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Sweetwater Union School District May Be the Best of the Worst at County Taxpayers Association's Awards

The San Diego County Taxpayers Association's "golden fleece" award is given to entities for the most wasteful and inefficient use of taxpayer dollars.

Patch file photo.
Patch file photo.

The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority and Sweetwater Union High School District are among the "good" and "bad" finalists, respectively, for recognition at the San Diego County Taxpayers Association's annual "Goldens" dinner on June 19, it was announced Tuesday.

The airport was named a finalist for the Golden Watchdog award for the expansion of Terminal 2 at Lindbergh Field, which was completed on time and on budget.

Other Golden Watchdog finalists, according to the association, are:

  • the city of El Cajon, for its downtown business partnership
  • the city of Chula Vista, for its Bayfront Master Plan
  • the San Diego County Library, for harnessing technology to save money
  • local cities, the county of San Diego and federal government for coordination during last month's wildfires.

The Sweetwater Union High School District was one of the finalists for the Golden Fleece award. The district that serves Chula Vista, Imperial Beach, National City and southern San Diego has been hit by numerous scandals in the last couple of years that led to the removal of several trustees.

Other Golden Fleece finalists are:

  • the San Ysidro School District, for its own scandals
  • the North County Transit District, for mechanical problems that caused a shutdown of its Sprinter light rail line
  • the Oceanside Unified School District, for a taxpayer-funded trip to Washington, D.C.
  • the city of San Diego, for uncollected wastewater fees.

The taxpayer's association also hands out awards to reporters who uncover government waste.

Print media finalists include:

  • Marsha Sutton of the Carmel Valley News, for a story on taxpayers who were overcharged by the San Dieguito Union High School District
  • Paul Sisson, Matt Clark, Jeff McDonald and Deborah Schoch of U-T San Diego, for their series highlighting the conditions in assisted living facilities in California
  • Jeff McDonald, U-T San Diego, for a story on the disbanding of Balboa Park Centennial Inc.
  • Scott Lewis and Andrew Keatts, with Voice of San Diego, for their explanation of how plans for a big celebration of the park's 100th birthday went awry

The television finalists are:

  • the staff of KPBS for reporting on women who accused ex-Mayor Bob Filner of sexual harassment
  • Mitch Blacher, J.W. August, Arie Thanasoulis and Ellen McGregor, of 10 News, for stories on a trip Filner took to Paris, which ended up costing the city almost $22,000 for his security detail
  • Wendy Fry and Mari Payton, of NBC7/39, for their report on the steep cost of water main breaks

The dinner is set to take place at the Marriott Marquis and Marina in downtown San Diego.

—City News Service

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