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Candidates Debate: San Diego County Supervisors District 4

Audio

Aired 10/26/10

These Days is hosting a debate at 9 a.m. for the candidates running for supervisor in San Diego’s 4th District. That district encompasses a wide area of the City of San Diego. What will decide the race? Join the live chat.

Ron Roberts (L) and Stephen Whitburn, candidates in the race for San Diego County Board of Supervisors – 4th District.

Above: Ron Roberts (L) and Stephen Whitburn, candidates in the race for San Diego County Board of Supervisors – 4th District.

Special Feature San Diego County's 4th District

The colored region marks the boundaries of San Diego County's 4th District. Click to view on Google Maps.

We’re hosting a debate today for the candidates running for supervisor in San Diego’s 4th District. That district encompasses a wide area of the City of San Diego from University City to Clairemont out to the College area on the east and south to Paradise Hills. The seat in question is one of five on the San Diego County Board of Supervisors. That board controls a $5 billion budget. The board’s decisions affect county public safety services, the county court system, emergency and fire services, health and human services, including food stamps and welfare, to name just a few of the board’s responsibilities for San Diego County.

Guests

Ron Roberts, San Diego County Supervisor for District 4. Roberts is seeking re-election this year.

Stephen Whitburn, is Communications Manager for the American Red Cross in San Diego.

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District 4 Debate

Read Transcript

This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: I'm Maureen Cavanaugh, and you're listening to These Days on KPBS. Election coverage continues on KPBS this morning, with a debate between the candidates for the district four seat. The county's district four, encompasses most of the city of San Diego, from Encanto to University City. It has been represented by Ron Roberts since 1994, he is running for his 5th term on the board of supervisors. He's being challenged by Stephen Whitburn, that is, a former journalist, community activist, and public affairs manager for the local chapter of the American red cross, and I'd like to welcome the candidates, Ron Roberts, good morning.

RON ROBERTS: Good morning, Maureen.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And Stephen Whitburn, thanks for coming in.

STEPHEN WHITBURN: You bet, good morning, Maureen.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: We won't be taking calls this morning, but if you want to participate in a live chat about the candidates and the important issues in the race for county district four, you can go to KPBS.org/these days, click on this segment to participate in that live discussion. I'd like to give you a chance to introduce yourself, and tell us why you're running. Let me start with you, Stephen.

STEPHEN WHITBURN: Sure, we have had the exact same supervisors for 16 years now, and after 16 years, I think they've gotten too comfortable in their positions. Not only that, but all five are from the same political party, which I don't think is healthy. It's always good to have viewpoints at the table. All five are Republican, I'm a Democrat. We've all read the stories how they've abused their slush funds, they've taken gifts, and they've lost touch with the people they represent. We have high unemployment, and struggling small business, yet our county failed to apply for federal funds for job creation. Millions of dollars that would have gone to small businesses to hire people who are unemployed. It would have been good for the whole economy. And as a supervisor, I'll work to make sure we get that fair share of that money into our economy, I'll work to clean up the slush funds. That money is supposed to go to worth while nonprofits and neighborhood projects. And I won't take gifts. I don't think elected officials should take gifts. That's not what their for. And I won't accept gifts from anyone for any reason.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And Ron Roberts.

RON ROBERTS: Well, thank you, Maureen, it's good to be with you again. San Diego is a community you where I grew up and where I went to school, in fact, it's nice to be back on the San Diego state campus, because I attended San Diego state many years ago. But it's also where I started a business, and where I raised my family. I didn't just move into this district, I lived in this district for over 50 years. The community really deserves someone who cares, understands, appreciates, and knows this district. I know everyone deserves a seat at the table, and we've put that into practice. You can see the team we've assembled at the county. Diversity's a part of it. It's an important part of everything that we do, but we have had a very effective county government. Probably burden of proof any in the state, if not in the country. I know what it means to be out of work, and that concerns me greatly right now. When we moved to San Diego, my father was out of work, and I know what that does to a family, and I've done everything possible to try to create jobs in San Diego. And I'll continue too do that. And we perceive some recent grants, and we'll have a chance to talk about that later in the program, because I think it'll be of interest. But I'm proud of the endorsements that I've received. In some instances, there are groups that we both sought the endorsements. And I got those. The deputy sheriff's association, the police officer's association of city of San Diego. But the Latino American political action committee that we both sought the endorsement, we've seen endorsements coming in from all parts of the community. I'm proud of that, but I'm proud of what we've done at the county of San Diego to have a fiscally strong program and deliver the services that our residents need.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Well, thank you both for that. Of and let me start questioning with you, Stephen. We are still experiencing effects of the worst recession since the great depression. Do you think now is the time the county should dip into its significant reserves to save jobs and help struggling San Diegans?

