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Politics

Lone Democratic Supervisor Roberts Faces Two Republican Challengers

Escondido Mayor Sam Abed is a candidate for the District 3 Seat on the San Diego County Board of Supervisors. 2016
Sam Abed for Supervisor
Escondido Mayor Sam Abed is a candidate for the District 3 Seat on the San Diego County Board of Supervisors. 2016
Lone Democratic Supervisor Roberts Faces Two Republican Challengers
Lone Democratic Supervisor Roberts Faces Two Republican Challengers
Lone Democratic Supervisor Roberts Faces Two Republican Challengers GUEST:Alison St John, North County Bureau Chief

Isolated showers through the afternoon and tonight partly cloudy collars in the 50s, partly cloudy tomorrow and has a 67 to 72. For the Imperial Valley areas of blowing sand and dust will be diminishing this afternoon,-the 70s then partly cloudy and warmer tomorrow with highs in the 80s. This is KPBS for news matters. This is KPBS midday edition, Maureen Cavanaugh. The flag members San Diego Board of Supervisors has a budget than the city of San Diego. $5 billion. But elections for County supervisors often fly under the radar. Three seat on the border up for reelection on the board this year. One a fiercely contested. The third district held by Dave Roberts the lone Democrat on the board. KPBS North County St. John says to Republican challengers are vying to unseat him. Supervisor Dave Roberts won't keep his seat without a fight because while everyone else on the board of County supervisors has served 20 or more he got into trouble in his first four-year term. Had some personnel issues in my office last year. I immediately took responsibility. The DA has now made a decision. We've moved on. This is about leadership and providing real solutions to real problems. The District Attorney has decided not to provide. But supervisors off the hook. Dave Roberts should resign or we will vote him out of office. This is all about partisan politics. He thinks Roberts is suffering from a history of public control on the powerful County board He's only Democrat in 20 years that's been on that board and frankly if the Republicans feel they can take that seat back they will do everything they can. So there's definitely a political component to this. Tony Krvaric conferences. We should have not lost the seat to begin with. That will be there now. We will do everything we can to take it back. Both parties are thinking ahead to long-time political consultant. The next two supervisors Ron Roberts and Greg Cox have districts the predominantly [Indiscernible] so Dave Roberts seat could become pivotal. It becomes the swing seat. I think there's a desire on the part of both parties to get their guy or gal affected. Getting a supervisor elected is expensive. With about 300,000 registered voters each. In the third district registered Republicans outnumber Democrats but Shepard says the inland Republicans have different values than the coastal Republicans. They created the district that span two different cultures. From Escondido to the small coastal communities. It's what makes it different call to represent that district and that's why Sam has potential solid basis in Escondido questionable ability to expand it beyond that city. Roberts second challenger is and leaders Mayor Gaspar. She is well aware of the need to appeal. We have what I call coastal Republicans I can vote either way. In both my election I was able to have 20% above GOP registration voting for me in those elections. That's important quality that will come in handy. Come June, November the supervisor race. Have to be able to appeal to be successful in this race. Environmental quality of life issues and believes she have broader appeal in November. But abed whose brand is far more conservative has a trump card. The endorsement of the Republican Party. Morgan be over half million dollars there already over $300,000. Now the Republican Party's going to support us in the primary and in the general election. There's a lot of resources for our campaign to win. Chamber of Commerce and Republican Mayor Kevin Faulconer. She's not base the Republican Party chose to support her rival. It may be nice to have their endorsement but it may be a blessing in disguise as we watch the [Indiscernible] that turnout. You may see new pool of voters that are interested in something different, something new. Roberts have a hard time eating a moderate republic or. Will get to the primary and so his fate to some extent depends on the outcome of the second [Indiscernible]. That's can be pretty interesting. Joining me now is KPBS reporter Alison St John I think at the big question everyone's watching this very carefully because we have old-timer Escondido Mayor who has been around for many years as a loyal Republican and then we have on the coast the Mayor of Encinitas there's just elected quite recently. And instead of a newcomer to Republican seen. I think the interesting seen about those North County and the district that Dave Roberts is trying to hold onto his half in the San Diego and half in North County. Is that North County has been inland. So the ones along the coast are much more concerned not conservation in a beautiful environment. Meant the most Republican cities. In County. So you're a very strong Republican with them very modern Dave Roberts. So you can imagine that he might find it in this particular [Indiscernible] to put off gets a moderate Republican. I think you would find it easier to defeat someone who is a more straight down the line Republican. You 10 in the first form they had recently. How forcefully to the two Republicans go after Robert for his office management problems. That is his Achilles' heel. He won the seat. He won a seat on the Board of Supervisors in 20 years. He won it and in his first four-year term he had some personnel issues. Which of course his opponents are making [Indiscernible] over. Sam abed went after him lot more and said really that Roberts should resign even though the District Attorney has really decided he is nothing critical about what [Indiscernible] and the county decided to pay $300,000 to pay off the claims of rubber said staffers who were claiming that he missed use public money and created a toxic work environment. If she had made this kind of mistake she would have probably ended her time in the private sector. They are not going to let him off the hook that easy. How forcefully to the two Republicans go after each other? Is is really a battle? Yes. At the moment there signs that Kristin Gaspar is really going off to [Indiscernible] than Dave Roberts. She's hoping to win, the birth hoping to be the one that gets through the June primary along with Dave Roberts. He will get the primary and face the challenges in November. Anything could happen to that the assumption. Gaspar one after to Mayor abed about an issue in his city where he apparently paved over parking lot that he owned without getting the correct permits. So he violated certain larder quality laws. She deftly trying to point out she is a different kind Republican and she's trying her part out those weaknesses. For issues candidates differ on? Manager consider and's things like land-use, where do you build? Ready decide to change the County's general plan, and build more houses? This is a terrible dynamic for the County cause we need more housing. We're just a short of housing. That's one reason why the cost of housing going up. Being unincorporated or the air urban areas. The district is in urban areas. The County supervisor has a vote that would affect the on even incorporated areas. Whoever wins the seat is going to be having quite a lot of troll whether the County's general plan is amended, Kristin Gaspar has a [Indiscernible] get she's in a city that doesn't have housing element. If she can get affordable housing her city is she going to vote to put all the more affordable housing in the Incorporated areas or she says no, she said she would consider the general plan very carefully before making amendments. This is the kind of questions that perhaps voter should look at. And the other one is transit. Congested on five and 15 and this half cent sales tax that the Sandag board is proposing. I believe they're not really for it, the two opponents. They believe we need to spend more money on roads rather than public transit whereas Dave Roberts believes public transit is vital. Back to the political race, what should we be watching for as this moves closer to the primary? Who raises the most money is always important. These districts are huge. Nurse 300,000 registered voters in this district. About 70,000 of them are [Indiscernible] voters. Anyone who's trying to run, reach them, many people of no idea what the County supervisors do, will have to send out mailers. That will be according to Sam Shepard. About $35,000 per mailer. They are going to have to raise a lot more money than they have in the past. [Indiscernible] is talking about raising half $1 million with the help of the Republican party so he will be hard to beat. Just out of curiosity, who are the other two supervisors running for reelection? There's Dianne Jacob and Greg Cox, they both have been on for many years, 20 years in the case of Dianne Jacob, but they are pretty much expected to get and keep their seats. It's been the case for couple of decades on County board. I've been speaking with Alison St John. Thank you. My pleasure. Coming up after the news, statistics show C-sections are very popular in San Diego. Some say too popular. Its 1233, you're listening to tran 10.

