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Supervisor Ron Roberts Elected SANDAG Chairman

Photo by Angela Carone

District 4 County Supervisor Ron Roberts is shown talking to an audience at the County Administration building on Jan. 5, 2015.

County Supervisor Ron Roberts was unanimously elected chairman of the San Diego Association of Governments on Friday. He's the first county supervisor to hold that position.

Roberts succeeds Santee Councilman Jack Dale for a one-year term at the helm of the regional planning agency. His name was put forward by a nominating committee that included Dale and several other elected officials.

The group also nominated Del Mar Councilman and Deputy Mayor Terry Sinnott for the position of first vice chairman. He was also approved unanimously.

Leadership of SANDAG will be crucial over the next year because the organization is planning to put forth a wide-ranging ballot measure that would dedicate funds for infrastructure and environmental projects. If the final version includes a tax increase, SANDAG leaders would have to persuade two-thirds of area voters to support the measure.

Roberts acknowledged the supermajority would be a difficult hurdle to overcome, but he said San Diego is falling behind in funding for transportation.

"San Francisco, Los Angeles — they’re way ahead of us," he said. "And because of the funds they have, they're able to qualify for a larger share of federal funds and state funds. ... It’s clear in my mind that if we want to have an effective and efficient system, we’ve got to find a way to create more funding."

Roberts has served on the Board of Supervisors for 20 years and was on the San Diego City Council for seven years before that. He also has been on the California Air Resources Board for 20 years and serves on the boards of several other agencies.

Sinnott is a former San Diego Gas & Electric executive and independent management consultant who became active in Del Mar community affairs about a dozen years ago.

SANDAG Executive Director Gary Gallegos wrote in a staff report that Roberts and Sinnott have "proven leadership experience, and ... are dedicated to the agency and the region."

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