ENCINITAS — Encinitas has been the first city in San Diego County in North County and one of those cities that are small to support.
The City Council voted 4-1 on Sept. 6 to send a letter in support of Assembly Bill 805, authored by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D-San Diego). Councilman Mark Muir voted contrary to the letter.
Encinitas joins Chula Vista, San Diego and Lemon Grove as the cities in the county to officially support the bill.
According to a news release by Gonzalez Fletcher’s office, the bill would, among other things, “alter the voting structures of SANDAG, the Metropolitan Transit System and the North County Transit District to better reflect the populations they serve; produce an Audit Committee that includes members of the people who manages a different auditor; need that SANDAG provide annual reports to the state about the region’s transit problems; permit MTS and NCTD to strategy voters to raise revenue for superior transit; demand trained and skilled workers are employed on local transport projects; and also insist that regional transport plans address greenhouse gas reduction rules and the requirements of disadvantaged communities.”
The State Senate recently voted with a 25-13 margin in support of the bill along party lines.
Gonzalez-Fletcher praised Encinitas because of its own support.
“Encinitas City Council members made the perfect choice by seeing through SANDAG’s lies about AB 805 disempowering North County,” she explained. “The status quo in SANDAG is not working and AB 805’s checks and balances are good for commuters, taxpayers, generating local jobs and the fight against climate change.”
The four council members who supported the bill — Mayor Catherine Blakespear, Deputy Mayor Tony Kranz and Contractor members Tasha Boerner Horvath and Joe Mosca — stated they supported the bill because it might allow for North County Transit District to place a taxing measure on the ballot independent of SANDAG.
Presently SANDAG has that authority, which makes it difficult for the body big taxation measures that balance the interests of the different regions of the county — and pass — to manage.
Since the step benefited South County by way of instance, North County voters voted against SANDAG recent sales tax increase proposal, Measure A.
“That is sufficient by itself for me to confirm the bill,” Kranz said. “The capacity for NCTD to place a revenue raising measure on the ballot as a region makes sense. As we discovered with Measure A, attempting to address transport issues regionally is a struggle.”
Kranz stated NCTD could use the tax capability to trench the coastal railroad corridor.
However, it’s the construction change that has ignited a lot of the dissent and criticism, as Gonzalez Fletcher’s proposal would give more energy to the region’s biggest cities, Chula Vista and San Diego.
The proposal would permit for 2 cities to call for a so-called “weighted vote” to override a previous tally vote of the body’s board of directors, which consists of a voting representative of each of the county’s 18 cities and one county supervisor. In case a voted is taken, four agents who comprise 51 percent of the majority might override the tally vote.
Presently it takes 10 cities to override a vast majority vote.
The bill initially also would have cemented the chair and vice chair positions with the town of Chula Vista and San Diego, but Gonzalez Fletcher has amended the bill to choose out the language.
Opponents have argued that the state legislature will be encroaching on the regional bureau’s liberty and have panned the bill as a “legislative overreach.”
Muir, who pointed out that Encinitas would be the town in North County stated he thought the change weakened Encinitas’ power .
He also thought that bill was written to favor labour unions, as it has a clause that would require jobs of $1 million or more to add a project labor agreement.
“I really don’t see how giving the town of San Diego or Chula Vista more power aids the town of Encinitas on regional project,” Muir said. “It seems as if we are giving away power. Everybody is against it. Politically, one would need to look at the politics of it.”
Muir said that he thought the recent internal upheaval, which contained the resignation of longtime executive director Gary Gallegos of SANDAG, reveals that SANDAG is adjusting the issues which makes the bill unnecessary.
Boerner Horvath stated she disagreed with Muir’s assertions, also contended that the weighted vote was fair since San Diego is projected to carry on most of the residential increase of the county and votes are extremely uncommon.
“Organizations don’t correct themselves,” Boerner Horvath explained. “I think that it requires powerful plank action or an external tragedy shift, and in this scenario, this is the external governance shift.”
She contended that population Encinitas’ vote in the tally situation, which can be apportioned by population, is stronger than it was before the bill’s passage.
“Perhaps we will have to agree to disagree on this one,” Boerner Horvath stated to Muir.
Blakespear added that she thought the opposition to the bill was politically motivated, as Gonzalez Fletcher is a Democrat and also most of the town councils in North County nonpartisan boards, are controlled by Republicans.
Muir is the lone Republican on Encinitas’ panel.
“There is not any denying that party politics are significant involved in this bill,” Blakespear explained. “I think there is a subtext that’s clear.”