Lone Democratic Supervisor Roberts Faces Two Republican Challengers
With two Republican challengers vying to unseat him, Democratic San Diego County Supervisor Dave Roberts won’t keep his position without a fight.

At $5 billion, the budget overseen by the five-member San Diego County Board of Supervisors is bigger than the city of San Diego's. But elections for county supervisors often fly under the radar.

The only seat being seriously contested this year is the District 3 seat held by Dave Roberts, the lone Democrat on the board.

Roberts won’t keep his job without a fight. While everyone else on the Board of Supervisors has served 20 years or more, Roberts faced trouble in his first four-year term.

“I had some personnel issues in my office last year,” Roberts said during an interview before a recent forum. “I immediately took responsibility. The DA has now made a decision, we’ve moved on. This is about leadership and this is about providing real solutions to real problems.”

Several members of Roberts' office staff left last year, amid accusations of misuse of public funds and allegations of creating a toxic work environment. The county settled the civil suits for $310,000.

Sam Abed

Age: 64

Family: Wife Mona, daughters Linda and Julie

Education: Not provided

Career: Founder and president of Abed Corp. and Pacific West Consulting; systems engineer at IBM

Other Interests: Tennis and traveling

The district attorney recently announced she would not pursue criminal charges against Roberts. But one of his two challengers, Escondido Mayor Sam Abed, is not about to let the supervisor off the hook.

“Dave Roberts should either resign from office or we will vote him out,” Abed, a Republican, said. “It’s that simple — he has violated the public trust.”

San Diego County's Democratic Party chairwoman, Francine Busby, said this is about partisan politics. Roberts is suffering from a history of Republican control on the powerful county board, she said.

“He’s the only Democrat in 20 years that’s been on that board, and frankly if the Republicans feel they can take that seat back, they will do everything they can,” Busby said. “There’s definitely a political component to this.”

San Diego County's Republican Party chairman, Tony Krvaric, wants the seat back.

“We should not have lost this seat to begin with,” Krvaric said, referring to the 2012 race when Roberts narrowly beat Republican Steve Danon.

“There was an Obama wave in 2012, and that will not be there this time," he said, referring to President Barack Obama's re-election. "We’ll do everything we can to take it back this time.“

Why does the District 3 seat matter?

