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Unopposed Candidate A Rarity In District 5

The race to elect a councilmember for District 5 is unique. Not only is Mark Kersey running unopposed, but he is a non-incumbent. The last time this happened in the city of San Diego was when Harley Knox was elected to this seat in 1932.

Mark Kersey is interviewed by KPBS reporter Katie Orr at Golden Hall about the future plans for his district on June 5, 2012.
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Above: Mark Kersey is interviewed by KPBS reporter Katie Orr at Golden Hall about the future plans for his district on June 5, 2012.

Kersey wins bt default by running unopposed in a district formerly served by Carl DeMaio, current San Diego mayoral candidate. The district includes the northern San Diego neighborhoods of Rancho Bernardo, San Pasqual, Sabre Springs and parts of Scripps Ranch and Rancho Penasquitos.

Kersey owns Kersey Strategies, an independent research and consulting firm. But he is also considered by many to be a rising star in the Republican Party. According to his website, he is a fiscal reformer and served on the board of the Lincoln Club of San Diego, co-chairing the Club’s Legislative Action Committee. He is a former member of the San Diego County Republican Party’s Central Committee and Executive Committee.

Kersey told KPBS he supports Proposition B to change future city employees’ pensions to 401(k)-style retirement plans.

Because city workers do not receive Social Security benefits, opponents to Proposition B argue that eliminating those workers’ pensions is unfair.

But Kersey said, “My understanding is that there will be a transition period, and some of the new city workers will be able to get back into Social Security, potentially.”

“There seems to be a little guidance that we will need from the IRS and Social Security administration on how that will happen,” he said.

But, he said, the city will pay “a matching contribution into something.” He said as a “relatively young guy,” he would rather have more control over his own money, because Social Security may have dried up by the time he retires.

Kersey has written, “We also must rethink the role of government in certain aspects of the city’s operations and examine our core competencies,” including golf courses and airports.

But he told KPBS he does not necessarily support privatization.

“What is the city good at?” he asked. “Does the city need to be in the business of running golf courses? Does anybody really think that the city’s core competency is in running golf courses? I somehow doubt it. Does anybody really think that the city needs to run a cemetery, airports?”

He suggests putting those agencies out to bid.

Kersey also said he supports a new stadium for the Chargers, but that “the devil is in the details.”

It comes down to “how we do it” so the city is not bankrupted, he said.

He told KPBS he doesn’t know “what the future will hold,” but said he is looking forward to transitioning from being a full-time businessman to a member of the City Council.

The communities of District 7 are Black Mountain Ranch, Carmel Mountain Ranch, Miramar Ranch North, Rancho Bernardo, Rancho Encantada, Rancho Peñasquitos, Sabre Springs, San Pasqual, Scripps Miramar Ranch, Torrey Highlands.

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