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Roundtable: Who Says Primary Politics In San Diego Is Boring?

KPBS Roundtable

Roundtable: Who Says Primary Politics In San Diego Is Boring?


Aired 5/30/14

Roundtable: Who Says Primary Politics In San Diego Is Boring?


Mark Sauer


Claire Trageser, KPBS News

Tom Fudge, KPBS News

Tarryn Mento, KPBS News

Ari Bloomekatz, Voice of San Diego


52nd Congressional: High-Profile Toss-up

The mostly coastal congressional district that stretches from Coronado to north of Poway is rated a “pure toss-up” by the non-partisan Rothenberg Political Report. Democratic incumbent Scott Peters and former San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio are widely expected to meet each other again in November's general election.

But California’s open primary system could produce surprises. The race for the 52nd has attracted a lot of money, with three of the four candidates raising more than $1 million each.

Funds have come in for the high-profile race from the Koch brothers through their Super PAC and from the Democratic National Committee. In November this stream of funds is expected to become a deluge.

Voter registration in the district is almost even between Republicans (33.8 percent) and Democrats (32.3 percent), with Independents at 28.7 percent.

Scott Peters won the district in 2012 by besting Brian Bilbray by 7,000 votes.

Props B & C

Commercials urging voters to vote no on San Diego City Propositions B and C say that “it’s just a bad plan” to put “people right next to an industrialized facility.”

The "bad plan" referred to is the Barrio Logan community update plan negotiated over a five-year period and costing millions. The plan is designed to prevent housing from being built next to the neighboring shipyards by creating a buffer zone between them.

A ”yes” vote affirms the community plan. If the “no” votes prevail, the city will have to re-do the plan update or wait a year and re-affirm it.

The petition drive to get B and C on the ballot was funded by the ship-building industry to the tune of $1 million plus and marked by allegations of deception. Opponents of the community plan have said it is the first step in eliminating the shipyards and the jobs that go with them. Proponents say that the buffer zone between heavy industry and homes is a public health necessity.

Horn v. Wood; Democracy v. Low Turnout

San Diego County Supervisor Bill Horn, who has held his job in District 5 for two decades, is no stranger to controversial positions and inflammatory speech and has made a bunch of enemies in the last 20 years.

Things have gotten a bit more heated recently for Horn, who has been caught up in a scandal (uncovered by inewsource) over a charity he “bought.”

His opponent is Oceanside Mayor Jim Wood, who has his own problems with inflammatory speech, commenting on women's appearances and calling them ”girls.” He recently dismissed his campaign manager because he uses a wheelchair.

It may turn out that enemies or no enemies, scandal or no scandal, conservatives like Bill Horn will benefit from a (possibly) very low voter turnout. Republicans and their causes have swept six of the last eight citywide elections with low voter turnout.

Even mail-in ballots are problematic this time. The San Diego County Registrar of Voters sent out 850,000 mail-in ballots for the June primary, but so far, only about 113,000 have been returned.

City Council Districts 2 And 6

Four San Diego City Council Districts are up for election, two of them — Districts 2 and 6 — without an incumbent running.

A former federal prosecutor (Sarah Boot), a current City Councilwoman (Lorie Zapf), a property manager (Jim Morrison) and an organic fertilizer marketer (Mark Schwartz) are going after Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s vacant District 2 seat.

With Lorie Zapf re-districted out of her current District 6, candidates for that seat are San Diego County Taxpayers Association Vice President Chris Cate; former SDUSD board member Mitz Lee; educator Carol Kim; and security guard De Le.

The Issues in these two districts are similar to those in the rest of the city. They include funds: funds for infrastructure, funds for public safety, funds for libraries and parks and funds for the convention center expansion. The building-height limit is an issue in District 2 as well.

The most important issue in these races may be whether the council will retain a veto-proof majority.

Any candidate with more than 50 percent of the vote, wins outright.

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Avatar for user 'GandT'

GandT | May 30, 2014 at 12:14 p.m. ― 2 years, 9 months ago

Regarding YES on Props B&C:

It is worth noting that local Community Planning Volunteers all over the City are extremely concerned about the precedent that would be set should Props B&C Fail and overturn Barrio Logan's Community Plan. This referendum will impact every single community plan in our City.

