REGION — It is the final push for the four District 5 candidates running for the open seat on the San Diego County Board of Supervisors.
Republicans Jim Desmond, mayor of San Marcos; Jerry Kern, Oceanside city councilman; and Democrats Jacqueline Arsivaud, chairwoman of the Elfin Forest Harmony Grove Town Council; and legislative analyst Michelle Gomez of Oceanside are aiming to be in the top two after the dust is settled from Tuesday’s primary.
If no candidate receives 50 percent plus one of the vote, the top two will run off in the November general election. The primary is Tuesday and the district consists of about 620,000 residents, which spans from Camp Pendleton south to Carlsbad, and east through Vista, San Marcos, Valley Center and Borrego Springs.
In this final installment, the candidates reveal their biggest issue and what they would bring to the board.
Each candidate acknowledges there are many issues facing the county such as infrastructure, housing, development and homelessness. But each has their own unique viewpoint of how to approach those issues.
Kern is focused on public safety, growing North County’s economy and securing funding for transportation. Kern did not support the TransNet 2 sales tax pushed by the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) as it “neglected North County.”
According to his website, Kern said new approaches must be developed to give taxpayers what they deserve and collaboration among leaders is crucial to alleviate traffic concerns.
For Arsivaud, housing is a priority, especially ridding or reducing the amount of money in politics surrounding it. She cited the vast amounts of money the building industry has pumped into local elections, noting Supervisor Kristen Gaspar has received $600,000 from such sources. A shortage of middle-income housing is a priority and she said re-establishing integrity to build trust in the public is one of her main points, if elected.
Desmond, meanwhile, is adamant about infrastructure. Without it, he said, infill housing projects, business development and homelessness will struggle to find adequate solutions.
Additionally, he said building the county’s reserve fund is also a priority. Noting the county has $2.6 billion in reserves, Desmond said much of that is earmarked, and if a catastrophic economic situation occurs, the $700 million currently tucked for such occasions, would only hold the county over for 54 days.
Finally, Gomez said she is championing for families and working to ensure families have well-paying jobs and affordable housing. Also, she said, another priority is helping military and their families, citing her husband’s service in the Marine Corps as an inspiration for creating strong pathways from the military to civilian life.
Fresh views on the board
With Bill Horn termed out, one of the four will be the newest face of District 5.
Arsivaud said she will bring a fresh perspective to the board and a different vision. She believes the board must be more forward thinking and her residence in the unincorporated part of the county will be a voice for those not represented by officials from urban areas.
“I am a strong voice for the unincorporated part of the county,” Arsivaud said.
Desmond said he differs from Horn through a different style of governance. He said since the introduction of term limits, he must put himself in the place of the taxpayer and has an open door policy. He cited his experience as mayor working with large budgets, his chairmanship on SANDAG’s transportation committee and work to ensure the county continues to build its reserve fund.
“I have good working relationships,” he said.
Gomez said she will be a champion for working families, union organizations and will focus on labor, which she said is a different approach for the board. She said ensuring county employees are a priority is critical to the success of the county, especially when tackling the many difficult issues facing the region.
Kern, meanwhile, said his experience in Oceanside gives him the full spectrum of what is expected from a supervisor. Other than social services, which the county runs, Oceanside has a harbor, airport, police and fire and every other department needed to operate a municipality, including the negotiations with associated unions. It is the largest city in the district, giving him an advantage over his opponents.