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District 5 Candidate Jerry Kern Says He Would Work To Allow Recreational Marijuana In County

May 22, 2018 1:48 p.m.

Jerry Kern Says He's Most Qualified Candidate In Race To Represent District 5


Jerry Kern, candidate, San Diego County Board of Supervisors District 5

Related Story: District 5 Candidate Jerry Kern Says He Would Work To Allow Recreational Marijuana In County


This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

>>> Bill Horn has represented the fifth district on the San Diego Board of Supervisors since the 1990s. His tenure has been termed out and there are two Democrats and two Republicans running for the seat. District 5 covers the entire width of North County from Carlsbad, North to the Riverside County border and through Valley Center to the Imperial Valley line. Candidate Jerry Kern has been an Oceanside City Councilman for 12 years and he now serves on the community engagement panel for the decommissioning of the San Onofre nuclear -- his positions are nonpartisan but currently all five members of the boards are Republican. Jerry Kern, welcome to the program.
>> Thank you for having me.
>> Very big issues in the county and in district 5, proposed developments like the new version of Lilac Hills Ranch, our controversy all because they address the counties crucial need for more housing that they do not conform with the County generals guidelines on where to build in the backcountry. How can the county recite this problem?
>> We are 100,000 housing units short in San Diego County. We need to figure out places to build housing. I have reviewed the new plan, it is better than the previous plan, I am sure there will be some resistance but building along that I 15 corridor for housing will be a good idea. I haven't made up my mind about the particulars of this development but in general, I am in favor of developing along that I 15.
>> How do you feel about housing developments that don't conform with the County General plan?
>> General plans are general and they are a plan. They are not carved in stone.
>> You spent a year working on a marijuana ordinance for Oceanside that would allow dispensaries to be regulated in the city of Oceanside. It has been pushed back indefinitely, the County supervisors have a moratorium on all new marijuana dispensaries and farms and businesses are required to close by 2022. What you work to change if you get to the board?
>> I have been working on this over a year, I am a Republican and I reached across the aisle who worked with Democrats. We have work for well over a year trying to draft ordinances that will keep people happy and keep it regulated. My goal is, we have crafted these ordinances and like I said, we took a year to do it. They are good ordinances, I would like to take those ordinances to the county. I think the county was wrong, when they pendant. 67 percent of the people in California voted for it and 57% of the people in Oceanside voted for it. We need to accommodate the will of the people. I voted against it for recreational and medical but my job, as a public official, is to carry out the will of the public people and that is what I plan on doing.
>> Reserve funds have been a big deal, supervisors take credit for putting the county on firm financial ground but with $2 million in reserves the county has been criticized for not opening up the purse strings, what is your position on the use of the reserves?
>> $600 million in unrestricted reserves, unallocated reserves, some of that should be used for services. My philosophy is we are in the service delivery business. We need to deliver services for people who need them. Part of this hepatitis A problem -- he did not treated as a problem, they didn't deal with it until it became a crisis. Taking that money and dealing with things when they are problems, we don't have to deal with them when they become a crisis. Off the top, I would give $20 million back to probation, the budget was patched -- cut $20 million and with realignment, they are realigning more clients than they could. To keep people safe they should put money in that and prioritize the spending.
>> You talk about probation, in recent years San Diego County jails have had the highest number of reported suicides in any California jails system. The number of deaths and suicide attempts have been high. A report urged San Diego to address inmate mental health and jail suicides by providing more resources to the jails. What should the County Board of Supervisors do to fix the jails?
>> Since they have money to do that they should prioritize spending on mental health issues. Part of the homeless issue is mental health and supplement -- substance abuse. The hepatitis A issue started in the jails. They knew what was coming and they did not deal with it until it was a crisis. In North County, we are further away, we have lost 5150 beds in North County. I want to be that voice for North County and bring those services to this part of the woods. The idea that everything is about San Diego city all the time, North County has those same issues as downtown San Diego and mental health services one of those things we need to address in North County to not just in downtown San Diego.
>> The current chair of the San Diego board of supervisors went to the White House to talk about president trumps lawsuit against sanctuary city laws in California. Do you think he should've gotten involved in this issue?
>> I support the federal issue on this but putting these briefs on something that doesn't pertain to -- it is showboating, I don't support the sanctuary city idea but I don't support politicians using it for a springboard.'s eMac Jerry Kern, you are a member of the panel for the San Onofre powerplant , finding a new storage facility, do you think the county should take more of a advocacy role on that issue?
>> The good news is HR 3053 pass to the house and is on its way to the Senate. It brings back -- in the bill, it provides for consolidated interim storage and those sites in New Mexico and Texas that are going through licensing will get licensed in the next couple of years. We can start moving the fuel out of San Onofre in 2023 . Hopefully, by that time the licensing will be done and those two sites in New Mexico and Texas and we can start moving fuel out. The advocacy role is take us first. Decommission the site, there is no longer production, when they open the site they should take the decommission sites first and move their fuel out to advocate that San Onofre be at the top of the list.
>> You are one of two Republicans running in the district by brace, even though you have not been endorsed by the San Diego Republican Party, you say you are the most qualified candidate to represent district 5. What do you base that on?
>> I come from the largest full-service city in the North County. The city of Oceanside, we have 18 -- 180,000 people, we have our own Police Department, Harbor, airport, water system, my opponent comes from a contract city, he writes checks to have people do stuff. I have dealt with labor issues and had to deal with coastal commission, airport issues, Army Corps issues, all of those things I will deal with and I dealt with with the city. I can hit the ground at full speed.
>> I have been speaking with Jerry Kern, a candidate for District 5, San Diego County supervisor, thank you for your time.
>> Thank you, I appreciate that. You can find all of our candidate interviews on /election.