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KPBS Midday Edition Segments

Supervisorial Candidates Want To Tackle Pollution, Improve Health Care Access For South Bay

Speaker 1: 00:00 The San Diego County board of supervisors has long been a conservative body with a tight grip on millions of dollars in reserve funds, but at least one of the four red seats is set to turn blue. This election. KPBS reporter Taron Minto says democratic candidates in San Diego's South Bay are raising nearly a million dollars to win the seat in district one and maybe tap into the saved up dollars. Speaker 2: 00:25 The birds and squirrels on San Diego side of the Tijuana river are soaked with Mexico's polluted water. Nearly every time it rains, the flow brings trash closes. Beaches and County supervisor candidate Rafael Casta Yanos says, residents Speaker 3: 00:40 are sick of it. We're getting dumped on literally in South San Diego County. Speaker 2: 00:46 [inaudible] is campaigning to change that. He's one of the three leading democratic candidates, jostling to replace the current Republican supervisor who was terming out after more than 20 years. Casta yanno says a top priority will be curbing the cross border sewage that has made federal employees sick. Speaker 3: 01:03 It's the biggest ongoing, uh, water quality and environmental justice issue in the entire country. And it's happening right here in South San Diego. Speaker 2: 01:11 The real estate attorney wants to spend County reserve funds to begin development on sewage control projects. That officials have already identified. Speaker 3: 01:19 The County can just move forward with those projects and can seek reimbursement from the federal government, including in court if necessary. He wants the County to Sue the federal government by joining lawsuits that have been filed by local cities, the state and the San Diego unified port district where he's a commissioner Speaker 2: 01:37 opponent. Nora Vargas says, diplomacy is better for that problem and resources should be focused elsewhere. Speaker 4: 01:44 What we need are the basic resources that our communities need to be able to provide healthcare. Speaker 2: 01:49 South Bay communities have some of the worst healthcare access in the state. Vargas says she has personal experience with this problem. She says her mom was denied Medicaid while battling cancer before the affordable care act was approved. Speaker 4: 02:02 That feeling of hopelessness, I never want anybody else to feel Speaker 2: 02:05 the former planned Parenthood executive and president of Southwestern community colleges. Governing board says she's looking at using reserve funds to better support community health groups and expand outreach efforts to enroll more people in public programs. Speaker 4: 02:19 I've done this work and I know that when people from our communities are out there sharing what resources are available, people will make sure that they have access to them. Speaker 2: 02:28 Costa Yano says he too wants to boost enrollment in public programs that bring reimbursements and he also plans to tap reserves to add more staff. To do that work, Speaker 3: 02:36 we need to prioritize this in the budget and that really comes down to making sure that we have the right number of people, that they're not burnt out, that they're properly staffed Speaker 2: 02:45 and while Casta Yanos is focused on water pollution, Vargas says she's looking at air quality, Speaker 4: 02:51 try to get more people out of their cars, but we can't do that unless we have better transportation, right? We have to make sure that we create initiatives like I really do believe everybody should be able to ride a bus for free. Speaker 2: 03:02 Both concerned about the housing problem that exists County wide. Gus pianos put forth a four point plan that calls for cutting regulatory hurdles and includes a $1 billion bond to offset infrastructure costs that he says developers pass on to buyers and renters. Speaker 1: 03:16 Based on my experience as a land use and real estate and finance attorney Speaker 2: 03:21 Fargus hasn't proposed a formal plan, but says she supports building more homes and wants to help keep people in the ones they already have. Speaker 4: 03:28 And I think the County can create a tenant rights, a part of their housing authority, creating a tenant rights, uh, advocacy piece. Speaker 2: 03:35 The other leading candidate is state Senator Ben waySo. He canceled an interview with KPBS and did not respond to follow what messages, but he told the San Diego union Tribune editorial board that quality of life was San Diego's biggest issue. Speaker 5: 03:48 We need good leadership, good government to represent the interests of the people locally. What do they want? They want to have clean beaches. They want to have jobs. Speaker 2: 03:56 Wait, so is second in the money race. He raised just over 200,000 while Casta Yanos raised 450,000 Vargas his third with around 150,000 but she still has a few more days to file details of additional contributions. The three were invited to a forum next week, but waySo declined gusta Yanos and Vargas will be joined at the forum by a fourth Democrat, Sophia Rodriguez, who has received about $7,000 in contributions. Taryn mento, KPBS news, Speaker 1: 04:26 and one Republican who received nearly $2,000 from the County party was unable to provide an interview by deadline for more election coverage, go to kpbs.org backslash election. Speaker 6: 04:45 [inaudible].

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The race to represent San Diego’s District 1 on the Board of Supervisors has candidates touting plans to tackle major environmental and equity issues.
KPBS Midday Edition Segments