Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
podcast_1400-MiddayEdition.jpg
KPBS Midday Edition Segments

Lawson-Remer Beats Gaspar In District 3 Supervisor Race

Speaker 1: 00:00 The San Diego County board of supervisors is one of the most powerful agencies in the region. The board controls a $6.5 billion budget that funds social services, mental health, and law enforcement among other things. The board also decides on new development in the unincorporated areas, in the county's district, one race, Nora Vargas appears to be leading of a Ben waySo to represent the South County. Both are Democrats in district two, a reliably Republican seat Poway mayor. Steve Voss is marginally ahead. A former state Senator Joe Anderson, but the district three seat on the board is the most significant politically as it's a swing district and will determine the balance of power on the five member County board. That seat stretches from the coast at Del Mar from Salada beach and Encinitas across to Escondido. It's currently held by Republican Christian gas bar KPBS has called the race in favor of gas bars, challenger, Democrat, Terra Lawson Riemer Riemer currently has almost 60% of the vote. Tara. Welcome. Speaker 2: 01:00 Hello. Thank you so much. Speaker 1: 01:02 Now the results aren't finalized yet, but you appear poised to win and yours is a district that has changing politically. How has that played into your winning numbers so far? Speaker 2: 01:11 I honestly think, uh, folks across the district have been ready for some time and increasingly over the last four years, ready for the kind of leadership that fights for working San Diego wins fights to protect our environment, um, really puts our community first. And that's what we're seeing in these results. So far, Speaker 1: 01:28 A few ins confirmed. This would be your first time holding public office that you've been involved in politics for years. Would this be a steep learning curve for you? Speaker 2: 01:36 I, I think it's something I come incredibly well-prepared for. Right. So I've worked in the Obama administration. I've worked with the world bank, I've worked with the United nations. So a lot of the, the nuts and bolts of what it's going to take to get things done are, um, things that I've done and am good at doing and have built a lifetime of, of engaging on policy and policy analysis. Um, and then I also, I think I'm very fortunate to, to be trained as an economist. Um, my PhD is in political economy. You really gives you a, uh, important expertise on fiscal policy, um, as well as being an attorney, uh, which is very helpful in sort of thinking through and understanding the nuts and bolts of how, uh, laws actually operate in action. So I, I think I probably come, um, to the, to the job, um, probably more prepared, more well-prepared than most. Uh, some I'm really looking forward to being able to put those skills to work serving our community. Speaker 1: 02:29 No, the County board is, um, the agency that calls the shots in San Diego, but which businesses can open based on the state's tier system, when we're assessing the, um, reaction to the Corona virus, Kristin Gaspar was calling for more local control and she wanted fewer restrictions on businesses and businesses are suffering. Where do you stand on that? Very difficult. Speaker 2: 02:50 So it's an incredibly, incredibly difficult question. I think we're all really suffering. I mean, this is, this COVID crisis has been going on since March now, we're in November and I think we're going to be in it probably for another year before we can really say we're on the other side. So it's, um, it's a really huge burden on not just our businesses, but also, uh, employees who've lost their jobs, um, parents who are trying to homeschool their children or have their children enrolled in zoom school while they're also working. And, uh, people who can't see their, their family members, um, you know, grandparents who can't see their grandkids. So I think it's just the psychological, the economic, uh, the social toll is just absolutely enormous in addition to the, you know, the public health and the real risk that people face, um, in terms of, you know, getting sick and losing a life or losing a loved one to we're all in this together. Speaker 2: 03:41 And I think that has to be our guiding principle. So how do we come together to, to tackle this crisis in a way that's going to protect all of us and make sure that we're, we're especially, um, you know, doing what we can for those who are most vulnerable. Um, so in that regard, um, you know, I think it'll be important to sort of take a fresh look at, uh, the right kind of response to this crisis. You know, now that we've been in it for a long while, um, I'd like to revisit again, whether, uh, we can scale up, um, uh, contact tracing and testing in the ways they've done in other countries where, uh, there's just so much more testing, um, which, you know, something, you know, w they've tried our, county's tried really hard to do that, but it might be worth trying again and, and looking at that, and in terms of focusing on anything that should get, uh, opened or prioritized opening, I think that it needs to, we need to lead with our schools and daycares, uh, because it it's really not only important for working parents to be able to have their children in school. Speaker 2: 04:40 Um, and it's a massive drag on our whole economy, uh, when, when parents aren't able to send their kids to school or daycare, uh, it also is disproportionately impacting women. I mean, we're seeing women dropping out of the workforce in droves because they just have so many more of the demands of, of childcare. Um, and they're not able to balance the two, uh, given