San Diego County is changing, and nowhere is that truer than in the North County, currently represented on the Board of Supervisors by Bill Horn.
Most of the five supervisors have been in office for more than 20 years. It’s been largely a white, male, Republican club brimming with alumni from San Diego State University.
After 23 years in office, supervisor Horn is terming out of District 5. And not a moment too soon. He’s long been the embodiment of what’s wrong with County government: gruff, unfeeling, and forgetful about who he was supposed to be representing.
Here’s a snip from a Union-Tribune editorial earlier this year calling Horn out for his behavior:
San Diego County Supervisor Bill Horn has long lacked tact. In 2000, the retired Marine, whose website once “mistakenly” listed the Silver Star among his honors, opposed gays in the military by saying, “I want the people defending me to be the best there is. I don’t want any other ancillary kind of problems, whether or not they use their pinky finger.”
In 2005, while seeking a $28,000-a-year salary increase after the county had slashed youth services and laid off dozens of workers, Horn said, “It is true that we are elected, but nobody who got elected took a vow of poverty. We’re not Franciscans.”
Any doubts about Horn’s disdain and disrespect for the public evaporated when he opposed Supervisor Greg Cox’s recent suggestion that the board meet once at night as it has in years past so working constituents could discuss the county’s budget.
Horn said a “concerned citizen … could make the time to come down here to testify. I’m willing to sit here for two days. … I don’t want to sit here at night.”
The California constitution gives county supervisors enormous power, and in San Diego, the name of the game has been self-preservation. The county treasury has more than three times the reserves considered prudent.
Mental health and social programs don’t get the support they need, even as the region’s poverty and homelessness soar. Environmental goals are considered a nuisance to be avoided. And the county’s criminal justice system remains stuck in the past: regressive, repressive and willfully oblivious to the consequences of their practices.
This district includes Camp Pendleton, Oceanside, Carlsbad, Rancho Santa Fe, San Marcos, Vista, Bonsall, Fallbrook, DeLuz, Rainbow, Pala, Pauma Valley, Valley Center, Warner Springs, Ranchita, and Borrego Springs.
A year ago, I would have said District 5 was as close as Republicans could get to a sure thing when it came to maintaining their hold on a supes seat. Democrats, according to the latest report from the Registrar of Voters, are at a near 20,000 person disadvantage when it comes to partisan declarations.
Now, I’m not so sure. Much of D5 overlaps with the 49th Congressional District. A determined band of activists have been blanketing the area, going door-to-door and having those all important one-on-one conversations with voters.
June’s primary results from that part of the region were surprising. Significantly more votes went to Democrats than Republicans in the 49th. Two Democrats are now vying for Assemblyman Ricky Chavez’s seat.
The expected run-off between two Republicans for the D5 Supes seat didn’t happen; a–gasp!–Democrat made it past June 5th. (The GOP did have 54% of the total votes in D5, however.)
Michelle Gomez (Democrat)
Issues: Affordable Housing, Land Use / Smart Growth, Homelessness Crisis, Health and Human Services, Environmental Protection, Transportation, Veterans Affairs, Women and Families, Safe Access to Cannabis, California Values Act
Organizational Endorsements: San Diego County Democratic Party, Blue Dream Democrats, Brownie Mary Democrats, Democratic Club of Carlsbad & Oceanside, Democratic Club of Vista, Democratic Woman’s Club of San Diego County, Democrats of MiraCosta College, Martin Luther King Jr. Democratic Club, National Women’s Political Caucus – San Diego, Run Women Run, San Diego Democrats for Equality, San Diego Progressive Democratic Club, Veterans Democratic Club of San Diego County, San Diego County Young Democrats, San Diego County Labor Democratic Club, North County Latino Democrats, Animal PAC, Oceanside for a Safer Community, Sierra Club – San Diego, Standing Up for Women, The Wagon Circle, California Nurses Association, San Diego & Imperial Counties Labor Council, Service Employees International Union, Local 221, United Domestic Workers, Local 3930, United Association of Plumbers, Steamfitters & HVAC/R Local 230, Oceanside Firefighters IAFF Local 3736, Vista Fire Fighters Association Local 4107, Association of Cannabis Professionals, A Soothing Seed. (The San Diego Free Press endorsed Michelle Gomez in the primary)
Union-Tribune – County Board of Supervisors candidate Michelle Gomez on the issues
KPBS – District 5 Candidate Michelle Gomez Wants To Use County Reserves For New Hires
The Coast News – District 5 Board of Supervisors candidates break down the issues
The award for most organizations endorsing a candidate in a local election goes to Michelle Gomez, as least as far as I’ve seen.
