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Missing in Action: Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer Misses 74% of Committee Votes During Tenure

The San Diego County Supervisor is absent considerably more often than she is present for her committee and subcommittee assignments.

To put it bluntly, San Diego County Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer’s attendance rate at committee meetings is nothing short of abysmal.

Mulling through meeting minutes reveals that since she began her term in 2021, Lawson-Remer has missed a staggering 74% of her committee and subcommittee votes, excluding Board of Supervisor meetings. This equates to 575 missed votes out of a total of 776. 

Additionally, Lawson-Remer was assigned as a primary member of the SANDAG Board of Directors from 2021 to the end of 2022. Supervisors receive a taxpayer-funded stipend when they attend meetings. In 2022, Lawson-Remer’s attendance rate dropped from about 90% to 50%, and similarly, she missed 46.8% of all votes. Compare this with her colleague, Supervisor Joel Anderson, who had an attendance rate of 81.8% and 75% in 2021 and 2022 respectively.

Taken at face value, this may look like a poor showing. But, believe it or not, this is—with one exception—Lawson-Remer’s best-attended assignment. 

For the past four years, the SANDAG Shoreline Preservation Group has had only Lawson-Remer assigned to the Committee. Lawson-Remer has missed all but one meeting (during which she did not vote) of the Shoreline Preservation Group. 

For the SANDAG Regional Planning Committee, Supervisor Lawson-Remer was chosen as the primary member in 2021, 2022, and 2023. Despite this, she did not attend a single meeting in 2022 or 2023. 

It’s a similar story on the San Diego Air Pollution Control District Board, where Lawson has been a member for three years. After missing 60% of meetings in 2022, she proceeded to miss every meeting in 2023 and, at least so far, in 2024 as well.

Lawson-Remer has also been on the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station Fuel Removal Committee for three years and the North San Diego County Transit Development Board for four. She has not attended any of either group’s meetings.

In 2021, Lawson-Remer was appointed to the San Diego County Water Authority. That year, she missed every single meeting.

In two years, she has attended one meeting of the Mission Trails Regional Park Task Force. 

In four years, she has attended two of the San Dieguito River Park JPA meetings (both in 2021) and missed the other 31.

Lawson-Remer also served as an alternate for other SANDAG members; on the Executive Committee in 2023; on the Public Safety Committee in 2022 and 2023; the Public Safety Committee in 2022 and 2023; and the Transportation Committee in 2021 and 2022. Across all of the aforementioned positions, she attended exactly one meeting.

That includes instances where the primary member, for whom Lawson-Remer is tasked with replacing, was also not present. That translates to a staggering number of complete vacancies without any representative from the Board of Supervisors.

For the purposes of reaching an accurate count, it should be noted that there are several instances where minutes for Lawson-Remer’s committee assignments are unavailable online or are unclear regarding committee voting. Such cases are not included in this total count, as it would only be fair to include meetings where one cannot definitively determine that Supervisors participated in voting.

Since her term began in 2021, our research concludes she has missed a total of 199 meetings including Board of Supervisor meetings, committee, and subcommittee meetings. That is a staggering 39% of all meetings. She has also missed a whopping 765 votes, or 25.2% of all votes she could have taken.

For board of supervisor meetings alone, she has missed 14 since her term began, or 5.5% of all board meetings she could have attended. For voting at Board of Supervisors meetings, she has missed 190 votes, or 8.4% of all board votes.

For committee and subcommittee meetings since her term began, she has missed 185 committee meetings, or 72.8% of all committee meetings. For committee votes, she has missed 575 votes, or 74.1% of all committee votes she could have taken.

It goes without saying that committees and subcommittees play vital roles in shaping policy and advancing meaningful reforms. San Diego County faces no shortage of policy woes, from sharply rising costs, rates of homelessness, and crime. When an elected official takes office, they assume a unique responsibility of using every tool at their disposal to promote good governance and improve the lives of the constituents they serve.

That becomes extremely difficult to do if said elected official can’t even be bothered to show up.

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