BESCONDIDO — Olga Diaz, the longest-serving member of the Escondido City Council, has filed with the California Secretary of State’s office to run as a candidate to represent District 3 on the San Diego County Board of Supervisors.
Representing Escondido’s District 3 as both a City Council member and Deputy Mayor throughout her over 10 years maintaining the seat, Diaz will now aim for a new helm which oversees not only Escondido, but Encinitas, Solana Beach, Del Mar and a huge area within the city of San Diego.
The San Diego County District 3 seat is currently occupied by Kristin Gaspar, the former mayor of Encinitas who has represented the district since her 2016 electoral victory.
It was those close to her who helped tip the scales in favor of Diaz’s ultimate decision to run for the District 3 seat, she said.
“It was several months of talking to new people and getting feedback from supporters, but also from, you know, close friends and allies,” Diaz said. “And you know, it’s not for the faint of heart to put yourself into any campaign much less one this size, certainly bigger than what I’ve previously participated in.”
Diaz said she is running because she sees opportunities to tackle issues she is passionate about, including land use and development issues, health and human services, climate change, and coastal preservation.
Regarding land use issues, Diaz said she would look forward to negotiations around the Safari Highlands proposal on county land within Escondido were she to assume the District 3 seat.
Diaz also said she will aim to help find a suitable replacement to fill her Escondido City Council seat.
“I’m in my third term and it’s a natural progression for me. And I also believe in giving other people a chance,” Diaz explained. “Escondido City Hall is, I think, in a much better position than it was when I found it. I’m very hopeful for the future with (Mayor) Paul (McNamara) and Consuelo (Martinez) and some of the demographic shifts in our city show that it’s not going to revert back to what it was. I’m hopeful to find a suitable replacement for me on the council that I can really believe in and campaign for and support.”
Gaspar has yet to declare as a candidate for District 3 for the 2020 race.
During 2018, Gaspar made a trip to the White House alongside former Escondido Mayor Sam Abed, participating in a May 16 roundtable on immigration and the prospective U.S.-Mexico border wall led by President Donald Trump.
Gaspar was a vocal critic of former California Gov. Jerry Brown’s immigration policies during the televised discussion.
Diaz said that, were she to win and represent District 3, she would narrow her focus to local issues. But she did praise Gaspar’s work tackling the issue of homelessness, saying she supports having more women political officeholders.
“I’ll say that in contrast to her, I would work on things that are much more local,” Diaz said. “You know, she visited the White House several times. I think that is an issue important to her. I obviously feel very differently than she does about the current national political landscape.”
One of Diaz’s major goals for District 3 is to expand the University of California system to have a presence within North County. The southwest edge of District 3 sits just north of University of California-San Diego.
“Research is typically what spurs industry, so the reason we have biotech along the coast is because UC-San Diego and San Diego State has spurred its own industries”
Gaspar’s campaign advisor, Jason Roe, said he believes her track record will speak for itself when voters head to the polls in November 2020.
“Kristin has worked very hard on the key issues facing our community and has made tremendous progress tackling homelessness, mental health and juvenile justice issues,” Roe said. “These are the hardest challenges facing San Diego and where she’s invested much of her first two years. There’s much work to do but there’s no one on the board working harder and I think it will be difficult for any challenger to make the case they can be more effective than Kristin.”
Steve Horn is a San Diego, CA-based reporter covering Escondido and San Marcos. He works in a full-time capacity for The Real News Network, an online broadcast news ouetlet, covering climate change. He has worked as a staff investigative reporter for the publications Prison Legal News and Criminal Legal News and as an investigative reporter for the climate news website DeSmog.com.
A native of Wisconsin and graduate of University of Wisconsin, Steve is a competitive distance runner, with a personal best time in the marathon of 2:43:04 and nine marathons under his belt. He also has served on the film screening committee for the San Diego International Film Festival.