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SPECIAL COVERAGE: Living With Wildfires: San Diego Firestorm 10 Years Later

Roundtable: SD Mayor, 52nd Congressional, District 3 Supervisor Races Getting Personal; Sweetwater Getting Weird

Ricky Young, U-T San Diego's watchdog editor, talks to KPBS about the Sweetwater Union High School District Board race, which features a candidate charged with felonies by the District Attorney's office.

GUESTS

Katie Orr, KPBS News Metro Reporter

Alison St. John, KPBS News North County Reporter

Chris Cadelago, U-T San Diego reporter

Ricky Young, U-T San Diego Watchdog Editor

Transcript

Mayor's Race Hitting the Low Ground: The race for mayor of San Diego has become both nastier and more moderate in its final throes.

City Councilman Carl DeMaio is running ads showing a woman accusing Congerssman Bob Filner of... the viewer is not sure what. Boorishness? Rudeness? Rape? She doesn't say. A Filner ad accuses DeMaio of doing the unthinkable -- denying benefits to the families of slain police officers.

As the race winds down, each candidate says he is the only one worthy of the support of women. District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis endorsed DeMaio and attacked Filner's attitude and demeanor toward women, while Filner brought out an array of well-known women supporters himself.

Bilbray Raises Eyebrows, Peters Plays Defense: Voters may feel they’ve entered the Twilight Zone when they see Republican Congressman Brian Bilbray’s latest ad in the race for the 52nd Congressional District.

The ad features Bilbray's daughter Briana, who is being treated for stage 3 melanoma. In the ad she says her dad is making it possible for others to find a cure for her terminal cancer. The ad is a chancy move for several reasons. While it may be received sympathetically by some, it could be seen as exploitative by others. And Bilbray vows to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Bilbray is neck-and-neck with Democrat Scott Peters, who supports "Obamacare" and whose ads are more traditional, attacking Bilbray's positions and remoteness.

The two candidates also differ on immigration policy (Bilbray is chair of the House Immigration Reform Caucus), pension reform and what should be done about Social Security and Medicare.

Race For County Supervisor is Close: The candidates, Dave Roberts and Steve Dannon, however, are not.

Whoever wins the District 3 seat will not change the makeup of the board by much. The five current supervisors are white, Republican and graduates of San Diego State University. If Steve Dannon wins, those facts will still be true.

Dave Roberts, however, is a Democrat who claims the role of outsider, a niche which Dannon says he fills as well. Each describes the other as a tool of special interests.

Dannon wants to cut government spending, including in the supervisors’ offices. Roberts wants to keep the supervisors' $5 million discretionary fund, which he sees as an economic driver for communities. The current District 3 Supervisor, Pam Slater-Price, often used that fund to support arts groups. Dannon says the fund is, basically, a conflict of interest waiting to happen.

Sweetwater Race Features Indicted Candidate: There are two seats on the Sweetwater Union High School District Board up for election, but only one seat features a candidate charged with felonies by the District Attorney's office.

To be elected, incumbent Pearl Quinones must overcome the small problem of her indictment for accepting bribes and failing to report gifts from contractors to whom she awarded millions in bond money.

Even so, last week she was the grand marshal in the Sweetwater High School homecoming parade, apparently invited by the Associated Student Body.

In the meantime, Superintendent Ed Brand is no longer interim, having been given a three-year contract over the objections of teachers' groups. Brand quit in August after discovering a new state law would greatly reduce his retirement income based on his interim salary.

He was originally hired on a temporary basis when the district ousted Superintendent Jesus Gandara over improper billing and spending, among other questionable practices.

No matter the outcome of the election, Brand has his work cut out for him.

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