Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version Share this

By Robin Joy Maxson, Chair, Ramona Community Planning Group and Member, County of San Diego Social Services Advisory Board


October 28, 2022 (Ramona) -- With a “commitment to equity,” SANDAG the San Diego Association of Governments) should expect and welcome a new advisory board member onto the board of directors.


From SANDAG’s website:

“SANDAG is governed by a Board of Directors composed of mayors, councilmembers, and county supervisors from each of the region's 19 local governments. Supplementing these voting members are advisory representatives from Imperial County, the U.S. Department of Defense, Caltrans, San Diego Unified Port District, Metropolitan Transit System, North County Transit District, San Diego County Water Authority, Southern California Tribal Chairmen's Association, Mexico, and the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority.” 

Website line:


These members hold unchecked and unequal power over the planning and funding of the unincorporated communities without providing a balanced voice for a population of approximately 500,000 residents - which comprises the second largest community in the County.


The unincorporated communities cannot lead nor effectively participate in their own future without a seat at this table of regional power.

Currently, two San Diego County Supervisors represent County interests on the SANDAG Board. In theory this is where the unincorporated communities find their representation; however, County Supervisors also represent their urban and suburban populations.


The assumption that unincorporated communities are represented through this structure and do not need “additional” representation is flawed as all SANDAG Board members and Advisory Board members are within the County of San Diego and, therefore, are already provided such a dual overlay of jurisdictions and representation. The exception is the two Advisory Board Members from Imperial County and Mexico.


I propose that the unincorporated, and predominantly rural, communities of San Diego County - be recognized and admitted as an Advisory Member on the SANDAG Board of Directors. The new “San Diego County Unincorporated Communities” Advisory Board Member would represent the unique needs of our geographically disadvantaged populations including their health, safety, housing and work opportunities, the concerns of the agricultural industry, the development of the agritourism industry, the growth of the outdoor recreational industry, and the protection of our vast Open Space Preserves which are a County treasure.


I propose that a selection of a “San Diego County Unincorporated Communities” Advisory Board Member and their Alternate should come from among one of the 28 elected Community Planning Groups Chairs and appointed Community Sponsor Groups Chairs. These 28 Community Planning and Sponsor Group Chairs would select a representative and alternate every 2 years beginning with January of 2023. 

SANDAG’s “Commitment to Equity'' is on the line. This new “San Diego County Unincorporated Communities” Advisory Board Member requires a seat at the table of regional power and we expect that a chair will be waiting for us.

The opinions in this editorial reflect the views of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of East County Magazine. To submit a reader’s editorial for consideration, contact



Error message

Support community news in the public interest! As nonprofit news, we rely on donations from the public to fund our reporting -- not special interests. Please donate to sustain East County Magazine's local reporting and/or wildfire alerts at to help us keep people safe and informed across our region.


I hope they listen

Thank you, Robin, for tracking down these numbers. Very telling! This important issue is one more example of the many ways that rural communities are dismissed, degraded, inconvenienced and financially punished by our own county government in every area from health and sanitation to destructive land use policies and practices. I'm greatly saddened by this trend in recent years by a Board of Supervisors -- including our own East County supervisor -- that seems more interested in regulating our speech than in looking out for our interests.


Disband SANDAG. We have 2 much government already.

What is SANDAG?

They don't say so I looked it up. It's "The San Diego Association of Governments." What governments? --"mayors, council members, and county supervisors from each of the from each of the region's 19 local governments." What nineteen local governments are "associated?" There's no local government where I live. . . .San Diego County has twelve "incorporated cities" -- good for them. But in the vast majority of the county there are 95 "unincorporated areas" where there are no governments. So where does the "19 local governments" in the "Association of Governments" come from? Somebody might know. . . .Anyhow, let's forget the gobbledy-gook, so much for "democracy," government by the people. It doesn't exist for most of San Diego County. So we suffer with an absence of bus service, public health resources, civic affairs, etc. and the "unincorporated areas" are dying from a lack of attention.

Thanks, Don.

I amended the story to add what the acronym stands for.