Roundtable: Gaspar, Issa Victorious; SANDAG's Big Loss; SDPD Traffic Stops; Downtown Homelessness
Final answers for Gaspar, Issa
It’s rare to unseat an incumbent San Diego County Supervisor.
In fact, it's been more than two decades since an incumbent supervisor lost their seat.
But Encinitas Mayor Kristin Gaspar was finally declared the winner in District 3 by a half-percent over Dave Roberts, who had served one term as the board’s lone Democrat.
On KPBS, Gaspar reiterated that her priorities are fiscal accountability and public safety, in addition to addressing what she called the county's inadequate mental health programs and the homeless crisis. Gaspar also said she is looking forward to making a difference for taxpayers.
Meanwhile, Encinitas is in the midst of an affordable housing crisis, having voted down a measure to map out a future for such housing, and thus be compliant with federal law.
The San Diego County Board of Supervisors returns to being all-Republican; it also remains all-white.
In another close race, Darrell Issa (R-Vista) emerged as the victor to hang on to his seat in the 49th Congressional District.
This was by far Issa's narrowest victory (by 2,346 votes as of Tuesday) since he first won the seat in 2002 with 77 percent of the vote.
His opponent, retired Marine Col. Douglas Applegate, a Democrat, has already announced he will try again in 2018.
Issa’s campaign says it is not worried.
The 49th District has seen a steady loss of registered Republicans in recent years, along with gains in registered Democrats and independents.
SANDAG leadership taking some heat
The San Diego Association of Governments, the region’s planning agency, put all its muscle into creating and selling Measure A, the half-cent sales-tax increase for transportation.
But voters didn’t approve the measure, which would have provided $18 billion to fund freeway expansion and public transit over the next 40 years. This has now highlighted the differences in how conservatives and progressives approach transportation issues.
Others called for the SANDAG board — made up of representatives of 19 governments in the region — to be more reflective of the county’s demographics. They also called for more progressives on the board. Progressives generally favor more mass transit over more freeways.
But Tony Krvaric, chair of the San Diego County Republican Party, says any new tax measure must focus exclusively on highways.
SDPD's traffic stops analyzed
San Diego State University's long-anticipated analysis of traffic stops initiated by San Diego police reveals race and ethnicity aren’t significant factors in who gets pulled over. But they do play a larger role in who gets searched and questioned.
The survey found that blacks and Hispanics are more likely to be questioned and searched in white neighborhoods than white drivers. But they are less likely to be found with contraband than white drivers stopped in black or Hispanic neighborhoods.
Councilwoman Marti Emerald said the report showed that police training and culture must change. Speaking before the San Diego City Council Public Safety Committee this week, Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman said her officers are well trained and do the right thing. But the minority community doesn’t necessarily believe it.
SDSU researchers made recommendations for change, but some activists say the study does not address the long-standing problem of racial bias in the police force.
Downtown becoming tent city
The number of homeless people living on the streets of downtown San Diego has grown by some 68 percent since January of this year.
The reasons cited for the increase, which spiked in August of this year, include the passage of Proposition 47, which led to the release of thousands of low-level offenders from state prison and hampered crackdowns on repeat drug offenders.
Additionally, the downtown area is a hub for homeless services, and there is a severe shortage of affordable housing. Single room occupancy hotels, or SROs, have been disappearing from the downtown area at a fast pace.
The large numbers of homeless have alarmed humanitarians as well as business owners impacted by tents on sidewalks. Hotel owners are also alarmed as the tourist industry is suffering.