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City Councilwoman Barbara Bry Announces 2020 Candidacy for Mayor

January 4, 2019 1:28 p.m.

GUEST: Barbara Bry, San Diego mayoral candidate

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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.

One of the more interesting races for San Diego is to watch in 2020. Apart from the presidential race will be the race for San Diego mayor. Just as Elizabeth Warren jumped into the race to challenge President Trump early here in San Diego City Councilwoman Barbara Brie's the first Democrat to throw her hat into the ring to succeed Republican Mayor Kevin Faulconer who will be termed out. And joining us now is Barbara. Bree thanks for coming in. Thank you Allison for inviting me. Now you represent District 1 which includes neighborhoods like La Jolla Carmel Valley.

University City you've only been on the city council for two years. What makes you think that you are ready to be mayor.

So I've had two years at City Hall and I believe that we need new bold leadership for our city. And I think I bring a unique background. I've been a tech entrepreneur a former journalist I've started and led organizations like Athena San Diego and run women run. And I think our city needs someone who is not a political insider who is not beholden to special interests who will make decisions that are in the best interests of everyone in our city.

Is there any one particular thing that made you make up your mind to run for mayor.

I never expected to run for mayor when I ran for city council. I thought I would probably served two terms and then go off and do something else. I've been engaged in the community my whole life. And what happened was Soccer City honestly and after I oppose Soccer City a lot of people came forward to ask me to consider running for mayor. They said they'd never seen a new council member have the courage to stand up for something against a popular mayor. And so then it evolved.

OK now you say that San Diego deserves forward looking leadership and a bold vision for a future which sounds great.

What is the bold vision that you offer my vision Alisyn comes out of my many years as a tech entrepreneur and my long term support for the arts it's full steam ahead. So what's the literal science technology engineering arts and math and why it's important to bring it to every neighborhood. I spent 30 years in the innovation economy and it drives the economy of the whole city it creates the highest paying jobs. It creates a lot of ancillary jobs and our employers are going to have the workforce they need to succeed unless we do something differently and that will be my focus.

So jobs is enormously important. I mean I think housing is an issue that a lot of people are very concerned about homeless problem soaring war housing that's what people say we need but which neighborhoods would they be built in specifically. You know for example Ohio would you support increased height limits in Lahore. Where is this more housing going to be built.

I think where we're going to focus most of our efforts is in building housing along transit and we'll be updating more community plans. So that's where we need to put our focus is on updating community plans so that the community participates in how we're going to address more density in their neighborhood. In the last year we've updated the Midway plan and the Oldtown plan and in both cases we've allowed for increased density and more housing than was originally allowed.

Well yes except for the fact that I believe that local neighbors have objected to increasing density around transit. That's the ideal but how would you deal as mayor with the fact that many citizens are objecting to that in their own neighborhoods.

I think we're going to have to bring people to the table to talk about what's important and what a community will get in exchange for increased density. Communities have a voice as we're updating the community plans. The Midway plan and the old town plan passed the city council unanimously.

Let's talk a little bit about short term vacation rentals because you were very involved in that legislation. Huge amount of effort went into passing some new regulations than a referendum required the city council pretty much to rescind that. What mistakes were made or what could you do differently if you were meant to bring about some successful compromise about short term vacation rentals.

I'm Alison I'm still working on short term vacation rentals right now and I've been meeting with community groups all over the city. I've been meeting with Air B and B and HomeAway and I'm working on developing another measure that could come before the City Council. We are allowed to pass something that is substantially different. It has to. We have to get a legal opinion that it's substantially different. Also if we wait a year from when we passed the first measure we can pass the same thing again and other cities around the country have passed much more stringent measures cities like L.A. and Washington D.C. since we passed ours much more restrictive.

And let's remember that the measure we passed allowed unlimited home sharing which allowed people to rent out a room in their house every night of the year as long as they were on site to supervise which I view is really important in helping people make ends meet in San Diego and in giving tourists more options. We also allowed you to rent out your primary residence the whole residence up to 180 days a year. And I view this as you know a very permissive ordinance and I was very sad to see you know Air B and B spend a lot of money to gather the signatures to bring it to the council and I did vote for rescission because otherwise we would have been in limbo until the November 2020 election.

There are some other fairly prominent people who are thinking about running including Congressman Scott Peterson State Assemblyman Todd Gloria and our former police chief Shellie Zimmerman. How would you differentiate yourself from these other candidates.

I think my background is unique. I'm the only candidate who has an extensive career in the private sector as a tech entrepreneur who's created jobs who's had to make a payroll and who has started and led organizations like Athena San Diego and run women run.

OK. And finally we talked about some of the prominent people who will also be throwing their hats in the ring. Which of those candidates would you prefer to stand on the debate stage next to.

Listen I'm not going to answer that question. I know there's going to be significant opposition. I've been an underdog you know before. I've spent my life challenging the status quo.

I have an MBA from Harvard. I graduated in 76 at a time few women were getting an MBA anywhere. I've spent a lot of my life is either the only woman in the room or one of a few women. I'm used to challenging the status quo and getting things done and that's what I want to do for San Diego.

That's Barbara Bree who is the City Council representing District 1. Who is going to run for mayor in 2020 after Mayor Kevin Faulkner is termed out. So thanks so much for coming in.

Thank you Alison. I'd love to come back anytime.