STEPHEN WHITBURN: San Diego does not needs to dip into its reserves necessarily for that purpose. Because there is federal money out there to accomplish both of those objectives. And San Diego County has simply failed to take certainly of the federal funding that is available to us, both to create jobs and to provide food assistance. I mentioned early on the fact that San Diego County declined to apply for the subsidized jobs program. A program that would have sent millions of dollars into San Diego County to give to small businesses to pay for 80 percent of the cost of hiring someone who's unemployed or on assistance, good for the business, good for the person who gets a job, got for the whole economy. We declined to apply for that, everyone major county in California has taken millions of dollars, and put people to work. It's inexcusable. We do have a lot of people who don't have jobs, and need assistance. There again, the federal government, provides the food assistance program. And earlier this year it cited San Diego County as having one of the lowest participation rates in the nation. San Diego County does such an ineffective job of administering the food assistance program, that relatively few people who are eligible for food assistance actually receive it. One of the reasons is because the county has cut social services staff, so have long lines, it's an inefficient process to use the program, and some people simply give up. We need to do a better job of administering it, are and the federal government said if we were doing an adequate job of administering it, we would be eligible for $40 million in additional food assistance, money that would be coming into our economy, and money that would be giving people much needed food.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And I want to pose the same question to you, Ron Roberts, is this the time the county should dip into its significant reserves to help save jobs in the county and help struggling San Diegans.

RON ROBERTS: Well, fortunately, Maureen, little county is in good enough shape to be able to help create jobs would you say spending significant reserves. First of all, when you hear about the county not applying for grants, the county of San Diego just recently announced in partnership with the work force partnership, another organization on whose board I sit, the largest grant in the training for training low income people for jobs in the healthcare industries. And when I say healthcare industries I'm not talking about just hospitals or senior centers, but laboratory working almost anything related to training for the health industries. We got the largest grant in the country. And the only grant of its kind in California if I remember correctly. But we also, this past summer, we created when the federal government pulled out, the county of San Diego stood up and said we are going to have a youth job employment program for the summer. The county of San Diego paid for that. We didn't have other partners. We put up the money, and we had over 1100 kids that we put up last summer. As for food statistics, if you look consistently, all of California, the whole state lags behind the rest of the concern for some reason. But in San Diego, we've been able to keep pace, and in fact we've compared our statistics with the local food basic, and we're almost exactly in step with them in terms of the increases. We've enrolled over 70 percent, over the last couple of years, in the number of people enrolled, partially because of the way we're doing it, not just saying let's add more staff. People can actually call on the telephone and register and leave an electronic signature, if you will, their voice becomes a signature, and it makes it very convenient for people 678 so we're doing things that other counties might be doing, ask we're getting some phenomenon 23458 results.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Stephen Whitburn, you wanted to respond briefly if you would.

STEPHEN WHITBURN: Sure. Supervisor Roberts describes a jock training program, and a program for youth. Both of those are good things. But the fact that San Diego County declined to apply for millions of dollars in federal funding to create jobs is simply indefensible. And the suggestion that the increase in the number of people who are qualifying for food stamps in San Diego County is due to efficiencies on the county's parts is absurd. Of the increase in the number of people qualifying is due to the overwhelming need that is out there that has grown due to the recession and the lack of jobs.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And Roberts.

RON ROBERTS: First of you all, I didn't see anything about a brush cleaning program. Steve doesn't understand these programs. That's kids that we put to work all over the county?

