San Diego Politicos Keep Close Watch On City Council District 1 Race
Thank you appreciate the time to spend with your listeners on this incredible story. Lots of scrutiny and last-minute candidates. We will examine the high profile district candidate Matt -- race. Back in 2012 city Council District one was seen as a key race. That's because it held the key to the partisan balance on the Council. At that time Democrats managed to keep their one seat majority. This election, it is déjà vu all over again. District one which covers La Jolla, University City in Carmel Valley, is again the focus of local politicos as Andrew Bowen takes a look at the candidates. Hello Barbara. Barbara Bry is showing me around her small campaign office. There is a handful of volunteers. We have the all-important microwave and reviewed your free -- refrigerator. Barbara Bry calls her self a high compact high tech entrepreneur. She founded ProFlowers.com. Another nonpartisan group to support women in politics. Now she is running for city Council District 1. Array she says is about the future not the past. I am the candidate of the future the high-tech and biotech in the streets are the economic engines of our entire region. This is where I have spent the last 30 years creating good jobs. We need these worlds to continue. Local elections are officially nonpartisan in California. None of the five District one candidate sounded particularly partisan in their interviews. But a look at their endorsements gives insight into where they will stand. Barbara Bry is endorsed by the San Diego candidate labor unions and environmental grants her main opponent is Ray Ellis he is endorsed by the Sandy Hegel County Republican Party. Alice and for paid staffers are working the phones at his campaign office in Sorrento Valley. Ellis is a small business. I'm a centrist. I'm an independent problem solver and I would work with dozens -- I would work with others to make sure we deal with the challenges. To take advantage of the opportunities we have in San Diego. Both Alice and breed -- both cutting bureaucracy and creating more affordable housing. I asked Barbara Bry and she wants us anything about her opponent and she said I trust the voters to know the difference between when a candidate is telling the truth and when a candidate is misrepresenting the facts. There is a story behind those words. Ray Ellis recently accused 25 of knotted supporting Proposition B. He also suggested she supports tax better dollars for new Chargers Stadium. Neither of those things are true. And Ellis had to walk back his statements. I asked Ellis the same thing if you want to ask -- say anything about his opponents. Again this infrastructure issue is going to be with us a while. We have to make sure we're going to elect Ray Ellis for a fiscal standpoint. We have to make sure that we are creating good jobs. For a while brie and analysts -- for a while three more people enter the race. Louis Rodolico a retired architect to his camp pain center praises to rebuild the Regis Regent Road bridge. Then there is Bruce Leitner at the husband of turned out in combat Sherri Lightner. He is opened about his dislike of Ray Ellis . Bruce Leitner is an engineer and event near -- inventor. The fifth candidate is Kyle Heiskala. One of Sherry Leitner's staff members. He's the only candidate who has worked at City Hall. He said his six years working there give him the inside policy knowledge to from day one. With five candidates on the ballot is going to be tough for anyone to get 50% of the vote and win the election on June 7. That mean that Barbara Bry, trend 23 could be looking for a runoff in November. Andrew Rowan joins us now. One of the things that struck me about your report am I right in thinking that Bruce Leitner is saying openly that he entered the race because he doesn't want to see Ray Ellis lack that? I think that is fair. Yes. On principle -- unprincipled charlatan. He uses words to describe tran 23. There were some mailings that Bruce thought were unfair to his wife. He also says the things that tipped them over the raise the second canvasser for Ray Ellis was knocking on his door. I did get the feeling from the interview that he does take this race seriously. He is actually interested in representing District 1. If you can deprive rate -- if he can deprive Ray LLC will take that as a prize. Many watchers view this race as the most important one for San Diego? The elections this year or in the odd-numbered districts one, three, five, seven, and nine. There are public and in comments and districts five and seven and they are in a strong position there is no incumbent in three and nine. Both of bashed both of those districts have strong Democratic. Not -- that leaves us District one which is the swing district. Assume that the other races play out as expected, a victory by Ray Ellis would give the Republicans Ken's and majority. Mayor Kevin Faulkner is a Republican and he is strongly favor to reelection. A lot of things on the conservative agenda that could be accomplished by the GOP if they control the mayor's office. Politicians love to say that party affiliation doesn't matter and especially local politics. That is true except when it does. There are issues that are clearly along partisan lines. Best example is the local minimum wage increase. Has been a lot of money furniture this race question mark Yes tran 25 raise 270,000 in the last year. Those are the most recent figures we have. Ray Ellis raised almost $100,000 more in the same period. Both of those figures really dwarf the amounts raised by other candidates in other districts. That is emblematic of the fact that this race doesn't matter to a lot of people in San Diego politics. As you put it out this is not supposed to be a partisan race. But is a Democrat or Republican favored by Democrat that demographics question mark Democrats do have a small plurality in District 1. Not overwhelming. Also Democrats tend to vote and lower number in June primaries. The demographics are really much more favorable to Barbara Bry if there is a November runoff. I think it is also interesting that the presidential primaries will play a role in the turnout. If both races going to June, there could be increased voter turnout in both parties in June. To political watchers think that explains the reason for the last-minute sort of candidates in order to try to bring this to a November outcome instead of a June outcomes? That is certainly the theory. The theory being that if there are enough candidates on the ballot stoop confuse voters and not really see which one is democratic and which one is Republican, then you can dilute the vote altogether. Enforce a November runoff. I think the interesting thing about Kyle Heiskala is a staff member, he graduated from USC ST and has a lot of connections they are. And a native enough you see ST students are registered in the district, they mold -- might vote for him. That could delete the vote. The same thing goes for brute Leitner. His name recognition is enough to get enough votes from people who otherwise would not rather checking in a box. That would help for November runoff. I don't think it'd -- I don't think anyone is telling you it is for confusion. I have been speaking with Andrew Bowen. Thanks a lot. Thank you Marine.
