Election 2012: City Council District 1

Compiled by Pat Sherman
(Main image by Melissa Macis)

To provide readers with some 11th-hour inspiration prior to the June 5 Presidential Primary Election (at least those who didn’t vote absentee), the La Jolla Light posed five questions to the candidates running for the District 1 City Council seat. We hope the following responses offer an informative, final glimpse at the platforms and personalities of those running to represent La Jolla. To view our coverage of the a debate between the candidates (sponsored by the La Jolla Community Council), click here.

The 5 Key Questions

1) What three specific La Jolla issues do you believe to be the most pressing, and how would you address each?

2) Do you believe it is in the best interest of La Jolla to secede from the city of San Diego? Why or why not?

3) Name a dream or aspiration you’ve had to set aside for your career?

4) Name the historical figure you most identify with and what inspires you about that person.

Sherri Lightner

5) What do you despise most?

Sherri Lightner, Democrat, incumbent
1) A. Improving our infrastructure: This includes resurfacing streets, undergrounding utilities, replacing sewer and water mains, improving sidewalks and so on. While we’ve made great strides in infrastructure improvements, there’s still plenty more to do.
When I took office, the city was hundreds of millions of dollars in deficit and on the brink of default. Working together, we were able to get our financial house in order so that we could improve our credit rating in order to borrow money to pay for these improvements.
The City Council recently approved a new $75 million infrastructure bond that will resurface roads, repair our storm water system and upgrade our fire stations, lifeguard stations, libraries and other facilities.
B. Improving the economic health of the area: Working with local business owners, I helped form the La Jolla Village Merchants Association to represent the 1,250 businesses in the Village and am currently working with the community to save the historic Wall Street post office because it is vital to our quality of life and our local economy. I pushed for the newly formed Economic Development and Strategies Committee so that city can better retain, grow and attract businesses and cut red tape for taxpayers.
C. Improving public safety and neighborhood services: This includes staffing for firefighters, lifeguards and police; maintaining and increasing hours at our library and rec center; making sure our La Jolla lifeguard towers get built and that we fund a new fire alert system.
2) I haven’t seen the latest economic analysis to determine whether an independent La Jolla would be logistically or economically viable. I would never support anything that would potentially harm the community of La Jolla or the City of San Diego.
3) I was never able to get my Ph.D. in engineering. Although I had completed all the coursework for it, I couldn’t afford to stop working in order to complete my dissertation. I needed the income to support my family. Professionally, it turned out to be a decision I do not regret.
4) My favorite President was John Adams because of the role he played in our history, the type of person he was and how he valued his wife. He respected her views, and they had a strong, loving relationship.
5) Intellectual dishonesty, especially when it is calculated. I always treat voters and constituents with respect — and that means being honest with them. We are now in the campaign season, where so many candidates make wildly inaccurate claims about each other. It is not respectful to the voters and to our democracy. I don’t like people who make calculated decisions to score political points rather than doing what is in the best interests of San Diegans.
To read our earlier interview with Lightner, click here.

Ray Ellis

Ray Ellis, Republican, businessman
1) I’ve talked to thousands of La Jolla residents and one of the concerns that constantly comes up is quality of life — namely the breakdown of core city services. La Jolla is one of the most pristine communities in the world, but La Jolla residents are justifiably frustrated.
There is also continued concern from the businesses in La Jolla about the impact of policies and processes by the City of San Diego. La Jolla is home to both large and small businesses that do not view the city as a partner, but more as an obstacle to their success. That is not in the best interests of any of us. Unfortunately, I think many La Jollans think they are not being served properly by the current councilmember. I agree.
My approach to solutions would be two-fold. First, we must more aggressively address the underlying financial issues facing the city so we can get our taxpayer dollars back into the community to fix our roads, repair infrastructure, and restore services. Pension reform, coupled with a much stronger commitment to managed competition, are ways to achieve a healthier outcome for taxpayers.
Second, I will focus on public-private partnerships with the business community, community groups and the philanthropic sector to address issues.
2) I completely understand why La Jollans are frustrated with the city — we all are. We need to address the fiscal issues facing our city and restore the services that our citizens want and deserve. With engaged, pro-active leadership and working together, we can address these and other issues. We need to create a city that people are proud of, not a city people are desperately trying to leave.
3) Since leaving a successful business career, I have spent most of my time working as a volunteer in the community, philanthropic or civic areas. I have worked on key issues facing our city and region like education, workforce development, chronic homelessness, foster youth, pension issues, Balboa Park and many others.
4) My undergraduate degree is in history and I continue to be very interested in learning about the past with a focus on leadership styles. Rather than an individual, I see the “Founders” as a very powerful model. We are so blessed to have had such a diverse group who were willing to come together, collaborate and ultimately compromise to get critical things accomplished.
5) Small-mindedness. Complex issues and problems are not easily addressed and require openness and a willingness to work with others. Let’s focus on the outcome we are trying to achieve and find common ground to make it happen.
To read our earlier interview with Ellis, click here.

