Head of SANDAG to Step Down

The executive director of the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) has asked the board to approve his immediate retirement this Friday. Gary Gallegos’ request follows shocking revelations of wrongdoing by SANDAG staff, including claims they mislead voters about revenue projections for a proposed ballot initiative and destroyed emails and other public records to cover their tracks.

An independent investigative report commissioned by SANDAG is available here.

In 2016, the Board of Directors of the San Diego Association of Governments (“SANDAG”) endorsed Measure A, which sought to establish a new half-cent sales retail sales tax for the San Diego region. The supporters of Measure A campaigned for its passage with the representation that the additional sales tax would generate roughly $18 billion in revenue, which would be used for transportation needs throughout the region. The estimates of potential revenue from the passage of Measure A were inflated, a fact that was discovered by the press in October 2016. The following month, Measure A was defeated at the polls.

Voice of San Diego says it has uncovered a number of other issues within SANDAG beyond the Measure A controversy. But SANDAG member Jerry Jones, a Lemon Grove Councilmember, has disputed many of their findings, calling it “fake news” at worst.  

Gallegos has led the regional planning agency for the past 16 years. Before that, he served as director of Caltrans District 11.