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Candidates For San Diego City Council District 1 Disagree On Short-Term Rentals

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Joe LaCava and Will Moore largely agree on what to do about issues like homelessness, but when it comes to the controversial issue of short-term rentals, the two part company.

Speaker 1: 00:00 San Diego city council district one covers a lot of coastline from LA Jolla up to the border with Del Mar among the neighborhoods. It serves our Carmel Valley Sorento Valley university, city and UCS D district one is currently represented by my oral candidate, Barbara Bray. So she's not running for reelection in the district. Two Democrats are in the race to replace her candidates, Joe LaCava and Wilmore KPBS reporter. John Carroll joins me with more on the race. And John, welcome to the show. Thanks Maureen. Tell us about the candidate who got the most votes in the March primary. That would be Joe LA

Speaker 2: 00:38 That's right Joe LaCava. He is a civil engineer and he's also a public policy consultant by trade. Uh, he says that San Diego is most crucial issues will be producing housing for moderate income and low income families dealing with homelessness. Uh, he believes the city can meet its housing needs within existing community plans without pushing density on single family neighborhoods. Uh, he has served on many community boards, various city committees over the years. His opponent has as well, but the housing is the main thing that both of them agree on housing and homelessness is the key issue in this race right now. One of the things that he says about that is that the process of getting housing built is just too difficult right now, and that needs to be fixed. And here's what he had to say about that. We need to take a look at the incredibly complex financial mechanisms, the income restricted housing, and how that adds to the cost. We have to look at the rent and deliver housing at that point and how we can streamline that. So LaCava believes the city can meet its housing needs within existing community plans without pushing density on single family neighborhoods. He pretty much in fact, relies on community plans.

Speaker 1: 01:50 Now candidate will Moore also wants to see housing go up faster in the city. What's his background?

Speaker 2: 01:57 Well, Maura is a lawyer. Um, interestingly after he graduated from college, he joined the peace Corps and worked in Senegal, uh, teaching people there, how to start up and be successful with small businesses after he returned to the U S he went to law school and he says, 20 years later, by the way, he's still paying off some of his student loans. So you can imagine how he feels about that issue. Um, not surprisingly here now in San Diego, his specialty in the law is working with small business. Like LaCava, he's a member of several charitable organizations, including the rotary club. Like LaCava, he says it is just too difficult to get permits in this city to build anything. And then as a matter of fact, he says the folks at city hall, the bureaucracy, as he calls it, have been keeping it that way for a long time. Now here's what he had to say about that. We've had a regime in this towns in the last 30 years that has been frankly, affirmatively against building housing, unnecessary hurdles over-regulation so unlike LaCava, he really says there needs to be more density in housing, but he also says that that does not mean putting up 30 story buildings in neighborhoods.

Speaker 1: 03:02 Now, a huge issue in district one has been short term vacation rentals like Airbnb, and it's been a seemingly intractable issues for the city council. What was the latest city proposal to address the issue and what happened to it?

Speaker 2: 03:17 Well, Maureen you're right. It has been an issue in San Diego for years and years. I remember covering the story in my previous job years ago, and it's still with us. The most recent proposal came before the city planning commission earlier in October. And that proposal would have slashed to the volume of homes available for short term rentals, by as much as 60% it had the support. In this matter of fact, it was proposed by a city council, woman, Jen Campbell, who represents a lot of the neighborhoods that would have the do have Airbnbs. It failed by one vote and they sent it back to a city staff. And it is now due to come back up for reconsideration in early December.

Speaker 1: 03:58 And how do the candidates and district one stand on short term rentals? Do either of them support this latest propose?

Speaker 2: 04:05 Yes. Uh, Wilmore said that it wasn't necessarily as strict as he would like, but he says the, in this case, the enemy of the good shouldn't be perfect. I think what we should be doing instead of just waving a flag to have a rhetorical point is trying to work towards a solution that actually reduces the impact of SVRs on our community. And that practical solution is what I'm after LaCava thought that it didn't go far enough. He disagreed with the proposal, let's adopt regulations for home sharing, and let's keep whole home rentals in our commercial districts.

Speaker 1: 04:42 Who's come out in support of LaCava and who's come out and supportive Wilmore.

Speaker 2: 04:47 Well LaCava has been endorsed by a group called save San Diego neighborhoods and given his position on air B. And B's, that's not surprising because this is a group that lobbies for vacation rental guidelines. He's also gotten the endorsement of the Sierra club, uh, San Diego chapter, and he was endorsed by state Senate president pro temp, Tony Atkins, uh, more on the other hand has been endorsed by the San Diego regional chamber of commerce. Uh, now that is one might think sort of a more Republican leaning group, but he has also received the endorsement of the UMB Democrats of San Diego County NIMBY stands for yes, in my backyard. Also San Diego Councilman Chris ward, who is running for Todd Gloria's seat and the mayor of Imperial beach surge, Dina, as well as the mayor of national city Alejandra Sotelo Selise

Speaker 1: 05:36 Does Joe LaCava still hold the advantage in this race because he got the most votes in the primary.

Speaker 2: 05:43 Well, that's a good question. He did best more by more than 3000 votes in the primary, but there were more than 25,000 votes split between all the other candidates. So at this point, it's hard to say

Speaker 1: 05:55 I've been speaking with KPBS reporter, John Carroll and John. Thank you so much.

Speaker 2: 06:00 Thank you, Maureen.

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KPBS Midday Edition Segments

Maureen Cavanaugh and Jade Hindmon host KPBS Midday Edition, a daily radio news magazine keeping San Diego in the know on everything from politics to the arts.