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District 5 Candidate Michelle Gomez Wants To Use County Reserves For New Hires

May 23, 2018 1:28 p.m.

District 5 Candidate Michelle Gomez Wants To Use County Reserves For New Hires

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Michelle Gomez, candidate, San Diego County Board of Supervisors District 5

Related Story: District 5 Candidate Michelle Gomez Wants To Use County Reserves For New Hires

Transcript:

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.

>> District 5 encompass the entire top portion of San Diego County from Carlsbad, North to the Riverside County line and through Valley Center to the Imperial Valley line. Is been represented on the County Board of Supervisors since the early 1990s by Bill Horn. Now Bill Horn is out and boaters are choosing a new representative. 4 candidates are running. One of those candidates is Democrat Michelle Gomez. She is a governmental affairs analyst. This is the first time she's run for office. Supervisors positions are nonpartisan but all five members of the board are nonpartisan -- are Republicans. Welcome to the program. Land-use and housing are major issues for the county. Especially for the wide-open spaces of district will five. Repose developments like Lilac Hills renter controversial because they address the counties crucial need for more housing but they don't conform to the county, general plans guidelines on were to build. What is your position on the Lilac Hills development?
>> The voters have voted on lilac Hills. We need to listen to the voters and listen to their voices. The county needs to step aside. Is important that we hear what their concerns are and address them. This version of the lilac Hills development really hasn't address those concerns that the public about forward. 60% of them already voted no against this. We need to hear their voices and hear their concerns and not move forward with the project. Overall, we really need to adhere to the general plan. We put substantial amount of time and money into the plan and we should adhere to it. We also have to make concessions when make sense.
>> The counties reserve funds have been a point of controversy. Some estimates put those reserves at about $2 billion which critics say is too much considering the various health, housing and community service needs. If elected, would you dip into those funds?
>> Absolutely. Most counties can't operate on a 20% reserve fund. This fat bank account has damaged our communities and residents. While we have people that are homeless and have housing, they don't have affordable housing options, they are food insecure. These are occurring with our residents and we are sitting on a fat bank account. We have the means to address the hepatitis outbreak which resulted in a state of urgency. We had the means and we chose not to react fast enough.
>> How would you use some of that money?
>> I would address our homeless crisis, our affordable housing crisis and also for Health and Human Services and mental health issues as well as County employees. We to make sure our County employees are making a livable wage. Need to have vacation and sick time and retirement benefits. I am a firm believer that we need to increase the staffing levels. We have one of the lowest staffing levels. We need to have our people working and we need the have that level of service for residents.
>> This issue of a high suicide rate in San Diego County jails was a focus of a California report. One finding was the County needed to step up with more resources to solve serious, long-standing problems in San Diego County jails. What do you think the County Board of Supervisors can do?
>> The Board of Supervisors needs to work with the sheriffs department. We need to be building better services and are jails. We need to address the mental illness of our inmates. We need to make sure we are watching them, we are providing counseling services. We are also using our jails as mental health care facilities. We shouldn't be jailing these people. But we also need to have competence of programs within the jail system.
>> In the county, there is a moratorium on all new marijuana dispensaries and farms and existing marijuana businesses are required to close by 2022. Would you were to change that?
>> Absolutely. I've been dubbed the counties cannabis champion. We need to embrace this industry. I have first-hand knowledge and experience. My husband is a Marine Corps veteran who suffers from PTSD ending -- and anxiety. Uses medical marijuana. It works for him and are family. We need to embrace this market. It will help our economy and farmers. It will help us reduce the black market we are seeing in our cities today.
>> The county board voted to support Trump Max century state laws. What is your opinion on those laws and you think the county board should have taken the stand that it did?
>> When those laws were drafted and they were vetted. I believe they can stand on their own poop --. I think it will be very damaging to our communities. We have a situation where committees do not trust law enforcement. And to as law enforcement to help is wrong. We are going to see some really big problems in that regard as far as I'm concerned. I think it is leading us to target individuals unnecessarily for committing no crown -- crime or very low level crime. It will be problematic and damaging.
>> Michelle Gomez, the climate plan reduces greenhouse emissions and up to 77% by 2015 -- 2050. He relies heavily on buying carbon credits to offset emissions. You said you do not support the counties climate action plan in its current form. So, if elected how would you go about making changes to the plan?
>> We need a robust plan. It's not addressing our biggest issues of getting cars off the road and reducing our missions. We have made great strides in some other areas where we are requiring solar panels. We need to build a concrete environmental plan that we can adhere to.
>> We need something that is actually attainable and we can fight for.
>> What would you add to the plan?
>> I think one of the most important things we need to do is to get cars off the road. We need mass transportation and effect that change. I would give us the ability to make big differences in the emissions.
>> District 5 has more democratic voters than he used to. But with a split of 37 -- 37 set Republican, is still leans towards the right. How would you go about making sure you are representing the will of your constituents?
>> Is important that the Board of Supervisors have an open door policy. Our current board is hiding behind closed doors when they're doing things like voting against the California values act. I think you need to relate to all of the people, hear their concerns and address them. And work with people that are experts in various areas. If you don't know how somethings would work, we need to reach out to those experts, we need to talk to those experts across the aisle and let them know you're working for the benefit of everyone.
>> I've been speaking with district 5 candidate, Michelle Gomez. Thank you very much. You can find all of our election coverage on our website