COAST CITIES — Since Pam Slater-Price announced in September she would not seek a sixth term on the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, only one candidate has entered the race for her seat, but that may soon change.
Del Mar Mayor Carl Hilliard said he will announce his candidacy in January, the same month Solana Beach City Councilman Dave Roberts said he will make an announcement about his decision as well.
“I’m a very careful guy,” Hilliard said. “I paid for an in-depth poll that found none of the potential candidates have name recognition.”
What he did learn, however, is that people are looking for a successful business person with legislative experience, he said.
“I’m not so sure name recognition is important,” Hilliard said. “It’s getting the message out, and I’m not coy. I’ve had a great life and a lot of different experiences.”
Following his graduation from Pomona College, Hilliard served in the U.S. Navy as the electronic countermeasures officer for Commander Naval Forces in Japan. After leaving the Navy, he graduated from the University of Southern California School of Law and specialized in telecommunications law.
He stopped practicing to form Via/Net Companies, which held interests in television and other communications facilities across the nation.
Hilliard went through a year-long recovery after breaking his neck and back and then returned to law as a full-time associate professor at California Western School of Law.
One of his several published articles attracted the attention of the Kingdom of Tonga, which was then enmeshed in a dispute with the U.S., France, the United Kingdom and Russia over satellite positions in the geostationary orbit serving Asia. Hilliard spent the next few years in Geneva helping Tonga secure seven satellite positions.
Then he was sent by Tonga to Russia to help negotiate the purchase of communications satellites and arrange their launch into space. He then went to Asia to help negotiate the satellite operations agreements with the governments of Thailand, China, Japan and Indonesia.
Hilliard is now president of Wireless Consumers Alliance Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing consumer interests. He was first elected to the Del Mar City Council in 2004 and re-elected in 2008 and is currently serving his second term as mayor.
Roberts, who was first elected to the Solana Beach City Council in 2004 and re-elected in 2008, would not confirm or deny his candidacy for Slater-Price’s seat but said he will make an announcement in early January.
He is vice president of government relations for Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, a nonprofit organization focused on providing global leadership for the optimal use of information technology and management systems for the betterment of health care.
He previously served as a staff member on the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee and the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. He was also a financial analyst for the U.S. Air Force at the Pentagon and in Germany.
Roberts declared his candidacy for the 50th Congressional District in 2009 to run against incumbent Rep. Brian Bilbray, but withdrew after less than three months to focus on his growing family.
The only confirmed candidate for the District 3 seat on the five-member Board of Supervisors is Steve Danon, a graduate of San Diego State University who served as chief of staff for Bilbray and County Supervisor Ron Roberts.
Solana Beach City Councilwoman Lesa Heebner had considered a District 3 run but decided against it in November.
District 3 includes parts of the city of San Diego as well as Encinitas, Solana Beach and Del Mar.