LJCC’s executive director Nancy Walters moderated, introducing the backgrounds of both candidates. She said Moore is a small-business attorney, a father, a community leader, and a Columbia Law School graduate. She noted LaCava is an SDSU grad and civil engineer who has been a community advocate for the past 15 years working on nearly 30 community planning boards and groups including the board of Enhance La Jolla Maintenance Assessment District.
“I’m the son of an immigrant factory worker and my wife is a kindergarten teacher,” said LaCava in opening remarks. “I was the point person on getting the (Bird Rock) roundabouts in and worked on the MADD which maintained them. I was involved in the successful effort to save the La Jolla Post Office. I believe in holding the government to be accountable and transparent, and I will work to bring parties to the table and reach consensus.”
“I grew up in one of America’s poorest neighborhoods in Georgia,” noted Moore, who lives in Carmel Valley. “I was in the Peace Corps. I went to Columbia Law School. I moved with my ex-wife to San Diego 15 years ago and established a law firm that deals with small- and mid-size businesses. I’ve been involved in community service organizations for double-digit years including the La Jolla Golden Triangle Rotary Club. I have given a lot of pro bono legal advice. The reason I’m running is because I want to build San Diego for the future. I think we’ve looked toward the past too many times. We need leadership on the larger issues and I want us to plan for 10, 30, 50 years down the road.”
Both candidates were asked what their top priority was for La Jolla.
“La Jolla has a lot of issues that are problematic,” answered Moore. “We have empty storefronts, crumbling roads. Hillside Drive is a nightmare. One of the things we most need is improvements to our infrastructure.”
“We (La Jolla) really don’t get the attention we need from the City,” said LaCava. “Every community in this town should get the services that the City is providing. We have an aging infrastructure. Our parks are overused and abused. We need to focus more on the issues that maintain our quality of life.”
Regarding maintaining the 30-foot height limit in coastal areas, La Cava said, “The 30-foot height limit needs to be sustained and there is no disagreement on that, including Measure E proposing to remove the height limit in the Midway area. I will defend the height limit: no exceptions. We’re not going to change it up.”
Answered Moore, “I don’t think it makes any sense to try and change the height limit in La Jolla. In Midway, no one can see the ocean from the Sports Arena. It shouldn’t have been put there in the first place. But everywhere else it protects San Diego and I’ll fight anyone who tries to change that.”
The candidates gave their take on short-term rentals.
“We have a proposal on the table (D2 Councilmember Campbell) that reduces the number of short-term rentals by 70%, that’s a good place to start,” Moore said. “Saying they’ve been illegal hasn’t done us any good, hasn’t advanced the conversation. It’s been distracting us from actually solving the problem. Let’s move forward with rules that stick and make sure short-term rentals aren’t party houses, and that they aren’t taking housing stock out of our supply here in San Diego. I support implementing reasonable regulations.”
“Allowing short-term rentals is an idea that sounds good paper but we are a City of laws to protect citizens and property,” responded LaCava. “The mayor and the City have failed to enforce the law. There are upwards of 16,000 short-term rentals in the City, and the City is simply not enforcing the law. We need to get the City to do its job in enforcing the law. That’s the baseline.”
In closing remarks, Moore promised to be forward-thinking.
“My approach is definitely going to be looking toward the future of San Diego. Think about what kind of City we’re leaving for our children and grandchildren. Some of the things I do on the City Council are going to come to fruition in 10, 15 years after I’m long retired. Never changing anything, slowing everything down, I don’t think that’s the way you build a City. That’s what we’ve tried and look what it’s gotten us: closed storefronts, unpaved roads. And the reason we’ve had that stagnation is we don’t think about the future.”
LaCava noted his being a civil engineer uniquely qualifies him to be a council member working on planning and transportation issues.
“Today we face a pandemic, an economic crisis and the first conversation about equal opportunity for all San Diegans,” concluded LaCava. “Dealing with these issues is really going to require some tough decisions from the new mayor and city council. Our actions must be driven by thought-based conversations assuring that all stakeholders are at the table. I do the homework, I respect all input, I’m an honest broker building consensus with transparency and accountability. My agenda is the agenda demanded by you. I’ll be the leader that serves District 1.”