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San Diego County Voter Turnout Meets Low Expectations

San Diego County Voter Turnout Meets Low Expectations
San Diego County Voter Turnout Meets Low Expectations
San Diego County Voter Turnout Meets Low Expectations GUESTSMichael Vu, San Diego County registrar of voters Carl Luna, political scientist Chris Cate, incoming San Diego city councilman, District 6 William Lansdowne, former San Diego police chief, Prop. 47 proponent Sam Abed, Escondido mayor Jason Roe, Measure H proponent

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: This is special election coverage on KPBS. We have just been listening to President Obama wrapping up remarks on the midterm elections. Right now, we put the spotlight on local elections. Ballots still need to be counted in the 52nd Congressional District. Carl DeMaio is ahead by only about 700 votes. We will be talking about that race and more. Joining me for this special election coverage, we welcome back Carl Luna. What did you think about last night? CARL LUNA: It ended, I was happy. I did not have to see commercials, except for those walked into my TiVo for a while. No huge surprises. The race is just what you thought, down to the wire. Mary Salas is a Democrat, she onewon in Chula Vista. Statewide, Jerry Brown did not really campaign and won, and got his ballot propositions through. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: The California Secretary of State says voter turnout in California was around 33%. President Obama said two thirds of the country, of eligible voters, did not bother to vote in this midterm election. What do you think the reasons were for that? CARL LUNA: I heard that this election is a great mediocrity. People have been taught ask not what your country can do for you. They do not see either party working for them. The great mistake is, if the system is not working I will not participate, that will not make it better. We are on a vicious treadmill here, where artists have a say than the people in the middle. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Do you think the huge amount of campaigning we saw in the 52nd district and other races actually turned voters off? CARL LUNA: Absolutely. And that is what the massive onslaught of negative ads is designed to do. Take independent voters you are not certain about and drive them out of the race. Whoever demonizes the most wins. The President and the majority leader are talking about working toward the middle. For the life me, I do not know how they will, in the poisoned partisan environment. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Bringing it back to the 52nd congressional district election, it is still too close to call the race between Scott Peters and Carl DeMaio. Earlier today I talked to Michael Vu. [ AUDIO PLAYING ] MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Michael, thank you for speaking with us. I know it was a very long night for you last night. Thank you a lot. MICHAEL VU: Thank you for having me. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: There are still votes to be counted. Can you tell us where the vote count stands now? MICHAEL VU: At this point we know that there is a number of mail ballots and provisional ballots that were dropped off of the polls. We had 1432 polling places yesterday. In total, we had 180,000 mail ballots that still needed to be accounted for, addressed and verified. We will be doing so throughout the 28 day period in which we need to take into account ballots that were timely received, count those, before December 2, which is our deadline. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Where does the race stand right now in terms of vote count? MICHAEL VU: The day after the election is really organizing all of the ballots cast. We will scan in the ballots. We are looking at segregating the 52nd congressional district. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: How tight is it? MICHAEL VU: At this point in time, it is 50% to 49%. If we dive into the actual decimal points, it is 50.6% for DeMaio, and 49.74% for Scott peters. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And that is a difference of about 700 votes. Is that right? MICHAEL VU: That is correct. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: You were talking about segregating provisional and mail-in ballots that need to be counted from the entire county to the 52nd Congressional District. How difficult a task is that? MICHAEL VU: We know that mail ballots will be dropped off throughout the county. And so, we have done, we will isolate voting within the 52nd congressional district. But since a male in voter has a chance to drop off ballots anywhere in the county, that makes it more difficult. On the provisional side, a voter that goes into the 52nd congressional district may not belong in the district, but they have a right to cast a ballot. They are able to cast that. If they identify that voter does not live within the 52nd congressional district, they are ineligible and we have to redact that vote. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: I see. Any idea how many ballots need to be counted within that district? MICHAEL VU: Not at this point. We are still segregating that information. Hopefully we will have preliminary numbers. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Everybody is wondering, when will we start to learn those results from the count of mail in and provisional votes, when we get the next results? MICHAEL VU: That will occur on Thursday. We plan on doing Friday also. We have 180,000 ballots throughout the county. We know in some states, those that were dropped off at the polls, there are approximately 150,000. We have received ballots earlier on Tuesday morning and late Monday, a proximally 30,000 ballots. Those ballots will be in the count by Thursday. By Monday, all of the 52nd congressional district will be into the count. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: How will it be counted once you have come to those ballots? Will representatives be present for that? MICHAEL VU: Yes, they will be present for both campaigns and we have talked with them through that process and will certainly talk with them as the days progress. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: When the final ballots are counted, how tight will the race have to be for a recount? MICHAEL VU: That is up to each campaign, there are no automatic recounts in state law that allows for automatic recount. Depending on what we certify, an individual voter or campaign has the ability to request a recount. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And the certification is early September? MICHAEL VU: That date is September 2, a person, voter, or campaign has a chance to request a recount at that point within five days. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: So this could conceivably go on for quite some time. If I am hearing you correctly, the next day we look for is Thursday? MICHAEL VU: Thursday is the posting of mail ballots received from Tuesday morning and late evening Monday. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Thank you so much for explaining this to us. [ END AUDIO FILE ] MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And back to the studio now. Congressman Scott Peters often talks about winning close elections. He talks about last time he was up against Brian Bilbray. Give us a history of that election and how close it was. CARL LUNA: That election was initially decided in the hundreds of votes. It took many days before you actually got the absentee ballots in. In the end, Scott Peters won by a squeaker of the vote. The problem is, in statistics, you are taught every flip of a coin is an independent event. Just because you are on a winning streak, it does not mean it will continue. A winner is a winner until they are not. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Is there any wisdom as far as those ballots go, do they tend to break conservative or not? CARL LUNA: They tend to break more liberal or Democrat. Democrats wait to vote and Republicans vote early. You saw across the county with mail-in ballots, there was a growing parity between the two. It may suggest that fewer voters are going out to vote. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: No matter who wins, half of the people will be disappointed. It is that tight. What does a candidate need to do to win the votes? CARL LUNA: It is even worse than that. If you have a 33% voter turnout in a squeaky election, someone will be elected with 16% of the registered voters. How do you lead and say you represent the district when 84% or more voted against you, or didn't bother to vote? That becomes the basic problem in modern American politics. You don't reach out to the people who didn't vote for you, you reach out to those who do vote. And that destroys compromise. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: I want to introduce another guest. There was another hotly contested race in the city of San Diego, the district 6 race. Joining us is the winner of that race, Chris Cate. Your opponent Carol Kim says one of the deciding factors in the race was that your campaign outspent hers by about 4 to 1 on commercials and flyers. What do you think was the deciding factor in the race? CHRIS CATE: I think it was the message that we carry experience, our priorities in walking the district, and talking to voters personally for the last 18 months and reaching out to them and hearing from them. Our ideas for plans being laid out in detail, making sure that each neighborhood has a voice, and developing the neighborhoods first coalition. And hearing directly from them and folks who did not support me in June, getting input and feedback, and being a parent about our plan. I am held accountable to preventing those and taking action on them. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: In all of those personal contacts made on the course of this campaign, a lot has been made about the fact of your being the first Asian-American on the San Diego City Council. I believe it is something like 50 years. What did you hear from people that you spoke with about the importance of that? CHRIS CATE: For the API community, they worked extremely hard to develop an Asian Pacific Islander influenced District. We want a representative that is responsive to the ideas, concerns, issues, and for my standpoint, one thing that I took to heart was making sure that the individual who won this race was be a leader for the next generation, and a younger generation in general to become active, engaged, serve on commissions, run for votes, and the younger generation need someone who looks like them and understands their issues. A leader to engage and get those folks motivated and involved. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Much has also been made with the fact that your election removes the super majority of Democrats on the Council, the Council is no longer vetoproof. Do you think that is good for the city? CHRIS CATE: It's always good to have a balance of power. We heard that from the folks I talked to. They want a good debate and dialogue on important issues. I think Council President Gloria said it best. 90% of the issues are unanimous votes, they are mundane issues, but they want to bait and dialogue. By having a balance of power on the Council it allows for that. I come into this having worked with most members of the city council and know them well. I hope they will take the personal relationships that I have developed and I will be able to do good things. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: What will be your authorities when you take office? CHRIS CATE: Police, potholes, and jobs. Those are the priorities. I hear that constantly in neighborhoods. We are going to be working on those. Recruiting and training officers. We will be working on construction in Mira Mesa, Claremont, and other areas. And Leslie, he sure that we have small businesses are able to work closely with the city and navigate through processes to create jobs. We are very job centric. Being a former small business owner, I think it is imperative for the city to allow those folks to set up shop and create additional jobs. