Monica Montgomery On The Race For San Diego City Council District 4
This is KPBS Midday Edition. I'm Maureen Cavanaugh. This November voters in San Diego's fourth city council district will decide who will represent them at City Hall. The district covers neighborhoods such as Oak Park Encanto and Paradise hills. Democrat Monica Montgomery is challenging incumbent Democrat Myrdal Cole who currently serves as council president in the June primary. Montgomery beat Kohl by six votes KPBS as Claire Trageser spoke with Montgomery about the issues in District 4. Here's that interview Monica Montgomery thank you so much for being here. Thank you for having me. So you used to work for your opponent Murdo call but you left her office the same day as she made these controversial statements about police and racial profiling. Can you walk us through what happened that day. Yes well it was I believe the week after she had held a town hall about a lot of the police brutality and the shootings that were going on across the nation. But how that you know reflected what was going on in San Diego and did not go too well for her. So when she was at the City Council meeting the week after she made comments about racial profiling and basically in so many words said that black people deserve to be profiled because we commit all the crimes. And really there's not too much to it. Part of the comments left that day and turned in my resignation letter the next day and so you call are both Democrats. How do you differ in terms of policies. So one is of course criminal justice reform and how that reform and the law nationwide statewide. And then on a local level is very important for the members of District 4. That's a very stark contrast that I am a criminal justice reform advocate and my opponent is not. And so I believe that the recommendations that were set forth in the San Diego State University racial profiling report should be implemented by our police department. We also have a difference in policy on some of the economic policies economic opportunity for residents of District 4. We live in a district now that has some zip codes have twice the unemployment rate of the entire region. And so it's very important that we have strong economic policies that benefit the residents of District 4 in terms of the LDS you racial profiling study. I know it had these findings and then I believe it was Myrdal call appointed an advisory board to make some recommendations off of that would you have done something differently. So here's the thing about committees boards and commissions at the city. They are the policies are passed by city council and that's who determines how much teeth those committees boards and commissions have what she set up was an escape route to to push the study to a committee or board instead of having a city council deal with what was right there in front of them. We pay it as taxpayers we pay for a study. We receive the study the facts were in the study and we also pay for the expertise of the people who conducted the study. That was also in the report. The recommendations were there went before council and council refuse to act. Led by my opponent and to kick it to a board and a commission is not good government. It is a stall tactic. It is similar to what she did with the citizens review board on police practices proposal that went before city council this year as well which didn't make it onto the ballot. That is correct. Well ultimately based on her stalling it through the rules committee. And so in terms of economic issues what are some specific things that you would do differently. Yeah. So I am a proponent of a local hire back in September of last year. We did a press conference in front of the Malcolm X library where solar panels are being installed in the parking lot. We just did a quick ask of the young men that were working on the job then asked them where they were from. One was from Las Vegas the other was from Riverside County. And I think it's a travesty that we don't have more local hire provisions in San Diego. I think it's a travesty that I can look across the street and see homeless people living in the creek and somehow we're not making the connection that residents in San Diego need middle class careers and good paying jobs in order to live here. And live here and have a quality of life and so making that connection is very important to me for the residents of District 4 and for the entire city of San Diego. So just to be clear you talked to some of the workers on that probably. OK. And they weren't from San Diego. So is that something you feel like the council could control or make sure that local people were hired. I do believe that through local hire provisions also making it a priority. We have a lot of training opportunities here in San Diego. Some of them were right in District 4. And there is not a connection to jobs that we pay for city taxpayers from those training programs. One of the criticisms we've heard about Cole from her constituents is that she's maybe put downtown interests above her district. I reviewed her calendar for the past year and she had one of the lowest numbers on average of weekend events in her district of all the council members. And so here she is addressing that with the union Tribune's Editorial Board. Council president I'm over the place and it's just a council member and it's just a staff member on the council president that represents the entire city of San Diego and that's what I doing as well as my district. So it was a little difficult to get there when I had council meetings and I had to cheer for it does not mean I do. So that's council president Myrdal Ecoles speaking with the Union Tribune editorial board about Councilman Lauries af or Vivian Marino who's running in District 8 and why she has less time to spend in her district than other people do. Do you think that she has a valid argument. I think the community deserves a representative that is president I think that that's why we won the June primary because we don't currently have a representative that is present in our community and in district elections the people who voted you into the seat deserve the resources they deserve attention they deserve. Advocacy