STEPHEN WHITBURN: Doing what?

RON ROBERTS: But what he doesn't, despite of his wanting to interrupt, what he doesn't understand, the brush program is another million dollar program we're able to put together with the work force partnership that's gonna put urban core members and other kids to work here and give them things to do as part of their urban core efforts. The summer youth program created work for 1100 kids throughout the county San Diego. And I say kids, these are young people. The board of supervisors didn't not accept money.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: You mean the federal stimulus.

RON ROBERTS: That particular grant. But we have got grant after grant after grant and we chase those and, yes, they missed one, but when that's available again, as we think it will be this coming year, they won't miss it again. I guarantee it. .

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Let's move on to another topic. The county board of supervisors is in the process of updating its general plan that will affect growth in the region over the next 40 years of for the most part, the new plan directs development away from the back country and towards areas with established infrastructures. Do you support this new plan and why?

RON ROBERTS: Maureen, we have had the first day of testimony. It was a full day. We had numerous people testify. We're gonna have at least another day, probably two. There's a lot of questions that I have that need to be answered. We haven't been able to do that yet, and probably won't be able to do that for at least another meeting or two. In the over all, I do support. And there's a number of reasons why. First of all, it's good for us. It saves on infrastructure costs. It starts to make a more compact community, if you will. It moves development into those areas where -- into our villages in the county, so to speak. This is important not just because of the county but because of things like SB375, which is causing us as a matter of fact, to reduce green house gas through land use and through general plans, and we're complying with that. I'm very involved with that, not just on a local level but on a state level. I've worked very hard to expand the trolley, and bring the trolley that San Diego state is enjoying now up to UCSD, and I think we're gonna see that start in the next few years. We're gonna become a more urban area. The general plan of the county needs to reflect that also.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And Stephen Whitburn.

STEPHEN WHITBURN: I certainly accept the concept and the principles behind the general plan. We did need to keep development in the already developed areas largely. It reduces sprawl, it increases the opportunities for transit-s to protect the environment. One of the reasons that I've been endorsed by both the Sierra club and the league of conservation voters. I think where I differ from the incumbent supervisors is that we have to have the commitment once a plan is in place to stick with that plan. We have plans, but what we've seen all too often on our current board of supervisors is a willingness to diverge from the plan and regardless what the plan says, go ahead and develop in the back country anyway. I think that if we have a plan that keeps development for the already urbanized areas and protects the environment, we need to stick with it so that both the public and the developers for that matter know what to expect.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: A quick answer from you both before we did to a break. Would you think, Ron Roberts, the supervisors should vote up or down on that general plan or put it to the voters?

RON ROBERTS: Oh, I'm sorry. You're asking if we should put it to the voters?

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Yes.

RON ROBERTS: I think that the supervisors have an obligation, the approval of a general plan is not a simple yes or no issue, and what we have to do, there's gonna be a lot of working Maureen, and what you want to see is that people are treated fairly and that we end up with a plan that's not just different today, but is gonna be there for decades.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And Stephen Whitburn, should we put it to the voters, or is that the supervisors' responsibility?

STEPHEN WHITBURN: A general plan is very complicated. It's something that we elect our supervisors to consider, to harsh through all those details, and yes, it's important for the board of supervisors to make a decision on the general plan.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: When we return, we will continue our district four debate for the county board of supervisors of San Diego. And you're listening to These Days on KPBS.

I'm Maureen Cavanaugh you're listening to These Days on KPBS. And we continue with a debate between the candidates for the district four seat on the San Diego County board of supervisors issue incumbent Ron Roberts, and has challenger STEPHEN WHITBURN of we are not taking your phone calls during this segment, but we are having a live chat. If you would like to participate in this chat about the candidates and the important issues in the race for county district four, go to the These Days page on KPBS.org. And click on this segment to participate in that discussion. Gentlemen, we are right at the anniversary of the 2007 wild fire in San Diego County. And I know that fire protection is a big issue for both of you. Stephen Whitburn, can you tell us what changes you would put into mace to make San Diego saver from wile fires?

