On behalf of the board of directors and members of the San Diego County Taxpayers Association, welcome to our 11th Annual Golden Watchdog and Golden Fleece Awards Dinner. As in the past, the purpose of the awards presented tonight is to stimulate public debate and educate taxpayers on how government spends tax dollars in San Diego County.
Golden Watchdogs are awarded to programs that exemplify efficient use of tax dollars, while Golden Fleece awards are given to examples of wasteful or inefficient government spending. Thought provoking and, at times, irreverent, these awards give the public the opportunity to voice both admiration and criticism of government spending. In addition to awards presented in the regional, metro and media categories, The People’s Choice and It’s About Time awards will be presented this evening. The final awards of the evening are the coveted Grand Watchdog Award and the dreaded Grand Fleece Award.
Last year we described 2004 as one of the most tumultuous in recent memory, but sadly, the chaos, uncertainty and repercussions of that dramatic year continued into 2005 as we had predicted. Investigations continued at an exorbitant cost to taxpayers, pension deficits did not shrink and more public officials resigned under duress. But change is in the air. We have a new “strong” Mayor, Jerry Sanders, who promises a “clean sweep” and a transparent administration. Like most San Diegans, we are ready for positive change, and it is our genuine hope that next year we will be able to look back at 2006 with some good news to report.
Thank you for your support and enjoy the evening.
— Chair of the Board John O’Neill
— President/CEO Lani Lutar