An introduction to Sarah Boot, Candidate District 2 City Council
By Judi Curry
Over the past several months, I have attended many “meet the candidate forums” for those people running for office on June 3rd. I have been amazed at the quality of one of the candidates running for District 2 City Council seat because she is so aware of the problems facing those of us in this particular district. And furthermore, she has answers to overcome those problems.
Let’s tackle a few of those problems right now: For those of us living along the Sunset Cliffs corridor, I have a question for you. When was the last time you were able to leave your home and go directly to the Highway 8 on-ramp without being detoured around Ocean Beach? Yesterday it took me over 10 minutes to get to the freeway because of the streets that were blocked off – again – and detour signs were everywhere.
When I came home from my excursion to El Cajon, the detour signs were gone but the roads from Newport to Santa Cruz were so bumpy I thought my car would end up with flat tires. That, plus the steel plates all over the road only tell me that today will be the same way, and probably for weeks to come.
I discussed this problem with the candidate mentioned above. She is a fresh new voice instead of “politics as usual”. She certainly belies the stereotype of a political neophyte because is so aware of the goings-on in San Diego. Oh, what’s that you ask? Who is this person?
Let me introduce you to Sarah Boot, the 32 year old that will make a difference in San Diego politics.
Here is what she says about her motivations at her website:
“I’m running for San Diego City Council because I’m passionate about public service. As an attorney, I left private practice to become a federal prosecutor and I loved my work because every day I helped to keep our community safe.
I live in the Midway community with my husband, Shane, and our two rescue dogs. I take the trolley to work and I’m involved in many volunteer roles throughout San Diego, including serving as a career mentor for young women as they age out of the foster care system. Throughout the course of my career, I have fought for fairness, justice, and for the advancement of women of all ages.
On the City Council I will bring my strong advocacy skills to fight for the rebuilding of our neighborhoods. I will be a tireless worker to improve the quality of our day-to-day lives, including an increased focus on public safety in our neighborhoods and on our streets, working to improve San Diego’s crumbling infrastructure, and ensuring our coast and public parks remain beautiful.
More than anything we need an open and transparent city government. No more closed door meetings and back-room deals. Our elected officials are mired in partisanship and petty bickering, and we’ve had a Mayor resign in disgrace. We need to change the direction of City Hall, get back to basics, and start moving San Diego forward again.
As a federal prosecutor, I know how to stand up and fight for what I believe in and I never let any powerful special interests deter me.”
So what does Sarah suggest for the roads of District 2?
As she has researched the problem, she found that many other cities – and countries, for that matter – utilize software systems wherein streets are numbered and prioritized as to work that needs to be done. All of the different departments work together in completing these projects so that a project is completed before the next one is demolished. The contractors work together instead of each one doing his own thing, and the residents in the area can look at a map on-line and know when their street – or route – is going to be under construction so they can plan an alternate way of leaving their house.
The effort is based on “coordination” – which is a more efficient way and healthier way for the residents to survive. The conflict between departments would be eliminated and the projects completed in a much more timely manner than is currently done now.
The Bay Park proposed height change has many of those neighbors riled up. Bay Park is part of District 2; is not designated as a “Coastal” area which means it does not have the same protection that coastal cities have. In fact, the City Council can change the height restriction without any input from the constituents of the area; and they can make the change themselves at a regular City Council Meeting.
Sarah is opposed to changing the height limitations. Can you imagine what it would be like to drive down Morena Blvd. to find 60’ high condominiums wall to wall as far as you can see? Sure, the trolley will be a nice addition, as will a few small restaurants in the area, but 60 foot condo’s. Are we going to turn that area into another Miami Beach?
A Voice of San Diego article suggested that one of Sarah’s opponents – Lori Zapf – was “wishy-washy”(my words) on her views of this change. At a meeting held January 24, Zapf said that the plan was good idea. She said that “ . . . we have a trolley that will go along Morena Blvd., but up until now we haven’t had planning there. We need to look at a plan with more height and density and less parking than we see there today.”
However, at the April 16th candidate forum in Pacific Beach, Boot said that “ . . . Zapf was in favor of the plan, points to her comments to the apartment association on January 24th.”
Zapf responded by saying, “ Yeah, I did say that . . . And the reason is, SANDAG projects we’re going to have a huge influx of population in the next few decades. So there are areas in our city where we’re going to have to look at raising some of the height limits, additional density and less parking. Because why are we doing all this transit, if we’re all just going to all just have two cars and still require two parking spaces for everything? It just doesn’t make any sense.”
So…my question to you, the reader, is this: Does Lori Zapf have an opinion on this made by her, or is she parroting what others are telling her to say. It’s like standing with one hand in hot water and the other hand in icy water, and the brain does not know how to react. I, for one, do not really know where she stands, but I have this dreadful feeling that I may be thrown under the bus if I vote for her.
Another factor in Sarah’s favor, at least in my mind, is that she has worked as an attorney and she is fiscally responsible. I can not say that about Zapf. She is one of the two people taking an $800 a month car allowance – $800 a month translates into $9600 a year. What for? She is elected for 4 years – at a grand total of $38,400 for her term in office to have a car? Hell, I’d work for just the car allowance and forget the monthly salary. Is that being fiscally responsible?
And what about the Balboa Park fiasco? Where was the “watch-dog” on that? $2.8 million dollars unaccounted for? Sure, she isn’t the only one on the City Council, but she prides herself in being fiscally responsible. Can’t prove it to me by her lack of actions on this project.
We are losing police officers by the dozens at an alarming pace. Did you know that the OB MainStreet Association now hires their own security guards because we no longer have the police presence we used to have? Our neighborhoods are not as safe as they were just a few years ago.
We need a “fiscal watchdog” to keep track of what is happening in San Diego. We need someone to start asking questions instead of rubber stamping what “has always worked before.”
Sarah has spent the last year getting out into the community; knocking on doors; addressing community groups. She is keeping track of the issues that are of concern for the residents of District 2. She is ready to start getting things done; she is ready to start neighborhood projects to benefit the District. She is ready to help small business merchants eliminate some of the conflicting messages coming their way when applying for permits; she is ready to be supportive and not divisive.
There are many issues still facing residents of District 2. One of the other “hot spots” at this time is still rumor – but with so many rumors going around there must be some truth to it . What? You haven’t heard the rumors about the Midway District and Sports Arena, and…….Until we know what is fact and what is fiction, I won’t go into detail here, but suffice it to say that there are changes coming; we just don’t know what they are yet, but I guarantee that with Sarah Boot on the City Council she will seek out the truth and let her constituents know; there won’t be any “rubber stamping” coming from her; nor will she allow others to pull her strings.
It is no secret that I support Sarah; it’s time for the “little people” to get a fair deal. I think Sarah is the one that will be able to do that for us.
Editor Note: The San Diego Free Press has not yet made a determination about endorsing any candidates. The views are solely those of the author. For more of our June 2014 primary coverage, go here.