EAST COUNTY MAGAZINE NOMINATED FOR "MEDIA WATCHDOG" AWARD BY SAN DIEGO TAXPAYERS ASSOCIATION

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Award Finalists Announced for Good Governance, Media Initiatives
Winners revealed at Golden Watchdog & Golden Fleece Awards Dinner May 20

May 5, 2010(San Diego) -- San Diego County Taxpayers Association (SDCTA) today announced finalists in its annual Golden Watchdog, Media Watchdog, Public Private Partnership and “It’s About Time” awards.  East County Magazine Editor Miriam Raftery and Channel 10 News have been nominated for a Media Watchdog award for a joint investigative report titled "Water Board Stirs Flood of Controversy." 

 

The story was part of a series on Helix Water Board rate hikes that exposed alleged violations of state sunshine laws.  This investigative reporting resulted in the Board overturning plans for a hefty rate hike viewed as inequitable by many property holders.  The Board later adopted a more modest rate increase with full public input.

 

"We are honored to be nominated for a Media Watchdog Award," Raftery said.  "We extend our thanks to J.W. August and the rest of the Channel 10 News team for partnering with East County Magazine on public records searches, sourcing and interviews for this important piece. This was a true team effort that also included contributions by ECM writers Kristin Kjaero, Gale Early, Dennis Moore, and Rachel Ford, with the backing of our publisher, Heartland Coalition and Heartland's executive director, Mark Hanson. Collaboration between TV and online regional media provides an excellent way to leverage each media outlet's strengths and resources. We look forward to more reporting partnerships in the future."

 

The awards highlight "smart, sensible practices in taxpayer-funded programs, and public service reporting on issues of concern to taxpayers," according to the SDCTA.

 

The Golden Watchdog is awarded to government programs/services that exemplify efficient use of tax dollars or good government practices. The Media Watchdog recognizes excellence in reporting on behalf of taxpayers. The Public-Private Partnership Award is given to those programs that are stretching taxpayer dollars through innovative collaborations between public agencies and the private sector. The “It’s About Time” award highlights a positive government program, service or action that could have been implemented sooner, but deserves positive recognition nonetheless.

 

The Metro Golden Watchdog finalists are:
 

• East County Cities – Heartland Fire Rescue Consolidation Efforts
• City of Poway – Lowering Poway’s Unfunded Pension Liability
• City of Santee – Citywide Pension Reform

 

The Regional Golden Watchdog finalists are:
 

• County of San Diego - New Medical Examiner's Office and Forensics Center
• County of San Diego – Once Upon a Partnership
• Olivenhain Municipal Water District – Holding the Line on Rate Increases

The “It’s About Time” finalists are:
 

• County of San Diego – Project Green
• County of San Diego Human Resources Department – E-Benefits Program
• Grossmont Union High School District – Propositions U & H Bond Programs
• City/County Managers Association – Pension Reform Recovery

 

The Public-Private Partnership finalists are:
 

• City of Solana Beach / Trex. Co – Plastic Bag Recycling Initiative
• Multi-Agency/Community Groups – Healthcare Savings Program
• Multi-Agency/San Diego CleanTECH – Public Facilities Renewable Energy Projects
• City of San Diego / San Diego Tourism Marketing District – Tourism Promotion Funding

 

The Print/Electronic Media Watchdog finalists are:
 

• Steven Bartholow, San Diego News Network – “Potholes-a-Plenty”
• Kelly Bennett and Dagny Salas, voiceofsandiego.org – “Out of Reach” series
• Rob Davis, voiceofsandiego.org – “Outsourcing to Pension Consultant is Illegal Attorney Says”
• Jeff McDonald, North County Times – “Slater-Price Fails to Report Gifts of Tickets”
• Miriam Raftery, East County Magazine and 10News – “Water Board Stirs Flood of Controversy”
• Eleanor Yang Su, San Diego Union-Tribune – “S.D. Marathon Runs Into Controversy”
• Mark Walker, North County Times – “Tax Collector Still Lags in Paying Refunds”

 

The Broadcast Media Watchdog finalists are:
 

• J.W. August, Mitch Blacher, Christian Cazares, Lauren Reynolds, 10News – “Water Department Bonuses”
• Envision San Diego Team, KPBS – “The Legacy of Proposition 13”
• Michael Turko, KUSI – “Double Trouble for Online Property Tax Payers”
• Charisse Yu, 10 News – “SDUSD School Fees Series”

 

Winners will be honored at a special dinner at the Town and Country Resort & Convention Center in Mission Valley on Thursday, May 20. Now in its 15th year, the Golden Watchdog & Golden Fleece Awards Dinner gives the public an opportunity to voice kudos and criticism of government spending through nomination of programs that highlight the smart and not-so-smart decisions of the past year. SDCTA receives dozens of nominations from individuals and organizations throughout San Diego County.

 

For more information about the 15th Annual Golden Watchdog and Golden Fleece Awards Dinner please call the San Diego County Taxpayers Association at (619) 234-6423 or email lani@sdcta.org.

 

The San Diego County Taxpayers Association is a non-profit, non-partisan organization, dedicated to promoting accountable, cost-effective and efficient government and opposing unnecessary new taxes and fees.
 

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