STEPHEN WHITBURN: We have to put changes into place. More people have burned to death in San Diego County wild fires over the past decade than anywhere else in our nation. And it is due in part to the failure of the board of supervisors to provide adequate wild fire protection. We have 18 largely unstaffed fire stations in the rural parts of the county. And those ought to be staffed. Particularly during the fire season with a -- now that's an area where if nothing else, we ought to be tapping into a small portion of the reserve fund that you mentioned. We have $700 million in reserves. There is no excuse not to use $10 million of that to provide round the clock professional firefighting staffing at those 18 fire stations that right now rely on only 1 or 2 volunteers of by having those staffed, we could get a jump on those wild fires, and absolutely. We need to invest in fire protection in San Diego County. Because public safety is arguably the number one function of local government. And we have failed as we have seen repeatedly and devastatingly on fire protection in San Diego County.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Ron Roberts.

RON ROBERTS: First of all, there's ail of things that need to be done. Let me point out that in 28, on the ballot, the year that Stephen was last running for office, we had a ballot proposition, proposition A, it would have created $50 million a year. The city of San Diego out right would have received $10 million a year. Think of what those dollars could be doing today. We've done a major study of all the need it is in San Diego County, so we know pretty much the things that have to be done. Going back to proposition A for a minute, Stephen could remember if he voted for it or not, but he didn't come out publicly and support proposition A. All of a sudden firefighting has become important to him, here, two years later. But let me go on. I'm very proud of the fact that this county has put together a program that makes available SDG&E's helicopter this fire season. It's out that we only needed it once because thankfully we have had a lot of rain. But in other areas, we've provided the super scoopers. We took money, three and a half million dollars out of county references in order to be able to do that. We bought numerous fire trucks and other fire equipment for the independent fire districts. Later on today we're gonna be having a press conference. We have prepared and we'll be announcing a new program that we put together using the UCSD super computer that's gonna upon had us be -- have an improved enormously our efforts to identify the fires as soon as they occur virtually anywhere in the rural areas. So we've got a lot of things that are going on. There remains a very important issue, and by the way, the helicopters of the city of San Diego. It was the firefighters that came to me and said could you help us to put -- to help us to get a helicopter and somewhere in the early two thousands, I put together the funding so they could have their first helicopter. We knew it would be a success. It's led to not only a program the city has, but also the program the county has where we have four firefighting helicopters available to us at all times.

STEPHEN WHITBURN: I hardly think the issue here is whether when a reporter asked me what I voted on Prop A two years ago I could remember or not. I think we've all voted on who knows how many propositions. Yes, of course, I voted in favor of prop A, but urn fortunately it was a proposition that was put forward by Ron Roberts without even the support of the firefighters. And unless you are able to craft legislation that has the support of the stake holders involved, you're going to fail, and Ron Roberts failed on that. And we need somebody who has the wherewithal to bring the appropriate people to the table to craft proposals that are gonna get widespread support and adequately sure that we have fire protection. And that's one of the reasons that our San Diego firefighters have endorsed me in this pain.

RON ROBERTS: First of all, it wasn't my plan, it was a plan that was crafted involving almost every fire chief in the region, and the head of the fire chiefs that lead the major organization. Including the fire chief who represented the city of San Diego who was directly involved in this whole effort. This was an important, very penitentiary proposal. It required a two thirds vote, Maureen. We got 63 point something percent of the vet. I'm proud of the work that I did. I wish the outcome would have been different. But I worked on it. It wasn't if I remembered how to vote or if I voted, I worked to Get that passed. When you talk about fires now and you say this is the most important thing on the agenda, but you didn't raise a finger when it was on the ballot, and you were running that at that very same time.

STEPHEN WHITBURN: Supervisor Roberts, you are the supervisor --

RON ROBERTS: Don't interrupt me, please.

STEPHEN WHITBURN: You've had 16 years to provide adequate fire protection in San Diego County, and you have failed. More people have burned to death in our county than anywhere else in the country. We have to do better.

RON ROBERTS: Let me share with you, and Maureen, if you can't keep him quiet when I'm speaking I'll free to interrupt also. But why don't we share his story about the fire stations being closed? He's got the only Pinocchio award that I know in this campaign because he had all his facts wrong. I know you're gonna dispute this.