The concern is that if the proposition fails - YOUR neighborhood's carefully crafted zoning and land-use protections for YOUR community could be subjected to just such a city-wide vote by folks who may never even have set foot in your community... because some well-funded interest objected to any provision in it... objected enough to spend the many $$ it takes to buy the signatures to get such an item on the ballot.

The Chair of CPC (Community Planners Committee - Monthly meeting of the Chairs of every planning committee in the City of San Diego), Joe La Cava, has gone on record at press conferences supporting YES on Props B and C, and the North Park Planning Committee unanimously passed the below motion supporting YES on Props B&C at their April Board meeting

Minutes: April 15, 2013– 6:30 PM
“ XIV. Discussion/Action Items
a. Environmental Health Coalition re: Barrio Logan CPU Ballot Initiative: The Barrio Logan CPU was approved by City Council after an extensive multi-year consensus process. An initiative to overturn the approved the CPU was filed immediately. Presentation by Corrine Wilson – volunteer with Yes on B&C campaign: Item On the June 3rd ballot. Signature gatherers spread many false rumors regarding the CPU. The CPU was created by a large group of stakeholders. Consensus was reached on most issues despite large diversity of stakeholders.

. Whereas, The North Park Planning Committee does not support community planning by initiative;
. Whereas, The NPPC believes the community plan update process for Barrio Logan was transparent and inclusive;
. Whereas, Should propositions B & C fail, the NPPC is concerned about the profound implications for future community plan updates city-wide.
. Therefore the NPPC supports the San Diego City Council's decision to approve the community stakeholder derived community plan update and endorses the passage of Propositions B & C on the June 3, 2014 City of San Diego ballot. Carlson/Gebreselassie 15-0-0 “

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Avatar for user 'brian051991'

brian051991 | May 30, 2014 at 2:26 p.m. ― 2 years, 9 months ago

While the 52nd Congressional District covers a portion of "North County," it actually covers portions of northern communities in the City of San Diego, in addition to downtown and coastal communities from La Jolla (south of UCSD) to Coronado.

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Avatar for user 'Laura Wingard'

Laura Wingard, KPBS Staff | May 30, 2014 at 4:37 p.m. ― 2 years, 9 months ago

Thanks, Brian. We have changed the story to better reflect the communities within the 52nd District.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | May 30, 2014 at 7:05 p.m. ― 2 years, 9 months ago

It's disturbing and disgusting that the Kock Brothers are funneling money into our local elections here.

Who are they backing?

Mr. DeMaio?

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Avatar for user 'jameslamattery'

jameslamattery | May 31, 2014 at 8:56 a.m. ― 2 years, 9 months ago

The "height issue" is briefly mentioned as the "issue" between two candidates for the Council District 2 seat. Note that the KPBS Metro reporter (approximately 22 minutes into the video) states that because of the public uproar, the Planning Commission is "not going forward with that debate," in regards to lifting the 30 ft height restriction. Please note that city planner, Michael Prinz, when I queried him regarding this, stated: "We will be preparing amendments to the Linda Vista and Clairemont Mesa community plans, rezones, and facilities financing plan amendments that implement some of the land use and mobility recommendations resulting from the Study(MBAP). The preparation of the amendments will involve the development of an Environmental Impact Report and full public review process. The staff recommendation is to maintain the existing regulatory framework for building heights in Clairemont as mentioned below."

This staff "recommendation" is no guarantee that the height limitation will not be lifted to allow 60 ft building heights. On May 6, 2014, Councilmember, Ed Harris, on behalf of our residents, wrote a letter of inquiry to Planning Director Bill (William) Fulton requesting clarification as to whether he would pursue lifting the current height restriction in future planning documents. He also specifically requested that Mr. Fulton and Mayor Faulkner "not include any proposal to exceed the 30-foot height limit in the EIR as one of the alternatives to be analyzed." Bill Fulton has yet to answer Ed Harris, and I will post Mr. Fulton's answer if it is ever forthcoming. It is our opinion that we have been stonewalled by both Mr. Fulton and Mr. Prinz on the height limitation, that the issue was merely put on hold to let the public outcry settle, and then return to the issue during the Public Notice process of the Phase 2 Amendments. In essence, the "debate" has been put on hold, not the attempt to implement it come the fall review (Phase Two Amendment Process). We will be monitoring the scheduling of the Phase Two Process so that residents can attend the public hearing phases and voice opposition to the plan to increase maximum building heights, changes in land use designations, and rezoning to increase density in inappropriate areas of our community.

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