It has been said that one of the chief responsibilities of local government is public safety. District 1 City Council candidate and La Jolla democrat Aaron Brennan takes that responsibility very seriously.
A firefighter and current La Jolla Town Council trustee, Brennan said he decided to run following a series of personal experiences rooted in public safety.
It started in 2015.
“My house got broken into while I was on duty at the fire station,” he told La Jolla Light. “My wife called me in the late afternoon … she had called 9-1-1 and police said they were sending someone. So she stayed on the phone with me and 20 minutes went by, then 30 minutes went by and no one came.”
After a few hours, and having determined the robbers were no longer in the house, Brennan’s wife called the police again and told someone to come and investigate the next day.
“That was a really upsetting experience, especially for someone like me, whose whole identity is about helping other people,” he said. “I couldn’t be there for my wife. It was traumatic for her and my kids, and it got me thinking that we can do better than this.”
After a friend nudged Brennan to run for office, the seed was planted. He started with the La Jolla Town Council.
“I knew I needed to get more involved in my community to see what issues people were thinking about and what was important to them,” he said. “The Town Council is an amazing venue for citizens to share what is bothering them and it is an amplifying voice for the citizens of La Jolla.”
Should he be elected to higher office, Brennan, unsurprisingly, said he would focus on public safety.
“Being a first-responder, I know there are improvements we could do at the City that we are not doing,” he said. “One of my bigger projects would be to do away with private 9-1-1 transport. I don’t know why we have a for-profit company providing a public service. There is an inherent conflict of interest — they are beholden to shareholders, which means they want to reduce costs which means fewer ambulances.”
Brennan added that he’s been on calls during which he waited 20 minutes for an ambulance.
“There was an incident down in the South Bay where the fire captain decided to transport a stroke patient in the fire engine because it was going to take too long for the ambulance to get there,” he said. “This is personal to me. I see hiring City people to provide the level of service citizens need. Creating permanent jobs is an obvious solution.”
He would also prioritize environmental efforts and create steps to implement the City’s Climate Action Plan, improving housing affordability and increasing transit routes.
As to why he would be good for the job, Brennan said: “I have been on the receiving end of policy-maker’s decisions … and how that played out. So I bring that perspective to the race.
“I also bring a leadership background (having been in the Navy Reserve since 1988), and with 90 guys who work under me — I understand management.”
Coming from an admittedly “interesting childhood,” Brennan shared residences between Southern California and Colorado after his parents divorced. After his mother and the man who would become his stepfather moved to Arkansas, Brennan lived outside in nature.
“I literally lived in the middle of nowhere, like four miles of a dirt road before a highway, king of nowhere. I lived in a teepee for a summer while they were building a house,” he said. “It was amazing growing up in nature. And I also grew up with my dad near the ocean, so that is important to me.”
Brennan said he came to San Diego after visiting a friend in college and decided to finish his education here.
“I wound up in La Jolla because I married an amazing woman who earns more than a firefighter does. I’m very proud of her. She is a complete rock star,” he said of wife Kim Goodwin.
“I’m happy some pretty volleyball player broke her heart right before I met her.” Together they have two young children.
Of his goals for his City Council term, Brennan concluded: “I want to leave San Diego better than I found it and make the political bickering stop. A good idea is a good idea, not because of who thought of it.
“I hope I can bring that mindset to the Council. I want to get stuff done. I want my wife not to have to wait two hours for a police car to show up.”
Learn more at aaronforsandiego.com
Election season has officially begun. In less than one year, residents of District 1 will have the opportunity to vote in the San Diego City Council primary election (March 3, 2020).
Six candidates have already filed to run, and La Jolla Light will bring you an interview with each one in the coming weeks (and as they file). District 1 includes La Jolla, Carmel Valley, Del Mar Mesa, Pacific Highlands Ranch, Torrey Hills, Torrey Pines and University City.
— Next week: An interview with Carmel Valley resident Will Moore.