What you should infer from my observation is that the candidate is working really hard to round up votes. The campaign site is longer on specifics than platitudes.
Gomez experience as a legislative analyst, reviewing legislation and drafting policy, along with her record of volunteerism give proof to the substance she’d bring to the position.
She’s making no bones about her desire to end the hoarding of county reserves, putting the excess to work building the local economy, strengthening fire protection, preserving our open space, and increasing access to affordable housing.
Jim Desmond (Republican)
Issues: Fiscal Responsibility, Public Safety, Traffic Congestion
Organizational Endorsements: Associated General Contractors, Borrego Sun Newspaper, Building Industry Association, Californian Republican Assembly – East County, Deputy Sheriff’s Association, Latino American Political Association, Mexican American Business Professionals Association, National Association of Electrical Contractors, Oceanside Police Officers Association, San Diego County Apartment Association, San Diego County Medical Society, San Diego County Republican Party, San Diego Deputy District Attorney’s Association, San Diego Gun Owners Association, San Diego Lincoln Club, San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, The Paper (North County newspaper), The San Diego Union-Trib
Union-Tribune – Endorsement: San Marcos Mayor Jim Desmond for San Diego County supervisor
Union-Tribune – Incumbent Bill Horn backs Jim Desmond for San Diego County Supervisor
KPBS – District 5 Candidate Jim Desmond Says County’s Reserves ‘Are Fine Where They Are’
SDSU graduate and former airline pilot Jim Desmond’s candidacy comes into this race via his service as Mayor of San Marcos. From what I can gather, he thinks most things with the county are just fine and dandy the way they are.
And then there’s this, which Desmond says he’s okay with, via the Times of San Diego:
San Marcos Mayor Jim Desmond, a Republican running for the county Board of Supervisors, is brushing off any political harm from remarks he made to a GOP group in November.
An audio obtained by Times of San Diego has Desmond saying: “In the City of San Marcos, there is no ‘Press 2 for Spanish.’ … English is the language of the government in the City of San Marcos.”
Several audience members are heard voicing their approval…
…Desmond expressed confidence that he’ll win Hispanic votes because “in San Marcos we have helped them immensely. We have invested heavily in Hispanic areas in our town.”
Geez. I can’t wait for these GOP dinosaurs to become extinct.
Other articles in this series:
- San Diego County Supervisor D4 | Nathan Fletcher vs. Bonnie Dumanis: A Critical Contest
- San Diego’s City Council District 2 | Republican Zapf vs Democrat Dr. Jen: Is a Change Gonna Come?
- Climate Change, Clogged Drains, and Lorie Zap
- San Diego City Council District 4 | Cole vs. Montgomery: How to Make Black Lives Matter
- City Council District 6: How Can Hough Hew His Way Around An Incumbent’s Advantage?
- San Diego’s City Council District 8 | Martinez vs Moreno: It’s Complicated
- Are You Willing to Look Past Gavin Newsom’s Smile and Carl DeMaio’s Frown in the General Election?
- The Sins of Lorie Zapf – Part 1
- The Sins of Councilwoman Lorie Zapf – Part 2
The San Diego Free Press Progressive Voter Guide, to be published in early October will include these and many other candidates. To see all our coverage for the 2018 elections, go here.
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