PRIMARY 2014: 3 candidates chasing Dist. 2 City Council seat share platforms
May 22, 2014 | 1845 views | 0 0 comments | 44 44 recommendations | email to a friend | print
SARAH BOOT
SARAH BOOT
slideshow
MARK SCHWARTZ
MARK SCHWARTZ
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LORIE ZAPF
LORIE ZAPF
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EDITOR’S NOTE: After the ouster of former Mayor Bob Filner last year and two special elections to determine his successor, voters gave the nod to now-Mayor Kevin Faulconer. With Faulconer’s ascension to mayor, his District 2 City Council seat is now up for grabs. A primary election is set for June 3 and will feature four candidates (alphabetically): Sara Boot, Jim Morrison, Mark Schwartz and Lorie Zapf. To better inform our readers about the political views of the candidates, the San Diego Community Newspaper Group developed a five-pronged interview we posed to the political hopefuls. The following is their response in the candidates’ own words. Note: Morrison submitted no response.

SARAH BOOT

(Federal prosecutor)

Q: What is the greatest challenge/challenges facing our beach communities of District 2 and how do you propose addressing this/them?

A: Our beach communities are struggling with crumbling infrastructure, an in-crease in property crime, the largest homeless population outside of downtown and the ever-present responsibility of protecting our beaches and bays. We need a fierce advocate for our neighborhoods who will put the community first, without bowing to the developers and downtown insiders that have run City Hall for too long. We must stop cutting sweetheart deals for special interests at the expense of our neighborhoods and get serious about putting a stop to wasteful spending at City Hall.

Q: The homeless situation and the issues/problems associated with it are becoming more pervasive in many areas of District 2. How do you propose to address this issue?

A: Outside of downtown, our beach communities have the highest population of homeless individuals in San Diego, and the numbers continue to grow. It’s clear that what we are doing is not working, and we need leadership to push for change. We should implement a pilot program of the “housing first” model for chronically homeless veterans — typically those with severe mental illness and/or drug addiction. This model has been successful in other cities like Salt Lake City and Phoenix. The citymust also do a better job of advocating for our fair share of federal funding.

Q: Now that the City Council has adopted a clear policy regulating controversial medical-marijuana dispensaries, do you believe the new policy has gone too far or not far enough?

A: I support safe access to medical marijuana for compassionate use. However, the proliferation of pot shops along our main streets has pushed out local businesses and changed the character of our beach communities. For years, the city failed to enact regulations that balance the needs of patients and the larger community. The recent ordinance limiting the number of dispensaries to four per district is a good start. Passed months ago, the city has yet to enforce it. For the safety of patients and for the good of the community, we need to make the regulation of medical marijuana a top priority.

Q: Mayor Kevin Faulconer has introduced a proposed budget placing much greater emphasis on neighborhoods, infrastructure and quality-of-life issues. Do you support this plan? What components would be your priorities?

A: I support a budget focused on neighborhood priorities, and Mayor Faulconer’s proposal is a good start. However, after decades of underinvestment, our neighborhoods have crisis-level problems that require long-term vision and planning. We have an estimated $2 billion infrastructure backlog, half of our police force is set to retire in the next three years, we have insufficient rescue equipment for our firefighters and lifeguards, and too few hours of operation at our libraries and recreation centers. These problems cannot be remedied by any single budget. We must stand up to the downtown insiders and special interests to put our neighborhoods first.

Q: The economy continues to be a key concern to many voters. What is your plan to reinvigorate San Diego’s economic growth and tourism?

A: We need to expand our innovation economy to create high-paying, middle-class jobs. Doing so demands that we ready our workforce for industry needs by facilitating partnerships between local technology companies and colleges. We also need to make it easier for small businesses by streamlining permitting and eliminating needless regulation. Finally, our technology industry, tourism industry and small businesses will thrive when we take better care of the basic needs of our coastal communities — enhancing our public safety, repairing our roads and ensuring clean and healthy beaches.

…………..

MARK SCHWARTZ

(Organic fertilizer

marketer/consultant)

Q: What is the greatest challenge/challenges facing our beach communities of District 2 and how do you propose addressing this/them?

A: Our greatest challenge in District 2 is the cronyism and waste of government resources. We see the failing infrastructure while our tax burden rises. We are triple-taxed for water. Our electric rates and our transient taxes are among the highest nationally. We solve this with fiscally conservative leaders who will fight corruption. I will establish a whistleblower hotline and serve the people as an independent leader. I do not work for unions or corporations. Let’s take money out of politics. I will expand contract privatization to secure for taxpayers the best products for the lowest prices. Comprehensive pension reform must continue.

Q: The homeless situation and the issues/problems associated with it are becoming more pervasive in many areas of District 2. How do you propose to address this issue?

A: Charity comes from the heart, not from bureaucrats. We live in paradise and the homeless will certainly accompany us. I do not wish to create a taxpayer-funded Nirvana for the homeless. Many are in need and want help. At the same time, many do not want help. It is not illegal to be homeless, and everyone deserves the right to pursue happiness. I give blankets and fresh vegetables from my garden to the homeless in my neighborhood. I will create programs to inspire community gardens and promote private employment programs for those who truly seek independence.

