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Roundtable: A New Political Party You May Not Have Known You Registered For

Voter registration forms marked with Common Sense under political party prefe...

Photo by Claire Trageser

Above: Voter registration forms marked with Common Sense under political party preference, Jan. 31, 2020.

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The new Common Sense Party needs some now. And we look at the city attorney's race and the cases for and against Measures A and C.

Aired: February 14, 2020 | Transcript

Roundtable Guests

Scott Lewis, Voice of San Diego

Claire Tregeser, KPBS News

Jennifer Bowman, inewsource

Erik Anderson, KPBS News

Three candidates differ on city attorney job

The job of the elected city attorney sounds straightforward: to give legal advice to city departments and officials. The three candidates for San Diego city attorney — incumbent Mara Elliott, attorney Cory Briggs, and former deputy city attorney Pete Mesich — have different views on what the job actually entails. Briggs, who frequently sues the city, is trying to make the race a referendum on Elliott’s first three years in office by attacking her integrity, supposed secrecy and focus on politics.

RELATED: Cory Briggs Brings Controversial Record To San Diego City Attorney’s Race

RELATED: Three Candidates Face Off For San Diego City Attorney

San Diegans tricked into registering with Common Sense Party

It doesn’t make much sense. About 5,000 people have signed up for the new Common Sense Party in San Diego County. KPBS contacted 30 members of the party who had no idea they had registered with that organization. Michael Vu, the county Registrar of Voters, says this may amount to registration fraud. The party, started by former Bay Area Republican Congressman Tom Campbell, aims to provide an alternative to Republicans and Democrats. The party needs 67,000 people to join Common Sense in order to qualify as an official party on future ballots.

RELATED: Signature Gatherers Duped San Diegans Into Signing Up For New Political Party

Measure C draws big money, opposition

The push to expand the San Diego Convention Center has amassed more than $2 million in donations ahead of the March primary. Measure C calls for an increase in the city’s hotel room tax, which varies from 1.25% to 3.25% with hotels closer to the convention center seeing a steeper increase. The measure would raise billions of dollars that would be used to expand the convention center and on homeless programs and street repairs. Big hotels like the Marriott, Hilton and Manchester Grand have contributed more than half the funds raised for the campaign. Michael McConnell, a homeless advocate, has put some $236,000 of his own money into defeating the measure.

RELATED: Measure C Asks San Diego Voters To Approve New Hotel Tax

Related: Hotel Industry Pushes Passage Of Measure C To Expand San Diego Convention Center

Measure A: rural housing projects will need voter approval

San Diego County spent years hashing out a new General Plan that clusters new housing in rural areas near villages, services and jobs. But since it was adopted in 2011, the Board of Supervisors has approved several backcountry developments outside plan guidelines. Measure A changes the process for approving housing developments in isolated areas. Instead of letting the San Diego County Board of Supervisors have final approval, voters countywide would weigh in on projects with six houses or more, if those projects require an amendment to the General Plan and if they increase housing density on rural or semi-rural lands. The effort to defeat Measure A is mostly funded by developers, contractors and realtors.

RELATED: Measure A Would Dramatically Change How Rural Land Is Developed In San Diego County

Election 2020 news coverage

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Roundtable is a lively discussion of the week's top stories. Local journalists join host Mark Sauer to provide insight into how these stories affect residents of the San Diego region.

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