District 4 Candidate Nathan Fletcher Wants To Drive Board Of Supervisors In New Direction
Most of the members of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors have been in office for more than 20 years. That will change after this year’s election.
New supervisors will be elected in Districts 4 and 5 because of the addition of term limits for the board positions.
District 4 covers most of the central city of San Diego from La Jolla to downtown, from Ocean Beach to Encanto. It is currently represented by termed-out Supervisor Ron Roberts.
Former California Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher is one of five candidates in the District 4 race. He’s a Marine combat veteran and teaches political science courses at UC San Diego. He is a Democrat. The supervisors positions are officially non-partisan, but right now all five supervisors on the board are Republican.
Fletcher spoke with KPBS Midday Edition host Maureen Cavanaugh about his positions on some of the top issues in the race and why he is running for the seat.
Fletcher's candidate interview airs on Tuesday on Midday Edition.
>>> Over the last 20 years, most of the five members of the San Diego Board of Supervisors have one -- have won reelection over and over. This year because of term limits, new supervisors will be elected in districts four and five. Restrict four covers most of the central city of San Diego from La Jolla to downtown from Ocean Beach's to cancer. They are currently represented by turned out Rob Roberts. >>> Nathan Fletcher is one of five candidates in the district for race. He is a Marine combat veteran and teaches political science courses at UC San Diego. He is a Democrat, the supervisors positions are officially nonpartisan, right now all five are Republicans. Nathan Fletcher welcome to the program. >> One big criticism is over the counties large reserve fund. Getting into the $2 million could make a dent into the county's various health, housing and human services needs, the arguments against as that the reserve keeps the county on solid financial ground. What is your position on the use of reserves? >> I think the five Republican supervisors mindset is just wrong. You do not have to have a false choice of fiscal responsibility. You can do both. I was in the state legislature at the time when we had massive budget deficits and we are to make horrible choices and difficulties and so no one will ensure the fiscal County in the long run more than I. The reality is that there are significant resources that have to be deployed from the county. This is not an argument of fiscal responsibility, there are more funds available that they need to hold in reserve. It is a question of drive and priorities. I believe the county motto when they said that the motive is the public good. I'm back in this line of work because I'm committed to see a county government that leans forward and provides healthcare. They want to take care of the homeless and make sure that our seniors and health -- homeless and children are getting a better path. >> As you mentioned, a housing shortage, the supervisors vote on whether or not to allow the developments on undeveloped land. I'm wondering what your position would be on the ranch proposal in an undeveloped area of the county? >> They offer the charge of the hundred and $50 million for stadium. Whether you think this is a good or bad idea, the reality is you're not building that stadium. When we put out a housing program, we said we would start by using the hundred and 59 for the football stadium and put it towards housing. We have to increase the supply of stock of housing. I believe this should happen by increase -- increasing transit. I believe we can address the housing crisis by getting there. I'm not a fan of the notion that says we will go into backcountry areas that are needed for restoration areas and that if we build there we will significantly increase greenhouse gas emissions. I'm not a fan of that, but I am in agreement that we need more housing. >> Does this mean you would vote no on the ranch proposal? >> That is correct. >> Report released shows that disability rights in California investigated the high number of suicides and suicide attempts in San Diego County jails. One of the report findings is that the county needs to step up to provide resources and accountability necessary to solve the long-standing problems. >> What you think the role should be in addressing suicide, death and mental illness in county jails? >> This is an issue we worked on for years. We have talked about the challenges and we drove a lot of significant solutions. I feel like we made progress to help our veterans. The issue of mental health is one that I care deeply about. A few years ago grand jury reported that the jury was sitting on hundred and $60 million of unspent reserves for mental health. They need to deploy the across our foster care system, homeless system and when it comes to the county jails, I've been very critical of county because there were 19 deaths that were never investigated. When you take custody of someone you have the obligation to ensure their well-being. Maybe in some of them, there was no wrongdoing, but some of them there was lessons that could be learned and policies that can be changed. When you have a board where no one is pushing a contrary point of view no one is speaking up, this is not the right thing to do, you tend to get these types of things from the status quo unchecked. This is why we need a new generation and fresh voice. I believe as a Democrat we need someone who brings a different perspective to get in there and drive to address these things to deliver real solutions and see progress. >> Currently in the county, there is a moratorium on all marijuana dispensaries and farms and existing marijuana essences are expected to close by 2022, is a something you would work to change? >> Yes, I think the county policy is pointed 180 degrees in the wrong direction. I think we need to have a cannabis policy that is safe, regulated and legal. I have seen with so many veterans, who have dealt with their posttraumatic stress with cannabis was exponentially better than opioids. Beyond that, voters have spoken and I support them in this. We need to have safe, regulated and not only met -- medicinal, but recreational use. If you are black market economy, not only is Dante's, what you have some unsavory folks who are profiting. I want to have a safe regulated environment and I want the county to get the tax dollars. >> The current county of supervisors supported in the President Trump lawsuit against state laws. Those in support claim laws and public safety. What is your position on the county sanctuary state will. >> I will stand up to the President Trump agenda. I will push back and I believe it was one of the most outrageous things we have seen with the Board of Supervisors voting to not only side with President Trump against California, but they voted to take our tax dollars and attack our own values and state. I think that is wrong. The simple reality is immigrants are some of our greatest people. They work hard, they are committed to their family and they commit crimes at a lower level. They deserve a public safety system that ensures public safety. >> Nathan Fletcher, those who have been following your political career know that you serve as a Republican state official and then became an independent. Your voting record as a Republican in the assembly is now being made a campaign issue, including a 93 percent rating from the NRA. Let me ask you, what is your opinion on gun regulation? >> There my life I have always stood for an assault weapons ban. I was supported universal background checks, I have been a fierce proponent of this. I've never solicited or accepted endorsement from any gun rights groups. Over the last decade, have I got better on more of the intricate issues? Yes, but I consistently set up for ending gun violence and gun control measures. This is why have the support of some the leading gun control proponents in California. >> Why are you running for County supervisor? >> Is an opportunity before set the county where we can have a tremendous impact than we can get a county that is embracing the President Trump agenda and drive them in a fundamentally new direction. We are talking about millions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of lives that have been touched. >> Thank you. >> Thank you, good to see you.