that we don't have the, the schools open and that's another piece of it, but also the kids, you know, so many kids are missing out on really vital learning years and socialization. Um, so I think that's my priority and then kind of building from there, um, out as to what else we can and reopen safely for, for our, uh, community. So Speaker 1: 05:23 This, this seat is one of five votes on the board, on new developments. What will you do to encourage or discourage developers from proposing large new master plan developments in the back country? Speaker 2: 05:33 I think it's just about resetting expectations. I think, um, folks know I'm not going to be supporting amendments to the general plan. I think we should stick with the footprint that the general plan has established and not going to be voting in favor of those general plan amendments. Uh, but on the other hand, I am going to be, you know, really taking a hard look at, um, what the County can do to make it more feasible and economically viable to build affordable housing closer to where people live and work. So, you know, I think there's a little bit of a carrot and a stick, right? Maybe no more projects in the back country, but certainly going to be a much better and more proactive partners for developers who wanted a build in sort of the right places in our community Speaker 1: 06:13 And Gasper who held the seat previously also had a seat on the regional transportation planning board SANDAG, which is proposing a radical shift of resources away from, uh, roads and towards beefing up public transit. Gasper was very skeptical, skeptical of that plan. Where do you spend? Speaker 2: 06:29 Well, I think it's vital that we look to a new approaches to transit in, um, in San Diego, right? This old approach of, uh, just building more and more roads is part of what's led to our sprawl development and building in the back country. But it's also really contributed to traffic because, uh, you know, at the end of the day for building houses farther from where people live and work, then everyone's just jammed onto the roads trying to get where they need to go. Um, so I think it's important. We take a fresh look at that. I, I, the specifics of the SANDAG proposal I've said, uh, for a long while now that I think there's a lot that's in there. That's interesting, but, um, I'd like to see a impact study and impact a feasibility study to see really how is this going to play economically in San Diego? Speaker 2: 07:11 Um, you know, we know that there's a lot on paper there that San Diego has put out, but, uh, I'd like to see an independent assessment about, um, you know, what's, what's the impact going to be economically. And in terms of, you know, how well we're really going to be able to, um, uh, support affordable housing options with nutrients and investments. And I think that's important. Uh, and certainly it's vital that we recognize that San Diego is really diverse and there's parts of San Diego that we need to invest in fixing our roads because, um, that's, what's, you know, that's all that we have and that's, that's what makes sense. And there's other parts of San Diego where, uh, public transit might make sense. Um, and those are not the same. And, and we need to embrace that diversity and, and have different solutions for different parts of our County. Speaker 1: 07:52 This is a swing district and Kristin Gaspar attacked you during the campaign as a, as a radical who will spend taxpayer money unwisely. What do you say to voters who might be worried? Yeah, Speaker 2: 08:01 A couple of things. I mean, first of all, I would say it was just really sad, uh, sort of the tenor of the campaign. Um, you know, the, a lot of what they put out about it was just, uh, either completely a lie or a blatantly misleading and, um, was really an, I think, uh, a Testament to the strength of our campaign, um, that they, they couldn't figure out anything to say for Gaspar's own record. So they just had to spread a bunch of fear about me as a candidate. Um, you know, not that dissimilar from what Trump has done globally, nationally, and, uh, you know, the same thing, right. Communist socialist, Antifa, and then you hear Gasper saying whatever Trump was saying the day before. Um, but directed at me. So I think that's the, really the, the core dynamic. Um, so I'm just mostly looking to hope that, um, our community can come together because I'm going to be a supervisor for everyone. Speaker 2: 08:52 And, uh, you know, I, I really hope people don't, uh, you get misled by those kinds of fear-mongering tactics that are the hallmark of you kind of desperate and, um, a little bit dirty campaigning. Um, so that's the main thing I would say, but then I would say more broadly it's, it's also frankly, just quite silly. Uh, you know, I'm an economist by training. I was, I worked in the Obama treasury department. I've worked around the world, helping economies recover from economic crises. Um, and one of the first things I'm really interested in doing is standing up, um, an initiative at the County that looks at a cost benefit, does cost benefit analysis of everything we do, uh, to make sure that the taxpayer money is being spent wisely and is going in the right direction to benefit our community. Um, and that's something we haven't had. And so those are the kinds of practical things I'm going to be bringing to the job on day one, Speaker 1: 09:41 Speaking with Tara Lawson Riemer, who is currently ahead in the district three race on the San Diego County board of supervisors, Tara. Thank you. Thank you Speaker 3: 09:49 Much.

Ways To Subscribe
MiddayEd_generic-new_aKjKLmv.jpg
Democrat Terra Lawson-Remer upset Republican incumbent Kristin Gaspar.
KPBS Midday Edition Segments