STEPHEN WHITBURN: Your nose is getting longer.

RON ROBERTS: You didn't get a Pinocchio award from the voice of San Diego?

STEPHEN WHITBURN: There's no such thing as a Pinocchio award. We said our news release said we needed to staff the unstaffed fire stations.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Gentlemen, I think we need to move on. If we can. We're moving from fires, which we have as you've mentioned, have been not -- have not been that much of a threat because of the wet weather to the winter homeless shelter in San Diego which has become more of an issue because of this wet and cold whether that we've been having. The city council has made a tentative decision on the placement of this winter homeless shelter, but the supervisors in the county have been historically absent in this decision. As the supervisor that represents the city of San Diego, which has the largest homeless population in the county, what role, Ron Roberts do you think the supervisor should play in addressing the needs of the city's homeless population.

RON ROBERTS: First of all, Maureen, I'll take issue, the supervisors have not been absent. Every time the city provides a shelter, the supervisors provide the services to there shelter. We've done that in every shelter that the city has provided, and we'll do that again, once they locate it. Remember, homeless is not just the city of San Diego. There's 18 cities, and there's differences going on in each one of those, at the county, we have tried to provide the services that are needed. If the city will show the political courage to locate a facility. And that's their decision and their decision own only. We respect that. Each one of them has a different process, and each one has made different efforts. But the county has done everything possible. We are spending over a hundred and $60 million a year related to homeless issues in San Diego. We're working right now with organizations on the next proposal that will come to the city council, the use of the world trade, what we know as the world trade, used to be the HBJ building downtown. We'll be a part of that in some way shape or form, but only after the city says this is where we want to put a facility. And that decision is their decision. If you go out on Pacific highway and now look at what's called the veterans' village, when I was a city council person, I was involved with getting that started in San Diego. Very humble beginning. That has grown into one of the most successful programs around. And by the way, as a council person, I supported that in my own district to start that, almost without exception. Every year that I've been in government, I've found ways to help provide them grants and the county is still involved in that. But the county is spending directly probably $50 million and indirectly over a hundred and $60 million a year related to home little issues.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Stephen Whitburn, the county's responsibility to the homeless population.

STEPHEN WHITBURN: Well, Maureen, of course you're right, the supervisors have been largely absent for years now on the homes issue. And I think one of the reasons is what we just heard from the incumbent supervisor. He says if a city provides the location, it eight provide the services. And we've heard the city say, well, if the county provides the services, we'll provide a location. You know, each side of the issue is pointing fingers at the other, and nothing gets done. And that has been the case for 16 years. It's time to put an end to that. It's time to step up, and it's time for the city and the county to work together and make it a priority to both find a location and provide the services. Homelessness is a tragedy, it is all too prevalent in our community, it does not have to be that way. And as a supervisor, I will proactively work to provide the services and the city, I'm sure, will eventually come through with a location.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Okay.

RON ROBERTS: Well, I just -- I'm not printing the finger. They have a winter shelter, they have had it traditionally every year, we've supported it. It -- I understand, you know, locating these things is a difficult political decision for them. But once they make that decision, we'll be there. Of you know, there's no issue there.

STEPHEN WHITBURN: Provide the services now.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Okay. Let's move on. Do you think that there should be a change? There's been a lot made about the discretionary funds that each supervisor gets. It used to be two million, I believe temporarily, it's been cut in half to one million per supervisor to bestow on worthy causes in their particular district. Now, I'm wondering, I know that this has been a big campaign issue, so this question may sound a little weak, but STEPHEN WHITBURN, do you think there should be any change made to the discretionary fund available to county supervisors?

