News Release


DATE: September 21, 2004

CONTACT STEVE SCHMIDT AT 619-531-4766 or 619-206-9108


Jacob praises judge's decision as victory for free speech, voter information

SAN DIEGO - "I'm pleased that the court has put an end to this misguided effort to muzzle public debate," said Chairwoman Dianne Jacob after a Superior Court judge denied an attempt by Lisa Briggs of the San Diego County Taxpayers Association to remove language critical of Proposition A from the November 2 ballot.

"The public deserves the right to learn about every angle of this tax measure," Jacob said.

Proposition A would extend the region's existing half-cent sales tax by 40 years and raise an estimated $14 billion dollars for congestion relief projects around the region.

Jacob, County Supervisor Pam Slater-Price and KOGO Radio talk show host Roger Hedgecock wrote a rebuttal to the tax measure warning that the proposal, which was crafted by the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), spends too few dollars on highway projects in favor of costly public transportation projects. The rebuttal will appear next to the measure on the ballot.

The three also say Prop. A would allow two-thirds of the SANDAG Board to make changes to almost all aspects of the proposal including the allocation of the revenue and a list of voter-approved congestion relief projects.

Briggs took issue with the rebuttal's description of SANDAG Board members as "political appointees." The judge, however, sided with the attorney for Jacob and Slater-Price who used a section of the Public Resources Code to argue that SANDAG Board members are,"... not elected by all the voters of the county and thus are not accountable to them for their actions ... members are appointed by politicians and can well and truly be called 'political appointees,'"she wrote.

Briggs also objected to the rebuttal's description of an oversight committee being proposed by SANDAG as an "insiders' club ... with no citizen representation." The judge, however, agreed with the attorney for Jacob and Slater-Price.

"Proposition A has no slot on (the oversight committee) for the ordinary citizen who is not a transportation professional or a big business executive. With one exception, the membership of that committee is required to be professionals in areas of expertise that will benefit from transportation funding generated by Proposition A," the attorney wrote.

"The judge's decision is a victory for free speech and a victory for voters who have a right to access information that examines both sides of this issue, pro and con," Jacob said.