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Both Candidates For San Diego City Council District 3 Say Their Experience Makes Them Best For The Job

These undated photos show District 3 City Council candidates Stephen Whitburn...

Credit: Candidates' campaign photos

Above: These undated photos show District 3 City Council candidates Stephen Whitburn and Toni Duran.

District 3 encompasses what you might call the heart of San Diego, from where the city began in what is now Old Town to Balboa Park, Downtown to Hillcrest, Mission Hills to University Heights.

Democrats Stephen Whitburn and Toni Duran, both members of the LGBTQ community, are vying for the seat.

Listen to this story by John Carroll.

“I'm the one candidate in this race who has run an organization, the one candidate who's led a staff, the one who has balanced an organizational budget,” said Whitburn.

Those are some of the reasons Whitburn told KPBS he’s the best candidate to succeed Chris Ward. Ward is now running for the Assembly District 78 seat being vacated by Todd Gloria who’s running for mayor, who held the seat from 2008 to 2016.

Reported by John Carroll

Whitburn’s opponent is Toni Duran who said her time working for State Senator Toni Atkins made her the better candidate, and she pointed to what she called her “lived experience.”

“As a woman, as a Latina, as a member of the LGBTQ community, as a person that's come from a lower-income background, I think, I know I can speak to that better.”

Both Whitburn and Duran said the companion issues of homelessness and housing are top priorities.

Whitburn said a community action plan adopted by the city last year is finally moving things in the right direction.

“It has three housing components: rapid rehousing, which is essentially prevention; making sure that people who are at risk of homelessness get the help they need to stay in their homes, shelter for those who are already out on the streets; and long term permanent supportive housing so that people can find a home and receive, in many cases, the treatment that they need,” he said.

Duran said the recent decision to designate the old Mission Hills library as a historic resource was a mistake. The ruling scuttled plans to use the site for affordable housing. She said it was a missed opportunity.

RELATED: Historic Designation Scuttles Plan For Affordable Housing At Mission Hills Library Site

“We keep talking about how we need to build up increased density around transit priority areas. And that's exactly what we should be doing. But we also have to make sure that we have the transit available before we start building up," she said.

The pandemic has hit San Diego’s economy hard. Whitburn said once we start to come out of the crisis, there needs to be a focus on creating high paying jobs.

“Horton Plaza is being converted into a tech hub. Those will be good new jobs coming into downtown. The Pacific Gateway Project, the Old Navy Broadway complex that is being converted largely into what appears to be a Lifesciences cluster,” he said.

Whitburn bested Duran by about 4,000 votes in the primary.

Election 2020 news coverage


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John Carroll
General Assignment Reporter & Anchor

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI'm a general assignment reporter and Saturday morning radio anchor for KPBS. I love coming up with story ideas that aren't being covered elsewhere, but I'm also ready to cover the breaking news of the day. In addition, I bring you the local news headlines on Saturday mornings during NPR's Weekend Edition.

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