STEPHEN WHITBURN: We need to make huge change to the discretionary funds. The funds are millions of dollars in taxpayer money that have been abused over and over again. Let me give you three examples. Our incumbent supervisor, Ron Roberts, over the years, has given $850,000 in taxpayer money to an organization that promotes trade with China, and that very organization that has taken our tax dollars has sent in on six all expense paid junkets to China. That's not right. Supervisor Roberts gave $25,000 of our tax money this year to advertise the farmers' insurance open PGA golf tournament. In the Union Tribune. I don't know that's what we want our tax dollars spent on. And last he voted for $5,000 to go to the Santa Margarita gun club for ammunition. If you're gonna use my tax dollars for ammunition, you don't have any better use for it than that, then give it back.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Ron Roberts a chance to respond, and also, do you think there should be any change made.

RON ROBERTS: Actually there's been a series of changes made that put a focus now on capital improvements which will restrict the way that the grants are going. These grants are vital to so many nonprofit organizations in the county. And the good thing approximate them is they leverage the dollars. Today, and you'll hear later on an announcement made, Maureen, by -- I'll just tell you, by a pretty famous football player here. His foundation is gonna be making a grant. The county has sort of started the ball rolling with a grant that he's gonna add too. And this is the nice thing about it, when we're able to make these grants, we see whether it's a boys and girls clubs, whether it's the pro kids golf, whether it's a senior center, that they frequently bring with them the attention that gets the public sector, the private sector involved. And I don't apologize for that. Of this is a great program. The group that he talks about that is sending work to China is the world trade center. We have selected programs for San Diego companies to go over there in trade fairs and show their work and to be able to increase sales of San Diego companies, this is the way that you're gonna create jobs, president Obama has identified that our medium sized companies in the United States have the ability to greatly increase their sales to foreign kitchens, prime among them is China. San Diego is well positioned to do exactly that. And in companies it's even our big companies like cubic, who I've accompanied on trip over there, they're doing -- they've done an enormous amount of work in China. If you look at the transportation systems over there, they're the ones that have the fare collection systems if you go to shanghai or Beijing, and in order to do that, you need to establish the relationships to make sure that you can continue with those business agreements, but we have so many companies in San Diego that it's important that we just not say, hey, we're part of the Pacific rim and wait for things to happen. But I'm very proud, of not only San Pasqual academy, in which I've been involved but the kids' centers, and the senior centers and everything else that these grants have gone to, and I hope we continue to do that.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: We have time for two responses back and forth, one more time before our closing statements. So let me go to you, Stephen Whitburn.

STEPHEN WHITBURN: Sure, Maureen. Two changes that I would make. I think that these discretionary grants should not be in the hands of one supervisor. I would recommend that the entire board form a commission structure that receives grant proposals, discusses those proposals, and then makes recommendations. And it ought to be a volunteer commission that is made up of a diverse representative sample of our community. I think that way you would get better decisions and take a lot of the politics out of it. If it's not done by the entire board, I'll do that for the fourth district. And lastly, I don't believe that supervisors should take gifts from the very organizations that they give taxpayer dollars to. And that is something that we have already accomplished. Our campaign has accomplished this. I went down to the board of supervisors when it was taking up the issue, and I called upon them to adopt a rule that said that supervisors shall not take gifts from organizations that they fund toward these grants and they adopted it on the spot. Supervisor Roberts was absent from that vote. I'd be curious to know how he would vote on that.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Would you care to respond? Ron Roberts?

RON ROBERTS: Let me just reiterate, this is a good program. I honestly think some of the changes are hurting us, and I'll give you an example. One of the programs that I've been particularly close to is the food bank. And we've helped them in a time of need has grown greatly. They need food. Under the new rules, I can't give them a grant for food, okay? So that disturbs me. So I'm not happy with all the changes and if I had been here, I probably would have recommended at least some adjustments in what the board has proposed. But the program itself is a good program, we've helped numerous people, we've helped nonprofits throughout San Diego County have testified time and time again in support of this. And I'm delighted that we're able to help. But especially so because we're anal to leverage dollars.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Well, we are out of time, except for your closing statements I'd like to give you both an opportunity to tell voters why they should vote for you. Let me start with you, Ron Roberts.

