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Candidates Spar Over Open Seat On The Board Of Supervisors

Aired 9/25/12 on KPBS News.

For the first time in 20 years, voters will elect a fresh face to the San Diego County Board of Supervisors this November. The candidates for the Third District sparred at their first forum this week.

Steve Danon and Dave Roberts are fighting a spirited race for the Third District seat to be vacated by Pam Slater-Price. They fired salvos at each other during their first forum since the primary, a debate put on by the San Diego North Chamber of Commerce.

The audience was highly engaged, clapping and cheering for their candidates, and the candidates revealed two very different visions of life as a county supervisor.

Development is one area where Danon and Roberts differ.

Danon, who is chief of staff for Republican Congressman Brian Bilbray, said he’d work to create jobs by streamlining permitting for developers.

“It should not take years for them to get permits," Danon said, “We must set the example with the new Department of Planning and Development Services to expedite permits."

Roberts accused Danon of being financed by special interests.

“Special interests that are supporting him because they want to bring large developments to the back country and I think that’s wrong." Roberts said, "As your supervisor, I’m going to protect your neighborhoods from rampant development.”

Steve Danon takes a strong stance against the $1 million discretionary fund that each supervisor has to spend, which some call a “slush fund." He said it should be eliminated. Dave Roberts said it’s a neighborhood investment tool and community groups would be poorer without it.

Danon attacked Roberts for raising taxes and fees while on the Solana Beach City Council, and touted his endorsements.

“I am proud to earn the endorsements of some of San Diego’s top business leasers,” he told the audience, “Joe Panetta with Biocom; Linden Blue, the co-founder of General Atomics, the one who created the predator; and Malin Burnham, who is a philanthropist and businessman.”

Roberts is running as a Democrat and has the endorsement of several prominent Democrats, such as former City Councilwoman Donna Frye and former state Senator Dede Alpert. However, he is also endorsed by Republican incumbent supervisor, Pam Slater-Price.

Slater-Price is stepping down after two decades on the county board. San Diego Supervisors manage a $5 billion budget.

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