New SANDAG Board Chair on Human-Caused Climate Change: “It’s a debatable issue”

Del Mar City Councilman Terry Sinnott and Poway Mayor Steve Vaus, both considered staunch Republicans, are now the Chair and Vice-Chair of the regions most powerful transportation body.

The two were unanimously elected to lead the San Diego Association of Governments, taking the helm of the county’s lead agency in charge of transportation goals.

CLIMATE CHANGE CONTROVERSY

Shortly after the vote, Sinnott was asked by KPBS reporter Andrew Bowen about climate change, Sinnott responded, “I don’t get into that situation. It’s a debatable issue that the board talks about. We have representatives from all 18 cities and the county of San Diego, and they bring their political thoughts in when they make decisions. My job is to facilitate and make sure we make progress and stick to the mission of our agency.”

Sinnott’s comments drew the ire of liberals and particularly Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher who tweeted “No, it actually isn’t debatable.”

Gonzalez Fletcher has a lot of skin in the game as she was one of the driving forces behind AB 805, the transportation overhaul bill that’s designed to reform SANDAG following a very public and damaging scandal.

The elections of Sinnott and Vaus will no doubt create political tensions and criticism from liberals, as the city pushes towards its transportation goals that include far reaching climate change ambitions.

Chula Vista Mayor and Democrat Mary Salas was passed over for Vaus. IVN has reached out to Salas to get her thoughts on the direction of SANDAG following the elections.

The SANDAG board chairman post does not have added voting power.

UPDATE: At the Del Mar City Council meeting Monday night, where the board voted to reappoint Sinnott to the board, he said, “I do believe we are in the midst of climate change, and that humans are contributing to that change.”

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR SEARCH CONTINUES

SANDAG is currently conducting a nationwide search for a new executive director after Gary Gallegos stepped down last September. Gallegos and SANDAG were accused of and then admitted to misleading the public on erroneous revenue projections for failed ballot Measure A.