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San Diego’s District 7 Race Features Four Political Newcomers

San Diego City Council District 7 candidates Monty McIntyre, Wendy Wheatcroft...

Photo by Claire Trageser

Above: San Diego City Council District 7 candidates Monty McIntyre, Wendy Wheatcroft, Noli Zosa and Raul Campillo speak at Lake Murray, December 2019.

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The primary field includes three Democrats and one Republican. Voter registration numbers favor the Democrats who hope to build on their 6-3 council majority.

Aired: January 22, 2020 | Transcript

Residents of Linda Vista, Mission Valley, Allied Gardens and Tierrasanta will have four choices when voting for a new city councilmember this March. The top two vote-getters will compete in November to replace termed-out Republican Councilman Scott Sherman.

The primary field includes three Democrats and one Republican. Democrats already enjoy a 6-3 majority on the council, and recent voter registration numbers indicate that District 7 gives them a good chance at increasing their advantage.

As of the beginning of January, there were 39.8 percent registered Democrats in the district, 26.3 percent registered Republicans and 27.4 percent not affiliated with any party.

The candidates

Photo by Claire Trageser

Raul Campillo, a candidate for San Diego City Council District 7, talks at Lake Murray, Dec. 10, 2019.

Raul Campillo

Age: 32

Party: Democrat

Family: Father and Mother live in El Cajon; extended family through all of San Diego County.

College: Harvard (B.A. in Government, J.D. from Harvard Law School)

Hometown: San Diego

Career: Attorney

Other Interests: Fan of Padres baseball, FC Barcelona soccer, and hiking Cowles Mountain

Personal Fact: He said he is one of only four attorneys assigned to obtain Gun Violence Restraining Orders in court in the city of San Diego, helping enforce the state's "Red Flag" laws and keeping guns out of the hands of domestic abusers and those who pose a danger to themselves and the community.

Raul Campillo is a deputy city attorney for the city of San Diego. He used to be an elementary school teacher and has worked on several Democratic presidential campaigns.

Photo by Claire Trageser

Monty McIntyre, a candidate for San Diego City Council District 7, talks at Lake Murray, Dec. 10, 2019.

Monty McIntyre

Age: 64

Party: Democrat

Family: Wife and three daughters ages 33 to 19.

College: UC San Diego, USD School of Law.

Hometown: Born in Maine, lived in San Diego for 56 years.

Career: Civil attorney in private practice, mediator, arbitrator, small business owner.

Other Interests: Golf, guitar, songwriting, singing, history, travel

Personal Fact: Once played golf with his dad at the Old Course at St. Andrews and the Championship Course at Carnoustie in Scotland.

Monty McIntyre has practiced law in San Diego since 1980, and has been a mediator and an arbitrator for the last 20 years.

He was also the president of the San Diego County Bar Association and currently serves on the board of directors for a local nonprofit that provides music therapy to veterans, children and seniors.

Photo by Claire Trageser

Noli Zosa, a candidate for San Diego City Council District 7, talks at Lake Murray, Dec. 10, 2019.

Noli Zosa

Age: 47

Party: Republican

Family: Single

College: USD

Hometown: Huntington Beach, CA

Career: Small business owner

Other Interests: Basketball, Golf, American History

Personal Fact: "I'm a sucker for mindless reality TV"

Noli Zosa is a partner in the restaurant chain Dirty Birds, which has locations in Pacific Beach, Ocean Beach, Liberty Station and the College Area.

He’s also on the city's park and recreation board, Mobility Board, Mission Trails Citizen Advisory Council, YMCA MIssion Valley Board and is chairman of the Linda Vista Planning Group. He's the only Republican in the race--the rest of the candidates are Democrats.

Photo by Claire Trageser

Wendy Wheatcroft, a candidate for San Diego City Council District 7, talks at Lake Murray, Dec. 10, 2019.

Wendy Wheatcroft

Age: 42

Party: Democrat

Family: Husband and three kids, ages 14, 8 and 6

College: San Diego State University, BA Liberal Studies; CLAD teaching credential CSU, San Marcos; Master's in Education, National University

Hometown: Coronado, CA

Career: Elementary school teacher

Other Interests: Reading, seeing musicals, going to the beach, traveling, gardening

Personal Fact: She can build furniture.

Wendy Wheatcroft has spent the past three years working on gun violence prevention at the local, state and federal levels. She worked as a full-time volunteer with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, and was an elementary school teacher for 15 years.

Top issue for each candidate:

Raul Campillo: Housing and homelessness

Campillo said he favors the approach the current City Council is taking toward housing affordability, including Council President Georgette Gomez's recent compromise on her "inclusionary housing: plan. Starting this summer, the city’s affordable housing regulations require builders to set aside at least 10 percent of new units for low-income renters.

"So when a new project comes up, the developer has to set aside a percentage to keep the rent or the purchase cost lower," Campillo said.

He also wants more supportive housing for the homeless, along with job training and mental health services.

Campillo said he will also focus on improving bus and trolley service and increasing pay for police officers.

Monty McIntyre: City Hall culture

McIntyre said City Hall is broken and city leaders "must make our decision-making process better."

He said he would do that by using "critical analysis."

"First we need to get all the facts," he said. "Then we need to figure out if there are any best practices anyone has developed."

Next, the city needs to get all relevant expert opinions and then analyze the options to come up with the best answer, he said.

McIntyre also wants to help reduce the cost of housing by cutting red tape and changing community plans so new housing can be approved faster and built less expensively.

Noli Zosa: Homelessness

Zosa said city leaders must better understand what homeless people are going through before deciding what they need.

"Really treating people as individuals and not data," he said. "Just providing a house or feeding them is not enough. There's mental issues, there's substance abuse issues, there are so many different reasons people are homeless and to offer one solution is not going to solve the problem."

Zosa also wants the city to lower taxes on small business owners and cut its spending on bike lanes.

"Right now San Diego is spending $276 million on building bike lanes and that money should be spent on roads and building highways," he said. "Ninety-nine percent of the commuters in this city still use their car as their main mode of transportation."

Wendy Wheatcroft: Homelessness

Wheatcroft also puts homelessness as her top issue. But she said city leaders have to think big if they actually want to make a dent in the problem.

"I have a three-point plan for this," she said. "We have a lot of vacant units throughout San Diego that really need to be brought to market. This includes AirBnBs and vacant units possibly owned by investors. Secondly, we need sweeping regulatory land use reform so we can change the zoning in neighborhoods to allow us to build more housing. And thirdly, I want us to explore the concept of social housing."

Wheatcroft describes "social housing" as government stepping in to building housing in areas where the market is not providing it.

Reported by Claire Trageser , Video by Nic Mcvicker

Other ideas for the district

Each candidate also shared other ideas for what they'd do to improve the district if elected.

Campillo said he would push the San Diego River Conservancy Board to invest in technology to improve the health of the river and the surrounding environment.

McIntyre said he would work with large employers like Qualcomm and local universities to create new mortgage and financing options to help make housing more affordable for their employees.

Zosa wants to build a dog park near the baseball fields at Lake Murray.

"You can't be a community without a dog park," he said.

Wheatcroft said Linda Vista needs more grocery stores and Tierrasanta needs better access to transit.

"We need more trees and safer pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure everywhere," she said.

Election 2020 news coverage

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Photo of Claire Trageser

Claire Trageser
Investigative Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksAs a member of the KPBS investigative team, my job is to hold the powerful in San Diego County accountable. I've done in-depth investigations on political campaigns, police officer misconduct and neighborhood quality of life issues.

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