Q: Now that the City Council has adopted a clear policy regulating controversial medical-marijuana dispensaries, do you believe the new policy has gone too far or not far enough?

A: Medical research shows that marijuana is less dangerous than alcohol and cigarettes, yet those products are taxed and available for legal sale at every corner market. Medical research has proven that cannabis extract can and does attack many kinds of cancerous tumors. Cannabis can prevent seizures and provides pain relief without narcotic prescriptions. Legal patients should have safe access to life-saving medicine. Let’s tax cannabis and stop filling our prisons with non-violent criminals. Prohibition does not work; this policy is a start. The goal is to free law enforcement resources to fight real dangerous crimes like human trafficking.

Q: Mayor Kevin Faulconer has introduced a proposed budget placing much greater emphasis on neighborhoods, infrastructure and quality-of-life issues. Do you support this plan? What components would be your priorities?

A: The proposed budget is a great step forward for the city. Mayor Faulconer is a proponent of managed competition for city contracts,and I would support a strong expansion of this tax-saving program. San Diego could easily operate with less than 100 actual city employees. With privatization of all city services, we can save precious tax revenue and eliminate pension burden. Our city is a major vacation destination, and our infrastructure and park/beach attractions would benefit greatly from expanded competition in the private sector. Implementing instant-run-off voting will also save several million tax dollars on each election.

Q: The economy continues to be a key concern to many voters. What is your plan to reinvigorate San Diego’s economic growth and tourism?

A: I will fight fraud and waste in all aspects of government. Our economy thrives on tourism, and we must not tax ourselves out of the industry. I will stand up to progressive tax increases while working to increase external revenue streams. Our concert business is lackluster, major acts often skip our city. We need to focus more unconventional marketing to attract the film/music and port industries. For our economy to thrive, we must also deregulate permitting fees and tax burden on small business. Our proximity to Mexico emphasizes our need for free enterprise in business to stay competitive.

…………..

LORIE ZAPF

(San Diego City Councilwoman)

Q: What is the greatest challenge/challenges facing our beach communities of District 2 and how do you propose addressing this/them?

A: There are many challenges facing our district, but the biggest is our crumbling infrastructure. For years the city failed to invest in our neighborhoods, and that money went elsewhere. Not to downtown, but to public employee pensions. That’s why I’ve fought for vital government reforms like Comprehensive Pension Reform, so we can invest back in our neighborhoods again. Last year, my office got more potholes filled than any other City Council office. I will also work tirelessly to maintain the 30-foot height limit on buildings along the coast. The height limit is essential to ensuring the character of our neighborhoods.

Q: The homeless situation and the issues/problems associated with it are becoming more pervasive in many areas of District 2. How do you propose to address this issue?

A: There is a two-fold approach to dealing with homelessness. The first is to have a robust network of services to support the individuals who need help. My votes to support homeless shelters and services, like Connections Housing downtown, is why I am proud to count Father Joe Carroll as a supporter. The second step is to have an increased, proactive police presence to deter crime and keep us safe. I am the only candidate who our San Diego Police Officers Association and the Deputy Sheriffs Association trusts to improve safety in our neighborhoods.

Q: Now that the City Council has adopted a clear policy regulating controversial medical-marijuana dispensaries, do you believe the new policy has gone too far or not far enough?

A: I not only voted for the new policy, but I fought to put a cap on the maximum number of marijuana dispensaries, reducing the proposed number from nine to just four in the entire district. I believe in safe access to medicinal marijuana for legitimate patients, but that does not mean we should have a dispensary on every corner. During Bob Filner’s brief tenure as mayor, he allowed dozens of illegal dispensaries to open across the city. With these new rules in place, the city has begun closing the illegal dispensaries that have taken over our neighborhood.

Q: Mayor Kevin Faulconer has introduced a proposed budget placing much greater emphasis on neighborhoods, infrastructure and quality-of-life issues. Do you support this plan? What components would be your priorities?

A: During my first term, I worked alongside then-Councilman Faulconer to implement the government reforms that have given us the money for increased services in this budget. Our ability to work together to improve conditions for all of San Diego is why Mayor Faulconer has endorsed me to replace him in District 2. I absolutely support his proposed budget emphasizing increased neighborhood services and street repair. I look forward to voting this June to increase our infrastructure investment by 66 percent, to authorizing more personnel and resources for our understaffed police department and to increasing library hours in all our neighborhoods.

Q: The economy continues to be a key concern to many voters. What is your plan to reinvigorate San Diego’s economic growth and tourism?

A: I’ve owned a business in San Diego. I understand how difficult it can be. When I first took office, I partnered with Council President Tony Young to implement a Small Business Policy Assistance Package to cut red tape and help our neighborhood businesses afford to hire at least one more employee. I am the only candidate to support expanding our convention center, which allows us to keep Comic-Con and grow our tourism economy. People come from across the world to visit our beach communities. We need them to be clean and safe and to balance the needs of our residents.
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