South County Voters Face Interesting Choice
Speaker 1: 00:00 We turned out a political battles being fought in the South Bay area, home to the second largest city in San Diego County Chula Vista. Joining me to shine a spotlight on the biggest races is Gustavo Salise reporter with the San Diego union Tribune. Gustavo, welcome back to midday edition. Speaker 2: 00:16 Thanks Mark. Hello. So Speaker 1: 00:18 Arguably the biggest political race in the South Bay is the race for County board of supervisors. District one. That's the seat being vacated by Greg Cox. Remind us why this seat is such a big deal for County government. Speaker 2: 00:30 Well, just for County government, this election is a pretty big deal overall because the Democrats have a chance for the first time in a long time to have a majority of the seats in the board of supervisors in district one, two Democrats made it past the primary. So this seat for sure will be filled by a Democrat and that itself is historic. Speaker 1: 00:52 And, uh, give us the rundown on that race. Uh, both, uh, candidates are well-known and start with Ben way. So he's been in government for many years. Tell us who he is and what his pitch to voters is. Speaker 2: 01:03 Yeah, well, like you've said, he's been in government for many years and that's kind of his pitch to voters, right? Is he's the guy with experience. Uh, he's been, uh, in elected office since 2005. When he joined the San Diego city council, then he left in 2010 to join the state assembly. And in 2013 he became a state Senator and he's been a state Senator ever since. Speaker 1: 01:25 And you wrote last week that his campaign website has come under scrutiny. Tell us about that. Speaker 2: 01:30 So it's not just his website. It says mailers to you in a way. So is, uh, has this strategy too, to present himself as the anti-Trump guy, right? The guy who will stand up against Trump specifically, he claimed that he sued the Trump administration 100 times. The problem with that claim is that state senators don't Sue the Trump administration, the attorney general does. And when he was asked about this, his campaign said that, you know, as state Senator Ben waySo signs off on the budget, which funds the attorney General's office. Uh, however, uh, some of my readers pointed out, uh, when I wrote that story with that logic, anyone who pays taxes in California can claim responsibility for having sued the Trump administration a hundred times, Speaker 1: 02:13 Waistline was also find in 2010 for campaign violations. Right? Speaker 2: 02:17 Right. Yeah. He, he funneled a $25,000 to his brother's campaign, uh, Ben way. So was in state assembly at the time. And his brother Philippe was trying to replace him in the city council. And he was fine about $2,000 for that one. Uh, he also has other sort of political baggage I'll call it right. He, he had a drunk driving violation on his record and more recently he, he flipped on prop 15. You know, he told K USI one week that people who have post-product 15 are disconnected from reality. But then a week later he issued a statement saying he actually supports it after reviewing the ballot measure. And briefly Speaker 1: 02:54 Remind us where prop 15 is. Speaker 2: 02:56 Prop 15 is, uh, is going to change how taxes are calculated on retail, uh, commercial and industrial property. Uh, opponents of it caught the biggest task tax hike in, uh, California history and people who supported say the taxes are necessary, uh, to fund school districts and cities. Speaker 1: 03:16 Now, Nora Vargas is not quite as well known, has been waste. So are of course his opponent what's her history. Speaker 2: 03:22 She was, um, uh, an executive for planned Parenthood for many years. And she is a current, um, trustee of Southwestern community college. Speaker 1: 03:32 And are there a big policy differences between the two Speaker 2: 03:36 It's tough to differentiate? The two of them, right? Both are Democrats both acknowledge the same problems in the district, right? They want to do something about cross border sewage flows. Uh, uh, they want to add more jobs in the South Bay. They want the County to, to provide, uh, be more active when it comes to COVID responses. Speaker 1: 03:54 And let's turn to the San Diego city council contest for district nine. There've been some interesting developments in that one to the point. There's not only one candidate, but two names on the ballot, explain what's going on. Speaker 2: 04:06 Right. Well, one of the candidates, uh, Kevin Barrios, uh, suspended his campaign after a series of, uh, critical stories, uh, about him in the press and, uh, this ongoing investigation into questionable, uh, ethical practices and finances. I think we should note that Barrio suspended his campaign. He didn't technically about. And he had, he suggested in interview that he would accept the results of the election if he wins. Uh, his challenger is Shani lo who should win now, I suppose, just because his opponent is suspended his campaign, but you know, it's 2020. So I guess we'll never really know what happens. Speaker 1: 04:47 And Kelvin Barrios is an employee of a labor union, uh, loan international. Um, two other employees of that union are also running for office. Why is this an issue for some in the South Bay? Speaker 2: 04:59 The issue is it's mostly money, right? The two other Laguna employees are, uh, mr. Alvarado, who's running for city clerk in national city and mr. Leyva Gonzales who was running for city council in Imperial beach, and both are financially backed by labor unions and have raised significantly more than their opponents. Now it's worth noting that in Imperial beach and national city, they don't have campaign contribution limits. So these unions are legally allowed to give $10,000 donations, $20,000 donations. Uh, and it's not a violation. And to their credit, that candidates have been transparent about where they're receiving money. Speaker 1: 05:35 Finally, let's talk for a minute about an obscure political contest for seats on the OTI water district board. Actually one seat that in district four held by Hector guest. Allume a very interesting character and he's run for office before. Yeah, Speaker 2: 05:49 Yeah, yeah. And this might, is this a first for mid day report talking about the old Tidewater district? Yeah. Well, the Hector gas dilute, uh, for somebody who says he, he's not a politician and doesn't like politics, he's run a lot for office. He's ran for state assembly and in Chula Vista for city council, mayor and school board. And, uh, he he's lost those races, but he was elected to the old Tidewater district board, uh, four years ago and is currently running for reelection. Speaker 1: 06:19 He got elected to the OTI water district board. He got mired in a few controversies. Tell us about those. Speaker 2: 06:25 Yeah, it, it, it's mostly the same controversy that keeps on playing out over and over again. And it has to do with, uh, social media posts. The posts have been called sexist, racist. They, uh, go after, uh, Muslims, women. And, uh, African-Americans um, at first the fellow board members, like, you know, during the first century, they kind of gave him the benefit of the doubt and, and, uh, chalked it up to a lapse of judgment on gasta loom fast-forward to the latest center. And the board had a completely different tone. They just said, Hector, please stop it. You're embarrassing. The entire board, you're distracting us from the business of the water board. Just stop please. And there was no, there was no attempt to kind of reconcile that it was more of the mood of wait we're fed up because gas doom has polarized so many members of the community. Three people have decided to run against him for reelection. Speaker 1: 07:18 Well, we'll see how that all plays out next week. It should be very interesting. I've been speaking with reporter Gustavo Salise of the San Diego union Tribune. Thanks a lot. Thank you, Mark. Speaker 3: 07:32 [inaudible].