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Action seeks to expand representation for a half million residents in County's unincorporated areas

East County News Service

Map courtesy of the County of San Diego

May 25, 2023 (San Diego)--  On May 23, San Diego County’s Board of Supervisors unanimously adopted a resolution to support adding representation from the unincorporated area to the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) Board of Directors. This board action was introduced by Chairwoman Nora Vargas and Supervisor Joel Anderson, both of whom represent the County on the SANDAG Board.

The County’s unincorporated communities are home to more than half-a-million people, making them the region’s second largest population group behind only the City of San Diego. Geographically, the vast majority of the county lies within unincorporated areas.

While the County Board of Supervisors represents the unincorporated area and brings a regional perspective to SANDAG’s Board, there is currently not a single dedicated representative for the unincorporated area on the board.

“I am thankful to Chair Nora Vargas for partnering with me on this board action and for her commitment to ensuring that all San Diegans have a seat at the table,” shared Supervisor Joel Anderson. “It is time that the SANDAG Board has a dedicated voice to speak on behalf of the unique challenges and needs of unincorporated communities.” 

“There is a need for us to increase accessibility and to bring unique perspectives to SANDAG,” said San Diego County Chairwoman Nora Vargas. “By increasing representation of our unincorporated area residents, we ensure SANDAG decisions are made with consideration of the whole region.”

The SANDAG Board of Directors is comprised of elected officials representing the region’s eighteen cities and the County of San Diego who are authorized to vote on issues considered before the Board. Each of County’s 18 cities have at least one voting member on the SANDAG Board.

In addition to these voting members, SANDAG permits ten additional non-voting representatives to serve as advisory board members. This allows for the region’s jurisdictions and other interested parties to have a “seat at the table” when discussing policy matters and funding decisions.

Examples of advisory members that currently exist on the SANDAG Board of Directors include Imperial County, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), the Consulate General of Mexico, and more.

What happens next

Although the County supports this idea, SANDAG first needs to receive a letter from an individual or organization with a formal request to add an advisory member for the unincorporated area to their Board. Then it is up to SANDAG to add it to an upcoming agenda and vote on it—if they decide to consider the request.

Should SANDAG approve the addition of the seat, County staff will work with the County’s community planning groups to select two unincorporated area residents to serve as the primary and alternate advisory members. These nominees will then submit the formal request to SANDAG in the process outlined above.




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