By Michelle Gomez
For the last quarter of a century, our county governing body has been dominated by fiscal conservatives who have turned a blind eye to crisis level problems impacting county residents. They have simultaneously built a bank account which could rival that of some small nations.
Term limits enacted within the last five years are finally bringing an end to their lackluster legacies and progressives are in the driver seat to flip a historically red seat. One that holds a tremendous amount of influence over how our daily lives are led here in San Diego County.
Our Board of Supervisors can and should be a force for good, one that ensures access to health and human services, which addresses our lack of affordable housing, and which protects the natural beauty of this place we are so fortunate to call home.
Instead, they have used their immense powers to ignore the will of county residents by banning cannabis for patients in the unincorporated areas, joining Trump’s lawsuit against the California Values Act, and forcing through urban sprawl projects against the advice of environmental agencies.
The current Supervisors have profited by keeping themselves off the radar as much as possible and limiting the amount of public input and scrutiny they are subject to. They have openly spoken against County ballot Measure D which makes county-level elections
The current system, which allows county offices to be decided by 50 percent +1 margin in the primary, put an end to the candidacies of hardline progressive candidates such as Dave Myers for Sheriff, Genevieve Jones-Wright who ran for DA, and Matt Strabone candidate for County Assessor/Recorder. Such tactics are aimed at protecting an ambiguous albeit longstanding right-wing agenda in a county that is becoming increasingly more blue.
Worse still, the current Supervisors are hoarding taxpayer dollars in the form of budgetary reserves in a vainglorious effort to maintain a AAA bond rating we have already secured. This money would be much more prudently allocated to improving the quality of life of county residents by reinvesting it into our communities.
According to the County’s Operational Plan for 2018-2020, guidance passed by these same long-presiding Supervisors, our county should be maintaining a budgetary reserve of 16.7 percent (or approximately two months) of normal county spending to protect us against issues such as “expenditure and revenue volatility, natural disasters and other unforeseen emergencies, economic downturns, unfunded pension liabilities, and aging infrastructure.”
The current emergency reserve stands at almost 49 percent, while issues such as 2017’s Hepatitis A outbreak which killed dozens and infected hundreds went unchecked. Certainly, a public health nightmare of that magnitude should constitute an emergency.
One of the most regrettable byproducts of this miserly tendency is the current sales tax initiatives being forwarded by fire departments countywide in order to shore up our fire prevention capabilities. Another expense that our current Supervisors have neglected to properly address.
Local departments are losing experienced personnel to departments in other counties which can pay higher salaries. Those dedicated heroes who remain are forced to deal with outmoded facilities and equipment, yet more reasons for their support of sales tax measures meant to close the gap in the absence of adequate county resources for fire prevention.
Another daunting issue facing our county is that of affordable housing. We are on the verge of facing sanctions from the state for failing to do our due diligence as a county in ensuring access to affordable and attainable housing. Just 10 percent of the current reserves could put some meaningful momentum into the drive to alleviate an issue which can eliminate many secondary issues which result from a lack of housing. I’m of course speaking of issues such as homelessness, another key quandary which is only growing more complex.
For these reasons alone, a Housing First model makes a lot of sense. Such an approach would also allow us to begin to break down the root causes of homelessness including addiction and mental illness. By identifying those most at risk, we can begin to streamline the delivery process of County Health & Human Services.
I’m a firm proponent of the idea that social progress should not cost us more. Rather that true progress, that aimed at rectifying problems before they can get out of hand, will ultimately save us money. This can only happen however when we elect leaders such as myself who are committed to putting people over profits and ensuring that government functions in the best interest of the governed. The way it’s supposed to.
I’m a current Commissioner on both the Oceanside Housing Commission and the SD County Commission on the Status of Women & Girls. For the last two decades, I have dedicated myself to community service and advocacy for underserved communities including women, children, veterans, military families, and trauma survivors. For my service to military families with deployed spouses, I was awarded four times by the Obama Administration.
In my professional capacity, I serve as a Legislative Analyst reviewing state and national law in order to draft and educate on effective policy choices. I hope to pair my passion for community service with my experience in policy-making to effect needed change at the county level.
If elected, my chief priorities are to tackle our affordable housing crisis, improve fire protection, and end the practice of bundling general plan amendments. I would be honored to be the first woman ever to represent District 5 on our Board of Supervisors and to be the strong voice that North County’s working families need to defend their best interests.
It is critical that we flip this seat which has been held by the same Republican for a lifetime, but more so due to the fact that my opponent is an ardent Trump supporter. He belittles cannabis patients and the growth industry which supports their needs, and is proud that his city has no “press 2 for Spanish option.” He advocates for increased roads and traffic lanes but against the resources needed to maintain them.
He is endorsed by the current District 5 Supervisor Bill Horn and is proving to be a willing party to the same sort of illogical thinking that has created many of the problems we are currently faced with.
I encourage everyone to check out my position on all of the issues by visiting my website (MichelleForSupervisor.com). If you have questions for me or concerns about the future of our county, I hope to hear from you either by phone or email. Together we can turn over a new leaf and keep San Diego the beautiful, welcoming, and prosperous place we all love. I’d be honored to have your vote!