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Finally, Chris, Mayor Faulconer campaigned enthusiastically for you. Will we see you take any positions opposing Mayor Faulconer or other Republicans on the Council? Or are you going to be that solid Republican vote that they are looking for? CHRIS CATE: I'm sure there are going to be issues in which we disagree. And even though Mayor Faulconer and myself may have general agreements on principles and philosophies, on specific issues ? MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Anything specific? CHRIS CATE: One of the big things that I disagreed with him on the past was whether or not we needed a new downtown library. I did not see eye to eye with him on that. It is people and great, but at the time I thought it should have been in the neighborhoods. There are issues we will disagree on. I hope to take my ideas and my policy background and take initiative on a lot of ideas. We will see where we stand on some of these things. There may be disagreements. That's okay. You can go about being a Council official and disagree without being disagreeable. That is the mantra have to take, I hope to work with everyone. On the one issue that you disagree on today, you can move together and work forward the next item. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Thanks again, and congratulations. CHRIS CATE: Thank you very much. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And Carl, the same question. Is that a good thing for the city to no longer have a super majority on the Council? CARL LUNA: The city majority was a fluke brought courtesy of Bob Filner's meltdown. Kevin Faulconer won the mentorship, and left an empty seat. The Democratic majority was able to put a Democrat up to give you that 6-3. It did not represent the will of the voters. The current makeup is more like what the electorate represents. If you want good democracy, you want people in the office making good decisions for everybody. The super majority was problematic. If Democrats in 2016, and win those seats, or the Republicans, it is a good thing because the voters voted for it. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: I want to let you know that if you have a question for one of our guests, feel free to ask. CARL LUNA: I will do that. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Our guest now is William Lansdowne. He was a proponent of Proposition 47, which voters approved yesterday. Congratulations to you. WILLIAM LANSDOWNE: Thank you very much, it is nice to be here today. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: The California Police Chief's Association, including San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman, were strongly opposed to Proposition 47. Proposition 47 reduces drug and property offenses from felonies to misdemeanors. Why do you think voters approved it, despite strong opposition? WILLIAM LANSDOWNE: It's clear that the voters are very ill-informed. They had about four months to look at the issues, and with the Internet, the get all of the information that they need. I think they agree that the system is broken. We need to save prison space for violent felons, not for nonserious, nonviolent crimes. They agree with us. They want treatment, and they understand the tragedy in the system we have now is that jails and prisons across the country are one of the largest provided with mental health services in the country today. Here in California that is very true. They want to see treatment, and they want to see the money saved to go to schools, prevention programs to keep kids in schools, and to victims. I am absolutely convinced that this is the voice of the community and the state of California that want change. That is what this is all about. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: During the advertising for this, a lot was made about the idea of people in prison now on felonies, charges being resentenced, and being out on the streets. How is that going to manifest itself? Obviously some people will petition for shorter sentences and some will get them. WILLIAM LANSDOWNE: Very much so. They have the right to petition, and each one is reviewed individually by a judge who can access all of the information. How they are responding in prison, whether or not they are a danger and risk to the communities, and make independent decisions on what they're going to do. It is very clear that if we do not do something, the federal government is going to continue to reduce the number of people in prison systems. This is a fair and equitable way to take the money saved and put it into treatment and prevention across the board. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: How confident are you that San Diego will actually see those state funds for more drug rehabilitation and education counseling? WILLIAM LANSDOWNE: They have to apply. San Diego is the second-largest city in California. It will certainly be at the front of the list. One of the things that they have said is that drug coaching is important, but in San Diego County they have graduated about 3000 people. There are far more people in desperate need of the services itself, and is something that they can afford to expand, to prevent people from getting involved in crime. CARL LUNA: That is probably the only Achilles' heel in Proposition 47. We went Draconian in the 70s and 80s. We used to have 200,000 prisoners nationwide, now it is over 2 million. The idea is to move people out. The only question is, will Sacramento put the money where it is supposed to be? Or will it get siphoned off, pushing people back into society? Reintegrating is good, but we have an obligation to provide resources. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Is that a concern of yours as well? WILLIAM LANSDOWNE: I believe it is written well, and that the government will respond in California. If they don't, the community will demand that they do. The community made this decision, not law enforcement. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Thank you for coming in and speaking with us today. WILLIAM LANSDOWNE: Thank you, it was nice to be here. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: I would like to go now to Cal State University San Marcos reelected mayor Sam Abed. Welcome, thank you for joining us. SAM ABED: Good morning, thank you. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Why do you think Escondido is to reelect you? SAM ABED: Because of our track record of turning the city around economically and financially, because of inclusive policies and because of the progress that we have made. We have a historic turnaround of the city, when the crime has been down 17%. We attracted $500 million of capital to Escondido over the last four years when the budget went from a $16 million deficit to $8 million surplus when I was in office. That has earned San Diego an AA- bond rating, where most cities are not improving bond rating. We have outperformed the economy in San Diego. We have also attracted 500 businesses. That has created 1000 new jobs in Escondido. This is a great track record. Voters overwhelmingly supported the direction of the city and rejected the union backed candidates. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: There has been a lot of criticism of you and the leadership in Escondido in terms of policies toward Latinos in the city, and there was a big push for Olga Diaz, your contender to get the vote and move in for a new image of Escondido. Did you do any outreach to the tenets in Escondido? Did you see anything about your policies changing now? SAM ABED: The voters disagree with your statement. We have been a city of inclusiveness. I have been endorsed by the Latino American Political Association over my opponent, a Latina, by an overwhelming 18 votes to five. The Latino American Political Association is a non-partisan group that believes I bring the Latinos to mainstream economy and government. We need to stop talking about ethnicity Latinos we need to be more inclusive and create opportunities. The Latino community in Escondido is smart and hard working. They need an opportunity to succeed and make a better life for their families. My policies have been endorsed by Latino residents and the Hispanic community. We have received 30% of the Hispanic and the Democratic votes. Mrs. Diaz' policies have not been inclusive, they have been very divisive. She is union backed, and has been polarizing voters, and they reject that overwhelmingly. But that is a huge mandate when you get 60% of the voters over 31%, and that endorses and validates our policies in Escondido. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: A last question to you, noticeably during the campaign, you did not take a position on measure H. That would have allowed a developer to put hundreds of homes on an old golf course that the developer owns. The city is now in a lawsuit from the developer. What is next for the city on this matter? Will you be working with the developer to come to compromise? SAM ABED: We have been working with him for about a year now, and I did not support proposition H, as proposed at the same time, we agreed we need to find a solution. We still have the lawsuit which would be decided in the next few days. It is not a legal issue, it will come down to a compromise and a balanced approach and balanced project. We need less homes, more amenities and open space to make sure that we provide a balanced project. I think the community on compromise. I believe compromise can be the solution for the community, and a win for everyone. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Congratulations, thank you for joining us. SAM ABED: Thank you. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: As I said, voters rejected her age yesterday, which would the developer to create a 430 home development on the golf course. CARL LUNA: The Escondido vote was interesting to me. It reflected a basic trend. We say people do not like government, they don't like other people's government. In Escondido you elected a conservative mayor by a huge margin. The conservative electorate said yes, but we want to use the heavy hand of government to keep someone who owns a property from doing what what they want with the property. I see an interesting contradiction there that does not occur to the average voter. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Let me go to the spokesman for the Yes on H campaign, Jason Roe. Thank you for joining us. JASON ROE: Thank you for having me. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And of course, your side lost yesterday in the vote. Escondido voters did not want big develop on that property. Where does this go from now? What is the next step? JASON ROE: I would start by saying those who think that they won last night, look at that property and realize no one has one. It is fenced in, dead and blighted, devaluing homes in the community, and it is an eyesore for that community. Unfortunately, the next step is pursuing legal cases on the takings. From our perspective, and from legal and property rights entities we have consulted, it is a clear-cut taking. Michael purchased the property out of its third bankruptcy. It was owned for 600 homes, it has been zoned and reaffirmed in three general plan updates as residential with a conditional use permit for the golf course. We are confident that the court will side with Michael on his property rights in restoring those rights. The risk that the mayor and the council took by doing this is that the takings claim could be tens of millions of dollars in judgment against the city. It could bankrupt the city. