From San Diego Public Policy and Fiscal History

The San Diego County Taxpayers' Association (SDCTA) is a non-profit, non-partisan association of individuals, businesses, and organizations who promote effective and efficient government on behalf of all San Diego County Taxpayers in San Diego, California.

Press conference held by the San Diego County Taxpayers Association

Mission[edit | edit source]

To support the public, civic leaders and policymakers with independent research on economic and quality-of-life issues impacting taxpayers and ratepayers countywide.

Policy Platform[edit | edit source]

SDCTA is a nonpartisan association of individuals, businesses, and organizations who promote effective and efficient government on behalf of all San Diego County taxpayers. SDCTA engages civic leadership as well as the public to develop and promote well researched policy solutions.

SDCTA envisions a future where San Diego citizens receive a better return on investment in public assets and services.

SDCTA works to reduce the need for tax revenue or taxpayer debt by advocating for policies that create efficiencies in public services, which affect San Diegans’ quality of life and against policies that disengage, disaffect, and disenfranchise the taxpayer.

History[edit | edit source]

The San Diego Taxpayers Association was founded on September 18, 1945, just four days after the abrupt end of WWII. As the world entered the atomic era, San Diego's wartime economy evaporated. Factory production of warplanes halted and thousands were out of work. Meanwhile, political and civic leaders grappled with what San Diego should become in this brave new world.

The Association was founded by the "Broadway Barons” aircraft pioneer Claude T. Ryan; attorneys Walter Ames and J.D. Forward; contractors Roscoe “Pappy” Hazard and Walter Trepte; department store owner Guilford Whitney and others who felt that San Diego needed an independent civic organization[1] separate and distinct from the City-subsidized Chamber of Commerce to monitor government spending and efficiency as San Diego planned its future in the post-war world.

In early 1946 the San Diego Taxpayers Association - SDTA (later SDCTA, when “County” was added to its name in the 1980’s) - hired its first Executive Director, Jack Borchers. Jack, a tax attorney by training, was fresh from serving on Admiral Nimitz’s staff in Hawaii. Jack initiated the detailed analysis and independent approach to issues that is still the signature of today’s Taxpayers Association.

The “Borchers’ era” resulted in SDCTA becoming a key player in San Diego’s civic establishment. Borchers worked closely with dairyman-Mayor Harley Knox in developing a constructive working relationship with local government. Jack served until 1955.

The Association’s second Executive Director, John Leppert (who retired as Assistant City Manager for the City of San Diego in 1997), ran SDCTA from 1955 to 1970 and cemented the Association’s role as a permanent civic fixture.

The work of SDCTA’s pioneers, its staff and its dedicated and hardworking Board of Directors is why public opinion polls consistently rank SDCTA as the most “influential” and “trusted” public policy institution in San Diego.

Past Presidents[edit | edit source]

Year Executive Director Board Director
1946 - 1951 John F. "Jack" Borchers Guilford Whitney
1952 - 1953 John F. "Jack" Borchers H. Philip Anewalt
1954 John F. "Jack" Borchers Edward C. Hall
1955 John C. Leppert Edward C. Hall
1956 - 1958 John C. Leppert Colin A. Stillwagon
1959 - 1960 John C. Leppert D.R. Gable
1961 - 1962 John C. Leppert Eugene T. Ageno
1963 John C. Leppert Colin A. Stillwagon
1964 - 1966 John C. Leppert Douglas R. Giddings
1967 John C. Leppert Nolan Wright
1968 - 1969 John C. Leppert Paul Leyton
1970 - 1971 Stanley H. Coombs Ken Kitson
1972 Stanley H. Coombs Richard Hibbard
1973 Joel Strobl Richard Hibbard
1974 Joel Strobl Thomas T. Brekka/Norman Roberts
1975 Joel Strobl Norman Roberts
1976 Joel Strobl Daniel Larsen
1977 James Harris Daniel Larsen
1978 James Harris Edwin Gray
1979 James Harris/Craig Lee Edwin Gray
1980 Craig Lee Edwin Grey
1981 Craig Lee Peter Fritz
1982 Craig Lee Edward Peterson
1983 Mark Nelson Edward Peterson
1984 - 1985 Mark Nelson Robert J. Lichter
1986 - 1987 Mark Nelson Terry O'Malley
1988 Mark Nelson Barry I. Newman
1989 Mark Nelson/Jim Ryan Barry I. Newman/Milton C. Clow
1990 Jim Ryan Milton C. Clow
1991 Steve Frates Mark Nelson
1992 Steve Frates Irby McMichae
1993 - 1994 Steve Frates David Geerdes
1995 - 1997 Scott Barnett Jack Monger
1998 Scott Barnett Larry Nuffer
1999 - 2000 Scott Barnett Tom Turner
2001 Scott Barnett Mary Ball
2002 Geoff Patnoe Mary Ball
2003 Geoff Patnoe/Lisa Briggs April Boling
2004 Lisa Briggs April Boling
2005 Lisa Briggs John O'Neill
2006 - 2008 Lani Lutar John O'Neill
2009 - 2011 Lani Lutar Mike McDowell
2012 Lani Lutar Greg Stein
2013 Lani Lutar/Felipe Monroig Greg Stein
2014 Felipe Monroig/W. Mark Leslie Greg Stein