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Mark Kersey: A City Council Winner Before Votes Are Cast

Mark Kersey, the only candidate for San Diego City Council District 5, talks to KPBS.


Mark Kersey, businessman, candidate, San Diego City Council District 5

San Diego County Registrar of Voters, Deborah Seiler


Special Feature KPBS Election Coverage

The last time a non-incumbent ran unopposed for a high level city of San Diego office was when Harley Knox was elected to the City Council District 5 seat in 1939. But now that's happening again in this election.

Mark Kersey is running unopposed to represent District 5, the district formerly occupied by Carl DeMaio, who is now running for mayor.

The district includes the northern San Diego neighborhoods of Rancho Bernardo, San Pasqual, Sabre Springs and parts of Scripps Ranch and Rancho Penasquitos.

Kersey owns Kersey Strategies, an independent research and consulting firm. But he is also considered by many to be a rising star in the Republican Party.

He told KPBS he doesn’t know “what the future will hold,” but said he is looking forward to transitioning from being a full-time businessman to a member of the City Council.

Kersey supports Proposition B to change future city employees’ pensions to 401(k)-style retirement plans.

Because city workers do not receive Social Security benefits, opponents to Prop B argue that eliminating those workers’ pensions is unfair.

But Kersey said, “my understanding is that there will be a transition period, and some of the new city workers will be able to get back into Social Security, potentially.”

“There seems to be a little guidance that we will need from the IRS and Social Security administration on how that will happen,” he said.

But, he said, the city will pay “a matching contribution into something.” He said as a “relatively young guy,” he would rather have more control over his own money, because Social Security may have dried up by the time he retires.

Kersey has written, “We also must rethink the role of government in certain aspects of the city’s operations and examine our core competencies,” including golf courses and airports.

But he told KPBS he does not necessarily support privatization.

“What is the city good at?” he asked. “Does the city need to be in the business of running golf courses? Does anybody really think that the city’s core competency is in running golf courses? I somehow doubt it. Does anybody really think that the city needs to run a cemetery, airports?”

He suggests putting those agencies out to bid.

Kersey also said he supports a new stadium for the Chargers, but that “the devil is in the details.”

It comes down to “how we do it” so the city is not bankrupted, he said.

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