Dennis Ridz

Dennis Ridz, Republican, Torrey Pines Planning Board chair
1) A. Need for another fire station: Capital funding may require a bond issue. Hiring firefighters may rest on pension reform/city budget.
B. Development: Slow down the McMansions being built by the cannibalization of cottages on sub-standard size lots. Development Services is not listening to the La Jolla planning board. There is a need for amendments to the coastal community plan and more direct discussion with the Coastal Commission.
C. Other issues: There are several others, saving the post office, future expansion of the La Jolla Super Loop (MTS) and crime/drunken behavior around the UCSD campus.
2) I understand the frustration of leaders within La Jolla, but cannot support La Jolla becoming its own city. There are redistricting issues, and the City of San Diego would need to be compensated for the infrastructure provided to support La Jolla.
3) I wanted to be a marine biologist studying how the oceans could help feed our world. There were very few jobs (in this field) at that point in my career, mostly working for oil companies.
4) Abe Lincoln, a leader who made life and death decisions that saved our nation and understood all men should be free.
5) Political leaders, who blindly follow their political party’s dogma without understanding that our nation was founded on “We The People,” not we the developers, we the pension union boards.

Bryan Pease

Bryan Pease, Democrat, public interest attorney
1) A. Roads and infrastructure: This is a citywide problem, and La Jolla is no different. The city needs to spend money up front to fix our streets and potholes, which saves money longterm by preventing property damage and personal injury.
B. Libraries and Rec Center hours: The hours when these facilities are open the most should be structured around when it is most convenient for taxpayers rather than for employees, ie evenings and weekends.
C. Implementing the City Council’s May 2010 vote to manage Children’s Pool Beach in a manner that protects public safety and the seals. Sherri Lightner derailed this plan behind the scenes, and I had to file successful lawsuits to get the process back on track.
2) It may be in the best interest of La Jolla, but not for San Diego as a whole. As councilmember, I will be making decisions that affect the whole city, not just District 1.
3) I’m living the dream now. I’m a solo practice lawyer, so I can pick the cases I want, and I can stand up for causes I believe in.
4) James Stephen, the abolitionist lawyer who figured out that the way to decimate the British slave trade was to ban ships flying neutral flags from delivering cargoes to French colonies. Passed as a war measure by a pro-slavery Parliament, the measure had the effect of destroying two-thirds of the British slave trade and cutting off its economic clout.
5) I most detest unfairness, whether it’s Wall Street bankers being bailed out with billions of tax dollars while the average citizen gets no relief, or teachers being laid off while there is money for wars of choice, or the managers of our city’s pension system having received huge pensions, while the average worker receives very little, has no social security, and will soon be asked to bet their pensions on the stock market.
To read our earlier interview with Pease, click here.

Related posts:

  1. District 1 City Council candidates gather for their first debate
  2. Election 2012: Local attorney, seal advocate hopes Lightner won’t strike twice at City Hall
  3. Incumbent La Jolla city council rep challenged for seat
  4. Postal Work
  5. Election 2012: Who is Lori Saldaña?

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Posted by Pat Sherman on May 30, 2012. Filed under La Jolla, News, Region. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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