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Voters Focus On Housing And Environment In District 5 Supervisors Race

A view of the Valley Center countryside where the Lilac Hills Ranch was plann...

Photo by Katie Schoolov

Above: A view of the Valley Center countryside where the Lilac Hills Ranch was planned, with 1,700 homes. The project was not consistent with San Diego County's General Plan for growth, and Measure B on the November ballot failed.

Four candidates are vying to replace District 5 County Supervisor Bill Horn, who is being termed out this year. Like Horn, candidates Jim Desmond and Jerry Kern are Republicans, while Michelle Gomez and Jacqueline Arsivaud are Democrats.

District 5 voters say housing and the environment are the most important issues to them. On a recent Thursday, voters visiting the Oceanside Farmers' Market on Main Street also voiced concerns about homelessness.

“All of the trends I see are positive other than the homeless people. I've been here a few years and each year seems to increase in number and I don’t have a solution for it,” said Oceanside resident Ralph Coomber.

“The neighboring police officers will bring homeless people into Oceanside and dump them,” said Oceanside resident Jill Tomkins.

All of the candidates support using the open land to build affordable housing, saying it would help ease homelessness. But each has a different approach.

Republican candidates Jim Desmond and Jerry Kern both support the development of housing. For Kern, that includes selling agricultural land that’s not making money.

Democratic candidates Michelle Gomez and Jacqueline Arsivaud also want to build housing. Gomez wants to see it in the Western part of the unincorporated area and Arsivaud wants to see it near already existing developments.

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RELATED: Lilac Hills Ranch Is Back For Public Review

But for some people like Julia Ribera, who live in the unincorporated area of the county, more development is the last thing she wants to see on the quiet hillsides of Valley Center.

“I love it! That’s the reason we left the city. To find these kinds of places. It’s so beautiful,” Ribera said.

She said she moved to Valley Center to get away from the traffic, the crowds, and the pollution.

It’s the part of growth and development not even some Oceanside residents like Michelle Jenkins want to embrace.

“My streets on the weekends are so crowded with people trying to park. People leave their trash on the streets before they leave the beach and drive home. So, I think there’s a lot of growing issues that we did not foresee,” Jenkins said.

As housing developments are contemplated, residents are also looking for a plan to accommodate more traffic.

“I’ve been a longtime supporter of emissions controls and an electric vehicle owner for many years. But we've got a freeway right behind us here and it’s important that we do have access down through the corridor. It’s a real challenge,” said District 5 resident Jim Waite.

Desmond has said he supports more HOV lanes, while Kern has called for road repairs. Both Gomez and Arsivaud have said they want to invest in public transit, and Arsivaud also wants to spend money on road technology.

The term limit for the current San Diego County District 5 supervisor, Bill Horn, is up. Now, four candidates are vying for his seat while voters weigh in on what matters most to them.



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