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Let me go back and let listeners know that the city council in Escondido basically rezoned the property in the middle of all of this, saying it is no longer zoned for the development that Michael Schlesinger is proposing. How much is Schlesinger suing the city for? JASON ROE: In his suit, there is not a price tag. The court will determine if it was a taking of his property. By the way, they took it from an urban residential zoning to a permanent open space that does not exist in the city charter. They have not defined in the charter language. It will be up to the court to award the value. Typically in takings, the value is determined by the highest and best use of the property. That would be, what would 600 homes that are fully built be worth? That is what he would be compensated for. It is not the value of the property assets as it is today or the value when purchased. We think that is anywhere between $75 million and $100 million fully built out. Carl is putting his thumbs up, it could be higher. The city general fund is $75 million. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Those claims of how much the lawsuit may cost the city, that it would bankrupt Escondido, that was heard during this campaign and I am wondering if that rhetoric might have been perceived as threats by the developer to the citizens of Escondido, and perhaps that did not go down very well. JASON ROE: In the course of our campaign we did not talk about that a lot, we brought it up as the discussion points, but in the ads we did not talk about that very much. When we did our polling, voters did not respond to it. They were not concerned about the risk to taxpayers, or the city purse. In our polling, 46% of the voters were never going to vote for one house being built in the entire city. There is a very locked in, anti-growth culture. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: The Mayor wants to talk to Mister Schlesinger, and come to a compromise. Mister Schlesinger during this campaign said that this was his compromise. Is there any room? JASON ROE: The problem is, everyone's hands are tied at this point. This was a citizen led initiative. The only way to reverse the zoning is through the courts, or from a citizen led initiative. We would have to run another ballot initiative. As much as Michael has spent to educate voters, I don't think he will have the appetite to do it again. Even if the city council supported and there was agreement, it does not mean that the majority of voters will support that. 46% will not vote for any development of any kind there. We will have to wrestle with that. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Do we know when the lawsuit would be decided? JASON ROE: Probably within the year. I do not know where the mayor came up with the next few days, but proceedings were going to begin and we wanted to push them off to postelection so that did not become part of the discussion. We wanted to sell proposition H on merit, not on threats. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Thank you very much for speaking with us. Carl Luna, any other thoughts on measure H? CARL LUNA: Once again, the exception to the rule, the developing side of proposition H spent a lot of money on that campaign, but he could not overcome grassroots nimbyism. I don't like big government, up until the point it comes to protect me. You saw that contradiction in Escondido and around the city and the county. Some conservative areas are ready to embrace restrictive laws, to protect what a majority sees as their rights. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: I want to move now to statewide propositions, which involve the medical profession, propositions 46 and 45. 45 is regulating health insurance rates and 46 is raising the cap on medical malpractice awards. They both went down to defeat. A lot of money was spent on those campaigns. A lot of money went into those campaigns, Carl. CARL LUNA: Isn't it nice to know it that $100 million can still buy you something in the United States? MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: I hadn't thought about it that way at, Carl. CARL LUNA: The dollar still has value, take hope Americans. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Both measures were adamantly opposed by the medical profession. We saw advertisement after advertisement. Are you saying that is what defeated these propositions? CARL LUNA: On proposition 45, the spending was a 20 to 1 advantage to the medical community on the no side, and proposition 46 was 8 to 1, because trial lawyers found the advantage in increasing the malpractice cap. If you have a choice between trial lawyers and doctors, you always pick doctors. The medical community knows that. It would have affected costs and it will affect insurance rates across the state. There will be publications with ObamaCare and state policies, bottom line, I have not seen money like this going into a campaign since the tobacco industry was fighting issues back in the 90s. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Both measures were the brainchild of an organization called Consumer Watchdog. What does it do to an organization like that to lose big on two major statewide propositions? CARL LUNA: The advantage that organizations like that have is low overhead. They can keep an office open and keep people going and keep hammering at this. But it becomes more difficult. You can set this back if you election cycles, before people are open to changing their minds. You have to get by the medical community, what do they get in exchange for testing doctors? Maybe you should have traded the malpractice cap for that. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: The water propositions won big last night. Governor Brown actually spent his election campaign funds on the yes on proposition one and two campaigns. What is your take on that? Is it the fact that we are in a drought? Anything to save water for the state of California is going to win? CARL LUNA: The president's former Chief of Staff always said never let a good crisis go to waste. If ever you're going to do a water bond, during a drought when people's lawns are going Brown is the time to do it. Plus, there is a real need. You saw farmers and environmentalists not thrilled by it, it was interesting opposition right and left. But they want to be sure when they turn on the tap, something comes out and their begonias do not dry up and go Brown. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: We have had a checkered past in the state about water bonds, whether we want to approve them, and whether or not there is enough support to get them on the ballot. What do these victories say about potentially seeing another push for a big Sacramento San Joaquin reconstruction plan? CARL LUNA: That becomes one of the linchpins, and how you deal with the environmental concerns. I would think that the governor, in his term, now that he has the state above water, he is looking to resolve other issues and working at other big infrastructure and legacy projects. His dad Pat Brown brought you the telephone highway system it would not be bad if he could end up giving us a better highway system and the high-speed rail is automatic. But there are other things he could be working on for info structure that we badly need. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: It's very interesting, for a editorial election, we have not even mentioned the governor race. Jerry Brown won handily. I'm wondering, did Neil Kashkari do anything to revive the Republican Party in California? CARL LUNA: He showed that the Republican Party can avoid being beaten 82-20 at the governor level. He spent a fraction of the money spent in 2010. He was able to be viable. The question for the Republican party statewide is how to deal with an aging voter block that will not be there in the future. How do you reach out more? Neil try to paint that message. But with the choice between moderate Republican and moderate liberal Democrat, the state will go to the moderate liberal Democrat. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And for Jerry Brown, this reelection seals his legacy in California. What do you think his relationship will be now with the state assembly? CARL LUNA: He has two years to act. He can influence the 2016 election for the assembly, the Senate, and he can help get Democrats elected. After that, you think about 2018. In California, governors are usually active into the third year. They get extra time, as compared to a president. I do not think he will have any problems dealing with this legislature.'s answer will be, if you want to mess things up and let a Republican win, what will you do? MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Back to the 33% turnout in San Diego, I want to speak specifically about San Diego. You spoke about the low voter turnout's that we have had, and you spoke about this being a systemic problem. What do you mean by that? CARL LUNA: We have treated a system for elections for the house every two years which are lacking the big ticket. It's like going to Vegas without going to the strip. If that is the case, you will not do the trip until you can do the whole thing. That is the highlight. Every two years, we have an interesting issue, Republicans do well in the off years, Democrats in presidential years, and then up reversing each other, and it fights to a draw. Average voters say I'm not getting much out of this. One of the big problems Democrats got shellacked, is because most households have not recovered to where they were in 2007 and 2008. The dirty secret is, they were not doing much better than they were in 1997 or 1998 at that point. The third secret, they were not doing better than they were in 1987. You have a most gone 25 years or 30 years without seeing the middle class go forward. The solution has been to drop out. But if you drop out, power and extremes will have the dominant voice in the political system. That is negative for this country. I was born into democracy. I would not like to die in oligarchy. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And is it that young people and minorities are not voting and don't feel they have power? CARL LUNA: The young have never voted much. They are always behind, they take a while to learn that the voter system affects you. Minority voting over time, telling Americans did not use to vote and now they are the core of white voting. You get integrated into the system. It is the general expectation that the government does not work. You have been told that for decades, you start to believe it, and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Some sort of civil anger is what we need to write this. Otherwise, with disengagement, those with power will rule. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And a final question, do you want to make a reduction in the 52nd congressional district? CARL LUNA: Given that the incumbent has been dragging behind, I think Carl DeMaio has the advantage. But with last-minute allegations, it is anybody's. What does it gain a man to win by 50 or 60 votes, when it can be reversed in 2016. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: As always, thank you so much. [ END SEGMENT ]

San Diego County voters met expectations of a low turnout for Tuesday’s general election, with just one in three registered voters casting a ballot, according to “semi-official election results” from Secretary of State Debra Bowen’s office. Some mail-in and provisional ballots have not been tallied.


Bowen’s office reported 509,214 ballots in San Diego County were cast out of more than 1.5 million registered voters, or 33 percent.

Before Tuesday’s election, experts had warned a low turnout was likely. A study by the National University System Institute for Policy Research predicted only 34 percent to 38 percent of registered voters would cast a ballot due to a combination of demographic shifts, technological advances and electoral reforms.

While the increased use of mail-in ballots has made voting easier, it hasn't increased participation, according to the report. Also, newly registered voters in California are not used to voting frequently, either because they're young or are from ethnic groups that have been marginalized in the past, the study said.

San Diego County Registrar of Voters Michael Vu had projected 48 percent to 51 percent of registered voters would cast a ballot. He stuck with that prediction on Tuesday, but voters did not turnout anywhere near those numbers.

Corrected: February 6, 2023 at 4:11 AM PST
KPBS' Maureen Cavanaugh, Patty Lane and Peggy Pico contributed to the Midday and Evening Edition Segments. City News Service contributed to this report.