Four years ago, the race for San Diego’s District 1 City Council seat was closely watched. Ultimately it decided the partisan balance on the council — with Sherri Lightner’s re-election, Democrats managed to keep their one-seat majority.
Now District 1, which includes La Jolla, University City and Carmel Valley, is again the focus of local politicos as Lightner is termed out and two Republicans, two Democrats and an independent are vying to replace her.
Barbara Bry, the main Democratic candidate, calls herself a high-tech entrepreneur. She co-founded the flower delivery website ProFlowers.com. She also co-founded an organization to support women in the life sciences, and another nonpartisan group to support women in politics.
She said in a recent interview at her campaign office that the District 1 race is about the future versus the past.
“I’m the candidate of the future,” Bry said. “The high-tech and biotech industries are the economic engines of the entire region. And this is where I’ve spent the last 30 years creating good jobs. And we need these worlds to continue.”
Local elections are officially nonpartisan in California, and none of the five District 1 candidates sounded particularly partisan in their interviews. But a look at their endorsements gives insight into where they all stand. Bry is endorsed by the San Diego County Democratic Party, labor unions and environmental groups.
Her main opponent is Ray Ellis, who’s endorsed by the San Diego County Republican Party, the conservative Lincoln Club and the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce. Ellis, a small-business owner who volunteers for a number of local charities and nonprofits, calls himself a centrist and independent problem solver.
“I want to work with others to make sure that we’re not only dealing with the challenges we have, and we have some challenges, but more importantly to take advantage of the opportunities that we have in San Diego,” he said.
Both Ellis and Bry list mostly the same priorities: fixing the city’s infrastructure, improving police retention, cutting bureaucracy and creating more affordable housing. Asked if she wanted to say anything about her opponents, Bry took a long, pensive pause.
“I trust the voters to know the difference between when a candidate is telling the truth and when a candidate is misrepresenting the facts,” she said.
There’s a story behind those words. Ray Ellis recently accused Barbara Bry of not supporting Proposition B, San Diego’s landmark pension reform that voters approved in 2012. He also suggested she supports spending taxpayer dollars for a new Chargers stadium. Neither of those things is true, and Ellis walked back his statement relating to Proposition B.
But Ellis said he stands by his accusation that Bry's support for the so-called Citizens' Plan amounts to support for raising taxes to fund a stadium and Convention Center expansion. The Citizens' Plan would raise the city's hotel room tax, and allows for a portion of the extra revenue to be spent on a Convention Center expansion. It also allows for the same site to be used for a sports stadium, but includes language prohibiting using public money to build the stadium.
Asked whether he had anything to say about his opponents, Ellis said he’s interested in talking about issues.
“Again, this infrastructure issue is going to be with us awhile,” he said. “We need to make sure we’re electing people like Ray Ellis who can deal with that issue from a fiscal standpoint. And we’ve also got to make sure that we’re creating good jobs.”
For a while, Bry and Ellis were the only candidates for District 1. But in the two weeks before the filing deadline, three more entered the race.
Louis Rodolico, a retired architect and Democrat, has made his campaign centerpiece to finally build the Regents Road Bridge. The project has been planned for decades, but some nearby residents oppose it.
Rodolico said District 1 candidates have succumbed to pressures from the Regents Road area residents because they donate money to campaigns, and that the bridge was necessary to reduce traffic fatalities.
"It's really primarily a safety issue, a life and death issue for me," he said.
Bruce Lightner, the husband of termed-out incumbent Sherri Lightner, said he entered because he didn’t want to see Ray Ellis elected. He’s open about his dislike of Ellis, who ran against his wife four years ago. Bruce Lightner is a Republican, an engineer and an inventor, and says he’ll continue his wife’s leadership.
"I watch the City Council meetings, I listen to her, I'm at times her mentor," he said. "I think I really understand the sausage making that goes on in city government."
Also running is Kyle Heiskala, an independent and one of Sherri Lightner’s staff members. He’s 23 — but touts his experience as the only candidate who’s worked at City Hall. He says his six years there give him the inside policy knowledge to lead on Day One.
"My fellow members of my generation are going to be the ones that are most impacted by the decisions that are made today," he said. "I will do a lot to ensure that we are prepared for rising sea levels, increased wildfires (and) longer and more persistent droughts."
With five candidates on the ballot, it’s going to be tough for any one to get more than 50 percent of the vote and win the election outright on June 7. That means Bry, Ellis or maybe one of the other three candidates, could be looking toward a runoff in November.