RON ROBERTS: Thank you, Maureen, thank you for hosting this. It's nice to be here only for the fact that we're one week out from the election. There's been a lot of discussion. I think the one thing I've come to realize is that voters all over San Diego appreciate the fact that the county has maintained a strong fiscal discipline and is running things without the upheavals that we're seeing in other agencies. We're not asking anybody for a tax increase. We're saying we live within our means and we deliver services. We doe that because we privatize a lot of things. We used a private sector to save money and deliver services of the money we save goes back into increasing what we can do is supporting community groups. I've lived here almost all my life. I've lived in this district almost all my life. I know the people of this district well. I'm delighted with the people that have supported me, and have come forward. We talked about the public safety people. And some of the people like mayor Sanders and district attorney Bonnie Dumanis, who have been very supportive and endorsed my candidacy. I'm proud of those things, but the thing that matters most is the voters in this district. This is not a partisan seat. I've never engaged in partisanness in terms of making decisions or anything else in the county of San Diego. We want to continue, and I want to personally continue to give you the finest county government in California.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Thank you Ron Roberts, and Stephen Whitburn?

STEPHEN WHITBURN: Thank you, Maureen, let me just close by saying I'm privileged to be running for this seat, with the support of many of our respected leaders, and organizations. Including congress member Susan Davis and bob biller in, senator Christine Kehoe, assembly member Marty block, our counsel members Donna fry and Marty emerald and Todd Gloria, organizations like the Sierra club, the San Diego firefighters, the democratic party, the national organization for women. I knowledge we all think after 16 years of the exact same five supervisors, they've gotten too comfortable, they're abusing their positions, enough is enough and it's time for a change. And that's why voters in this district approve term limits for supervisors this spring. And for those listening this morning, I'd be very grateful for your vote.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: I want to thank you both. I know it's a very hard fought campaign. Thank you both so much. Supervisor Ron Roberts, Stephen Whitburn. Thank you.

STEPHEN WHITBURN: Thank you Maureen.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: If you would like to comment, please go on-line, KPBS.org slash These Days. Tomorrow at this time, we'll be hosting a debate between the candidates for the county supervisor in district five.

Comments

Avatar for user 'AlexSachs'

AlexSachs | October 26, 2010 at 9:36 a.m. ― 3 years, 9 months ago

Roberts has not been a leader on homeless issues related to the downtown shelter. The City of San Diego's supervisor must lead, and he has not. Whenever homeless issues come up at the City of San Diego, there is a mention of the County's obligations, and there is always a chuckle that rolls through the room. Everyone knows the County has NOT lived up to its obligations to help our homeless seniors. The County needs a leader on this issue who will work with Todd Gloria, who has led the way at the City. That's Stephen Whitburn, not career incumbent Ron Roberts.

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Avatar for user 'nathancamp'

nathancamp | October 26, 2010 at 9:49 a.m. ― 3 years, 9 months ago

Hats off to both candidates and the host for a largely civil, issues-oriented debate.

It's curious that Roberts claims SD County is the best-run County govt in the state if not the nation... particularly considering:
(1) the homeless issue noted above
(2) the long-standing failure of the county to run an effective food stamp program, and
(3) the fire protection problems.

Looks like it's time to end the 5-Republican 15-year monopoly at the County Board of Supervisors. The question is how many people will get out there and vote?

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Avatar for user 'ElenaD'

ElenaD | October 26, 2010 at 9:53 a.m. ― 3 years, 9 months ago

Honestly I would just like to know how Roberts thinks we are "living within our means" while the county is in so much debt. It's hard to take someone seriously when they are jaded with the idea that everything will work out even if he won't take responsibility.

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Avatar for user 'AlexSachs'

AlexSachs | October 26, 2010 at 10:53 a.m. ― 3 years, 9 months ago

Sorry, typed too fast on my comment above. The County has not lived up to its obligations regarding homelessness for any segment of our society, not just seniors. Ron is right he has worked on the Veterans Village, and it's a great facility, but just covering the tip of the iceberg. We need the permanent homeless facility downtown and much more. The County needs to do the work it is supposed to do to create a social safety net. Under Roberts and the rest of the right wing GOP supervisors, the safety net has way too many holes.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | October 26, 2010 at 2:59 p.m. ― 3 years, 9 months ago

Time to vote OUT the constipated Roberts.

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