighted vote and support from at least four jurisdictions.

Prior to 2007, the County of San Diego only had one member on the SANDAG board. Historically the chair of the Board of Supervisors also served as the SANDAG representative, and since the chairmanship is normally rotated each year, continuity on the SANDAG board was limited to one year and in some years the SANDAG board did not truly have a representative of the unincorporated area.

In March 2004, the county supervisors endorsed changing state law to allow for a second Board of Supervisors member on the SANDAG board, clarifying that one would always be from a district composed primarily of incorporated cities while one would be from a district representing unincorporated communities.

Because the SANDAG governing structure was created by state legislation, SANDAG’s desire alone could not add the second supervisor to the SANDAG board. State Senator Christine Kehoe authored legislation to add the second County of San Diego member, and the bill had no known opposition. In January 2006, the SANDAG board unanimously voted to approve the recommendation of a second County of San Diego member on the SANDAG board contingent on the county supervisors providing the formal endorsement, which occurred on a 5-0 vote in February 2006.

Later in 2006, Kehoe’s legislation to add a second County of San Diego member was signed by Governor Schwarzenegger. Although SANDAG has no authority on issues other than transportation planning, it also serves as a coordinated multi-jurisdictional agency for issues such as population growth forecasts and criminal justice and participation by a County of San Diego representative of districts serving unincorporated areas has often provided more accurate perspectives of unincorporated communities for those subject matters.

In addition to voting members, SANDAG also has advisory members who may be added without an amendment by the state legislature. In December 2006, the SANDAG board approved a memorandum of understanding between SANDAG and the Southern California Tribal Chairmen’s Association which added SCTCA advisory membership to the SANDAG board. The tribal chair representative joined advisory board members from the California Department of Transportation, the U.S. Department of Defense, the Imperial County Board of Supervisors, the consulate of Mexico, the Metropolitan Transit System, the North County Transit District, the San Diego County Water Authority, and the San Diego Unified Port District.

SANDAG also has policy advisory committees. The Memorandum of Understanding with the Southern California Tribal Chairmen’s Association also added SCTCA representation on the Transportation, Regional Planning, and Public Safety committees. A SANDAG decision to add an unincorporated communities representative would also include potential committee representation.


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