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Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
North County Times
May 20, 2001


I read something last week that scared the hell out of me. As the region continues to grow it would only make sense that the number of elected representatives should increase, as the population grows, no fuzzy math here. So when members of the Regional Government Efficiency Commission suggested that it might be time to expand the San Diego Board of Supervisors to help meet regional needs, little trepidation resulted was felt on my part. Then I read on.

It seems Carlsbad city councilwoman Ramona" let them eat cake" Finnila , who as a member of the "governance working group" as suggested making San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG)the new regional government. Did I mention that Ms. Finnila also serves as chairwomen of SANDAG's board of directors? Ms. Finnila honestly believes if put to a vote, residents would allow the pro-growth SANDAG to take control of the region's water resources, transportation planning, landfills, habitat conservation, air pollution, and city boundaries. According to Encinitas City Councilman Jerome Stocks the outcome of such a process would be the exact opposite of local control. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

I realize that the San Diego region has a lot of problems, this is in the most part a result of lack of constraint and environmental consideration on the part of SANDAG. The proverbial fox in the hen house if allowed those currently calling the shots in the region would damn future residents to a lingering hell. One that would make our current predicament seems like a day at Disneyland.

Speaking of waiting in line for hours. At the recent transportation summit hosted by Supervisor Bill Horn, SANDAG's cheerleader in chief Joe Killijian was again banging the same old drum to beat of more roads means less congestion. And how does he propose we pay for this ever-expanding asphalt. Joe with his buddies in the growth at all costs club, were advocating for an extension of the Transnet tax to fund road widening and future highways, that will only bisect already established communities. This is what the good ol` boys call planning.

My question is why would voters allow them to be taxed to expand an infrastructure that is doom to fail under the weight on uncontrolled growth. In early May SANDAG released a study saying that growth can not be controlled. I that is the case it is time to stop subsidizing forms of transportation that are destined for gridlock and start making the shift towards sustainable forms of mass transit.

When I asked Encinitas Councilman Stocks his position on extending the Transnet tax he said there is not a valid nexus between a general sales tax and transportation funding. Instead he suggests a proper tax would be an additional tax on gas or tires, things more directly related to wear and tear on roads. When I suggested increasing the sales tax on all new vehicles purchased he just restated his previous statement. Personally I like Jerry Harmon's idea to require all new development to pay for any needed road expansions.

One way or another we need to get people out of their cars and on to mass transit. And the only way to do that is to start building a comprehensive regional mass transit systems. Something SANDAG is unwilling to do, let alone advocate for.

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