at the city council level. Whatever city council member does. Beyond that. They should be able to handle but community comes first and it will come first with me as council member. If you were elected to the council and you were given the opportunity to be council president would you take that opportunity. Definitely not going to speculate on anything. I'm looking forward to November 6th and we're working hard. We have 33 days left and that's what we're focused on. So I wanted to ask you maybe for quick answers for your positions on some things that will be coming before the council. Do you have a stance on soccer city versus SD S New West. I believe that both proposals have too many unknowns on the table and legislating this way through the ballot box for such important land to use decisions is I believe something that that just needs more specifics with either proposal. I believe in both the city is just giving up too much without knowing what the end result will be on both proposals so I'm leaning toward both on the no on both of them. The mayor has convention center expansion project as a major priority. Have you taken a stance on that including some funding for homelessness and infrastructure. I haven't taken a stance on it. The only thing that I would say about the measures that I would like it more concrete information about how the funding to homelessness will be directed what the amounts will be and it's in my mind vague right now and I would need more information in order to be able to support a measure like that if elected do you know now if you would support a special election this spring. I support measures K and L previously and so whatever measures canaille allow us to do with potential conventions and measures what I will support. Do you have a position on rent control. Yes I am a proponent of Prop 10. I've been listed as such. So if it passed would you want San Diego to take on some kind of policy. Definitely we'll be looking into it. What will work best for San Diego and are our residents you know District 4 is a community where again we've discussed the unemployment rates and some of our zip codes. And so we are looking forward to having policies that help working families and working people. And what about community choice aggregation. Alternative Energy Program couldn't come before the city council in the next year. Yes I'm a proponent of community choice. Well Monica Montgomery thanks so much for speaking with me. Thank you. That was Monica Montgomery candidate for San Diego's fourth city council district. Speaking with PBS is Claire Trageser. Myrdal Kohl's campaign has not responded to repeated requests for an interview. For more on our election coverage go to KPBS dot org slash election today.
This November, voters in San Diego’s city council district 4 will decide who will represent them at City Hall.
The district covers neighborhoods such as Oak Park, Encanto and Paradise Hills.
Montgomery resigned as a policy advisor for Cole the day after Cole made controversial remarks about racial profiling. Montgomery now works as an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union.
Montgomery won in the June primary election by six votes.
Q: You and Cole are both Democrats, how do you differ in terms of policies?
A: One, of course, is criminal justice reform. I am a criminal justice reform A: advocate. My opponent is not. I believe the recommendations that were set forth in the San Diego State University racial profiling report should be implemented by our police department. We also have a difference have a difference on economic policies, economic opportunity for residents of district 4. We live in a district now that some zip codes have twice the unemployment rate of the entire region. And so it’s very important we have strong economic policies that benefit the residents of district 4.
Q: What would you do on economic issues?
A: I am a proponent of local hire. Back in September of last year, we did a press conference in front of Malcolm X Library where solar panels were being installed in the parking lot. We did a quick ask of the men that were working on the job and asked them where they were from. One was from Las Vegas the other was from Riverside County. I think it’s a travesty that we don’t have more local hire provisions in San Diego.
Q: What is your stance on SDSU West and the Soccer City ballot measures?
A: I believe both proposals have too many unknowns on the table and legislating this way through the ballot box for such important land use decisions, I believe, needs more specifics with either proposal. I believe in both the city is giving up too much without knowing what the end result will be. So, I’m leaning no on both of them.
Q: Have you taken a stance on the Convention Center expansion initiative, which includes some funding for homelessness and infrastructure?
A: I haven’t taken a stance on it. I would like more concrete information about how the funding to homelessness will be directed, what the amounts will be. It’s in my mind, vague right now. And I would need more information to be able to support a measure like that.
Q: Would you support a special election in the Spring?
A: I support Measures K and L previously, so whatever Measures K and L allow us to do with a potential convention center measure is what I would support.
Q: What’s your stance on rent control? If Prop. 10 is approved, would you want San Diego to take on a rent control policy?
A: Yes, I am a proponent of Prop. 10. I definitely would be looking into it what would work best for San Diego and our residents. District 4 is a community where we’ve discussed the unemployment rates in some of our zip codes. We’re looking forward to having policies that help working families and working people.
Q: What is your stance on community choice aggregation?
A: Yes, I’m a proponent of community choice.
Q: If you were elected to the council and were given the opportunity to become Council President, would you take it?
Definitely not going to speculate on anything. I’m looking forward to November 6th and we’re working hard, we have 33 days left and that’s what we’re focused on.
Myrtle Cole's campaign has not responded to repeated requests by KPBS for an interview.