Five candidates are vying in today's election for the first open San Diego County supervisor seat in nearly two decades.
Longtime Supervisor Pam Slater-Price, whose District 3 stretches from Encinitas to Escondido, is retiring, guaranteeing that for the first time since the 1990s, a new supervisor will join the panel.
Running to replace her are Dave Roberts, deputy mayor of Solana Beach and the only Democrat in the race; Del Mar Mayor Carl Hilliard; Steve Danon, chief of staff to Rep. Brian Bilbray; Bryan Ziegler, deputy county counsel; and Stephen Pate, a transportation coordinator in the film industry.
If one of the candidates receives more than 50 percent of the vote today, he will take the seat. If no one receives more than 50 percent, the top two vote-getters will advance to a November runoff.
While Slater-Price is retiring, two of her colleagues are seeking reelection. Supervisors Greg Cox and Dianne Jacob, who have both served since the mid-1990s, are running to keep their seats.
Brant Will, a deputy city attorney, is challenging Cox for the District 1 seat, which extends from Crown Point to the U.S.-Mexico border, and from the coast to the Otay and San Miguel mountains.
The District 2 race is a rematch of the 2008 election. Rudy Reyes, an archaeologist who was severely burned in the 2003 Cedar Fire, is challenging Jacob to represent East County and parts of San Diego.
Combined, the supervisors represent about three million residents and oversee a nearly $5 billion budget.
The campaign to replace Slater-Price has focused largely on creating jobs and reducing government spending.
"It is critical the next supervisor understands fiscal responsibility," Roberts said, adding that county government should foster an environment that spurs job growth.
Roberts also stressed environmental and quality of life initiatives, such as expanding open space areas and using recycled water on residential properties, as well as streamlining the Department of Planning and Land Use's business-permit process. He also said he would work to improve fire protection.
Danon echoed Roberts' sentiment on streamlining the permitting process, saying change was needed "so it doesn't take five to seven years for a business to get their permit so they could extend their operation or build their operation."
Danon also pledged to end the Neighborhood Reinvestment Program, which provides grant funds to county departments, public agencies and nonprofits. The "slush fund," if not completely eliminated, should include a residents' panel " so that every group that elicits taxpayer funds will be thoroughly vetted before one dollar is allocated," Danon said.
Danon's priorities also include consolidating county fire districts into a regional firefighting authority and creating an ethics commission.
Hilliard stressed the need to attract well-paying jobs and bringing jobs back from out of state and overseas.
"Our challenge is to make sure that we don't get in the way of that change, that we don't regulate them to the point where it doesn't make sense for them to come back," Hilliard said.
Hilliard also said Public Safety Realignment, which shifted responsibility for low-level offenders from the state to counties, was a concern.
Pate listed reducing both the size of county government and its spending as priorities.
"It's not rocket science spending taxpayers' money, but conservative fiscal policy is what we need," Pate said.
Pate also said he would push for the building of a desalinization plant, which has been stalled after more than 10 years of planning.
Ziegler pledged to systematically examine county rules and regulations to ensure they support residents.
"The focus needs to be on customer service and how we can help the public achieve what they want to do on their property," Ziegler said. He also said he would fight the Public Safety Realignment program.
—City News Service