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Ellis Edges Incumbent Lightner In District 1; November Contest Looms

Ray Ellis leads the race for San Diego City Council District 1 with 45 percent of the vote. Incumbent Sherri Lightner is second with 41 percent in what's shaping up as a run-off in November.

Bryan Pease had 6 percent of the vote and Dennis Rida had 5 percent.

Aired 6/6/12 on KPBS News.

Ray Ellis finished ahead of incumbent Sherri Lightner in the race for San Diego City Council District 1 with 45 percent of the vote. Sherri Lightner was second with 41 percent in what's shaping up as a runoff in November.

KPBS reporter Adrian Florido talks to City Council District 1 candidate Ray Ellis.
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Above: KPBS reporter Adrian Florido talks to City Council District 1 candidate Ray Ellis.

Sherri Lightner talks to KPBS reporters at Golden Hall on June 5, 2012.
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Above: Sherri Lightner talks to KPBS reporters at Golden Hall on June 5, 2012.

Ellis said he was not surprised he was leading the race.

"Our message was thoughtful, measured and put taxpayers first," he said.

"Well I think it just speaks loud and clear that the voters in District 1 are interested in a change, someone more proactive, engaged on the city's ongoing issues of financial problems with the city."

But Lightner says she's not worried about her prospects against Ellis in the General Election. She said at least two things were working in her favor.

"Higher turnout in November, definitely, and I would expect to pull most of the votes from the other two candidates," she said.

Other candidates, attorney Bryan Pease and community advocate Dennis Ridz, together took about 12 percent of Tuesday's vote.

Ellis is a Republican businessman. He said he realized he would be able to have a stronger impact on the challenges facing our city as a councilmember. According to his website, at the request of Mayor Jerry Sanders, Ellis accepted a volunteer position on the San Diego City Employees’ Retirement System Board in 2008. In 1987 he founded his own small marketing business where it grew to employ hundreds of people. He lives in Carmel Valley with his wife and 10-year-old son.

Lightner is a Democrat and current District 1 representative. According to her website, she has answered her district’s needs by “repaving 22 miles, helping University City residents to recover from the jet crash, securing funding to bring senior transportation to Carmel Valley and implementing a Community Canyon Fire Watch Program in Rancho Peñasquitos.” Before her election in 2008, she served on multiple planning organizations and committees.

Despite new district boundaries created last year, 94 percent of District 1 remains the same. The district includes San Diego coastal communities from Pacific Beach, La Jolla and Del Mar Heights inland to Carmel Valley, Sorrento Valley and University City.

Each City Council candidate had similar opinions on whether to build a new stadium for the San Diego Chargers.

"I support moving forward with examining a multi-use facility that would include the Chargers," Ellis said. "I think we need to make every attempt to keep them here, but it can't be on the backs of taxpayers."

"I love the Chargers but no money and no land, and it should go to a vote of the people," Lightner said.

The communities in District 1 are Carmel Valley, Del Mar Heights, La Jolla, La Jolla Village, North City, Sorrento Valley, Torrey Pines, Torrey Preserve and University City.

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