Meet the Candidates: Louis Rodolico looks to change City Hall in 2020 Council run

Louis Rodolico, District 1 City Council candidate

When it comes to University City resident and Democrat Louis Rodolico’s District 1 City Council candidacy, there seems to be a sweeping theme: The City can change.

Rodolico is running for a City Council seat again in 2020, following an unsuccessful run in 2016, and the retired architect and Philadelphia native looks to explore the ways City policy can change to improve the quality of life for its citizens. His political priorities include: looking at housing, government transparency, traffic relief and public transit, finding a compromise solution to short-term vacation rental regulations.

“Where are we going with housing, specifically affordable housing?” he posed, as one example of what he would look to change. “There are sites in San Diego that were never developed, and the people living near those sites don’t want them developed. There are a lot of groups fighting development. So we have a lot of potential here.”

As a possible change, he said: “(To expand housing opportunities) you have to go up, which has its own set of problems in the areas with view corridors. View corridors are big, even if you are not in the coastal zone. As an architect, I understand the housing environment, the process, the difficulty … and if I were to be elected, I would focus on increasing the density. We have to bring the price point down and we have to stop pushing development into lands to the east.”

Rodolico said he would also focus on transparency. Using the City’s Pure Water Project as an example, he said: “That project has spent most of its life in the dark. … We’ve known for years we will have to move the raw sewage 11 miles under the City. But all those decisions were all done in the dark, no one knew what was going on. There has to be more full disclosure. I’d like to see more transparency.”

When he ran for public office in 2016, Rodolico made a name for himself as an advocate for the construction of a Regents Road bridge (the City decided not to build the bridge in February 2018). And while he is still in favor of reducing traffic issues, the new focus is on improving the City’s mass transit systems.

“We can talk about greening the planet all we want, but if we aren’t going to build roads and highways and force people to drive circuitous routes and stay in traffic … we are forcing people to drive further, putting more carbon in the air and lowering the quality of life and raising the cost of living,” he said. “One of the ways around that is a more complete transit system. We need at least three more trolley lines networked in San Diego to reach a tipping point, where mass transit starts to make sense.”

But for Rodolico, the issue that perhaps best exemplifies how the City can change was its approach to short-term vacation regulations.

“Most people want vacation rentals, and I would be a hypocrite if I felt any other way because I use them when I travel. It’s the sharing economy and it’s fine. But other cities manage it so much better than we do, we just have to manage it better,” he said.

The former and current City Councils have been belaboring over short-term vacation rental regulations that could serve as a compromise for years, including holding multi-hour meetings for public testimony and proposed amendments. After current City Council members drafted and garnered approval for regulations last year, and passed an ordinance, short-term vacation rental proponents gathered enough signatures to overturn the ordinance.

“That is not how you do things,” Rodolico said. “We need to just set up a policy: get an inventory of how many there are in San Diego, start collecting fees and have enforcement be run through the police department — or officers should have to go through training like the police department. I agree with the three-strikes-you’re-out policy; first you get a warning, then a fee, then you lose your license. But you have to have a license to lose.”

In his free time, Rodolico, who goes by “Lou,” can be seen walking his dog in Rose Canyon and La Jolla Shores, and around the neighborhoods of District 1. He is also the at-home cook of the family — which includes two high-school aged children — and is perfecting his pad thai and lasagna recipes.

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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). Five 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 candidate Aaron Brennan of La Jolla.

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