San Diego County Board of Supervisors District 3 includes Encinitas, Escondido, Del Mar, Solana Beach and the San Diego communities of Mira Mesa, Carmel Mountain Ranch, Scripps Ranch, Tierrasanta and Sabre Springs.
Susana Tsutsumi
San Diego County Board of Supervisors District 3 includes Encinitas, Escondido, Del Mar, Solana Beach and the San Diego communities of Mira Mesa, Carmel Mountain Ranch, Scripps Ranch, Tierrasanta and Sabre Springs.

Both parties are thinking ahead, said longtime San Diego political consultant Tom Shepard.

Shepard said two supervisors who will be termed out — Ron Roberts and Greg Cox — have districts that are predominantly Democratic, so Dave Roberts' seat could become pivotal. Ron Roberts will be termed out in 2018, and Cox will be termed out in 2020.

“So the 3rd District then becomes the swing seat,” Shepard said. “And I think there’s a desire on the part of both parties to get their guy, or gal, elected.”

But getting a supervisor elected is expensive — some of the districts are as large as a congressional district, with about 300,000 registered voters. Shepard estimated it would cost about $35,000 to send a mailer to the 70,000 likely voters in District 3.

There are more registered Republicans than Democrats in the district. But Shepard said inland and coastal Republicans have different values.

Inland Republicans, coastal Republicans

Encinitas Mayor Kristin Gaspar is a candidate for the District 3 seat on the San Diego County Board of Supervisors. 2016
Kristin Gaspar for Supervisor
Encinitas Mayor Kristin Gaspar is a candidate for the District 3 seat on the San Diego County Board of Supervisors. 2016

Kristin Gaspar

Age: 36

Family: Husband Paul and children Carson, 10, Payton, 8, and Addison, 6

Education: Bachelor’s degree from Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State

Career: CFO of Gaspar Doctors of Physical Therapy

Other Interests: Coaches Pop Warner cheerleading squad, third grade civics instructor

“They created a district that does span two different cultures almost — from Escondido to the small coastal communities,” Shepard said of the supervisors’ redistricting in 2001. “And it’s what makes it difficult to represent that district. It’s why I think Sam Abed has a potentially solid base of support in Escondido, but questionable ability to expand that beyond that city.”

Roberts' second challenger, a coastal Republican, is Encinitas Mayor Kristin Gaspar. She is well aware of the need to appeal across party lines.

“We have what I call ‘Coastal Republicans’ that can vote either way,” she said. “In both my elections, I was able to have 20 percent above the GOP registration voting for me in those elections. That’s an important quality that will come in handy come June, come November in the supervisor race. You have to be able to appeal along the coast to be successful in this race. “

Gaspar has won political support on environmental quality of life issues and believes she has broader appeal than Abed in a runoff with Roberts in November.

But Abed, whose brand is far more conservative, has a possible trump card: the endorsement of the Republican Party.

San Diego County Supervisor Dave Roberts is running for reelection to the District 3 seat. 2016
Dave Roberts
San Diego County Supervisor Dave Roberts is running for reelection to the District 3 seat. 2016

Dave Roberts

Age: 55

Family: Spouse Wally, six adopted children (Robert, Alex, Julian, Joe, Natalee and Manny)

Education: Master's degree in public financial management from American University; bachelor’s degree in political science and economics from American University

Career: Founded, owns and operates real estate management company; senior manager for Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society; corporate officer for SAIC

Other Interests: Hiking and spending time outdoors and at the beach with his family

“We’re going to be over half a million dollars,” he said. ”We are already over $300,000. I think I am leading in the fundraiser effort, and now the Republican Party is going to support us in the primary and in the general election, so there is a lot of resources for our campaign to win.”

Abed claims polling shows he is a few points away from winning the seat outright with more than 50 percent in June.

“We’re going to try to win this in June, no doubt about it,” Krvaric said. “That saves us a lot of money if we can win it in June. Then we don’t have to fight it in November.“

Democrat Busby is skeptical.

“I would say Sam Abed is one of the most conservative politicians in San Diego,” she said. “I think Sam’s base is going to be pretty small.”

Gaspar has endorsements from the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Lincoln Club and San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, a Republican. Gaspar’s not fazed that the Republican Party chose to support her rival in the race.

“While it would be nice to have their endorsement, it may turn out to be a blessing in disguise as we watch the voters that turn out this June and this November,” she said. “You may see a new pool of voters that are interested in something different, something new.”

When asked what he thought about the Republican Party’s endorsement of Sam Abed, Shepard has some doubts.

“I thought it was a godsend for Dave Roberts. We can presume that Roberts will get through the primary, so his fate to some extent will depend on the second place finisher. So that’s going to be pretty interesting.“

At a recent forum, the three candidates revealed stark differences in positions on most issues, from land use to marijuana.

The three candidates will participate in a forum sponsored by the North San Diego Business Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, May 17, in Rancho Bernardo.

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