SANDAG Chair Nora Vargas uses weighted vote to overrule majority

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – San Diego County Supervisor Chair Nora Vargas has been elected Chair of SANDAG.

Her nomination to the position comes as Democrats continue pushing for an unpopular mileage tax to fund the $163 Regional Transportation Plan, aiming to get San Diegans out of their private vehicles and into public transit.

Vargas did not receive the majority of votes from the Board member, but due to the weighted vote, she won the position anyway.

Supervisor Vargas is in support of the mileage tax, and with the controversial weighted voting system, San Diegans can expect it to be a reality soon.

Vargas thanked the Board for voting, as she vowed to prioritize equity, and economic prosperity during her time as Chair of SANDAG.

Republican board members then tried and failed to elect Del Mar Mayor Terry Gaasterland to the Vice Chair position, despite her receiving the majority of votes from Board members. Councilmember Sean El0-River was then voted in to be SANDAG’s Vice Chair.

But the controversy doesn’t end there.

Terry Gaasterland was again nominated to be SANDAG’s Second Vice Chair. The Board went through the voting roll, and Gaasterland received the majority of votes which should confirm her nomination to the position.

But, as CEO Hasan Ikhrata whispers in Vargas’ ear, Vargas immediately says, “at this time we are going to go ahead and call for a weighted vote.” See for yourself in the video below.

Santee Mayor John Minto then interrupts to make a statement calling out Chair Nora Vargas’ disregard for the Board’s opinion. Minto explains, “it’s obvious that the weighted vote is the way that things are going to go for the future. The balance of this Board is not really a concern, and I don’t believe the weighted vote majority really is involved in equity or inclusion. Substitute the name ‘Republican’ for any other derogatory term, and that’s really what’s going on here.”

But it doesn’t end there.

Newly nominated Vice Chair, Democrat Councilmember Sean Elo-Rivera, steps in to call Minto’s statement a “tantrum,” claiming he was “throwing a fit.” Elo-Rivera went as far to say “that’s not the way Democracy works.”

Elo-Rivera then seconded Vargas’ motion to use the weighted vote, and Solana Beach Mayor Lesa Heebner was confirmed to be SANDAG’s Second Vice Chair, by use of the weighted vote.

Vargs concluded the weighted vote with a very snide remark saying, “and it was a tally vote,” since the other members left the building.

KUSI’s Dan Plante spoke Santee Mayor John Minto about the controversy after the meeting. Minto reiterated his position of opposition to the weighted vote explaining, “when you can have 17 people vote no, and 4 people vote yes, and that wins, how is that democracy? That’s a totalitarian society.” Continuing, “last I checked, we live under a representative form of government. And that’s what I’m there for.”

KUSI’s Dan Plante confirmed that Vargas overruled the majority vote because Terry Gaasterland, a moderate Democrat, doesn’t fully support their preferred agenda, pointing out Gaasterland’s opposition to the unpopular mileage tax.

If you are wondering how these elected leaders are so out-of-touch with the people of San Diego County, Plante says, “on election day, these are the people you put in office.”

RELATED STORY: Nora Vargas elected new Chair of SANDAG, supports Mileage Tax

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