ESCONDIDO — Next week, North County residents will have the chance to meet the three candidates in what is expected to be a hotly contested election for the District 3 seat on the Board of San Diego County Supervisors.
The event is scheduled from 7 to 8:30 p.m. April 26 at the Joslyn Senior Center, 210 Park Ave., and is sponsored by the Escondido Chamber of Citizens in conjunction with the League of Women Voters of North County San Diego.
In attendance will be incumbent Supervisor Dave Roberts, a democrat, Encinitas Mayor Kristin Gaspar, and Escondido Mayor Sam Abed, both Republicans.
ECOC President Chris Nava said her group is nonpartisan, while the LOWV also is nonpartisan and its goal is to build participation in the “democratic process.”
“We wanted to make sure that it was seen as an extremely nonpartisan forum,” Nava said. “This is to provide an opportunity for the public who live in this area to attend. We are trying to get a feeling for how the candidates feel about the issues.”
Residents are encouraged to ask questions to the candidates, although they must be submitted in writing to the organizers. Each candidate will deliver an opening and closing statement in addition to answering questions.
“Most of the questions will be directed or applicable to all three candidates. The attendees can specify a question to a specific candidate,” Nava said.
Cathy Greene of the LOWV said her group will provide a moderator from outside the district to ensure an impartial voice. She said the event will run about 90 minutes and should flow well with only three candidates on stage.
“We don’t support candidates or political parties,” she said. “We usually take written questions and have other volunteers to make sure they are legible. What we expect is people will have a better understanding of the candidates and issues.”
As for the candidates, Gaspar is running, partly, on her success as a businesswoman when she opened Gaspar Doctors of Physical Therapy with her husband, which now employs 138 people.
In addition, she was the first elected mayor of Encinitas in 2014.
“One of her priorities is economic development and job creation,” Gaspar’s campaign manager Jason Roe said in an email. “As a small business owner, who built a company that employs 138 people in six locations in North County, she has the experience to help grow our economy. We need a supervisor who isn’t distracted by things outside the scope of the job. Taxpayers expect our elected officials to focus on infrastructure, economic development and smart fiscal management of our budget and that’s what she’s committed to doing.”
Roberts, meanwhile, was elected as supervisor of District 3 in 2012 after completing terms as mayor, deputy mayor and city councilman in Solana Beach.
As supervisor, Roberts has been in the forefront of foster care, adoption services, domestic and child abuse, renewable energy resources and mental health issues.
Abed was elected to the Escondido City Council in 2004 and mayor in 2010 and 2014. His highlights include balancing the city’s budget and turning a $16 million deficit into an $8 million surplus, attracting $1 billion in new investments and reducing crime by 22 percent in 2014.
Emails seeking comment from Roberts and Abed’s campaign were not answered by press time.
The district covers 4S Ranch, Cardiff-by-the-Sea, Carmel Mountain, Carmel Valley, Del Dios, Del Mar, Del Mar Heights, Del Mar Mesa, Encinitas, Escondido, La Jolla Farms, Leucadia, Miramar, Mira Mesa, Olivenhain, Rancho Bernardo, Rancho Penasquitos, Sabre Springs, San Pasqual, Scripps Ranch, Solana Beach, Sorrento Valley, Tierrasanta, Torrey Hills, Torrey Pines and University City.