Meet the Candidates: Will Moore hopes to help San Diego ‘grow up’ in City Council run


“It’s time for the City of San Diego to grow up a little bit,” opined Carmel Valley lawyer, Democrat and District 1 City Council candidate Will Moore. “We need to plan out the growth of this City over the next couple of decades and treat the City like the home of 2 million, which it is, rather than one of 200,000, which some politicians do now.”

Prioritizing climate change, housing and high-paying job creation, San Diego “needs a different type of leadership,” Moore told La Jolla Light. “Right now, you get politicians who talk about San Diego like it’s Mayberry R.F.D. It’s not. It’s a major American city. We are not a major American city because of a team or a company, we are a major American city because a lot of people live here and there’s a lot of talent here. The federal government is not going to be an entity we can necessarily count on. Eighty percent of people live in cities worldwide and cities need to lead in preserving themselves.”

For example, with climate change, he said: “We are a front-line City, so we’re going to have to make infrastructure decisions a long way in advance, knowing that the sea level is going to be higher in 30 years. That’s going to create problems from Del Mar to Mission Beach. Those decisions need to be made with an eye toward climate.” He added San Diego has the opportunity to put solar panels on roofs, implement Community Choice Energy and other measures.

As far as sky-high rents go, Moore said: “It is always going to be a problem to some extent because it’s San Diego and it’s great. But right now, rents are out the range of reasonable. We just have not built new places for people to live in many years. People don’t want to change their neighborhoods; they’re worried the City will build skyscrapers and we don’t need to do that. We’re going to grow, but we’re not going to have to build into the canyons or into the open spaces.”

Looking at the communities within District 1, he said the City would benefit from being more like La Jolla: “We have great examples of urban walkable neighborhoods — La Jolla being the best one. La Jolla is what we’are trying to do (elsewhere). When people talk about walkable urban villages, this is it.”

A small business lawyer of 17 years, Moore said his approach to mitigation is to bring all parties to the table. The first question he often asks clients, he said, is “What are you trying to accomplish?” to determine the root of the problem and find a solution that meets the needs of the most number of people involved. “A lot of that is listening,” he added. “People don’t think of lawyers as big listeners, but good ones mostly are.”

He joked: “When people ask me whether someone from Carmel Valley could represent La Jolla on the City Council, I tell them La Jollans hire lawyers from Carmel Valley all the time!”

Moore is president of the Carmel Valley Democratic Club, and a member of the Rotary Club of La Jolla Golden Triangle, Business For Good, San Diego Leadership Alliance, The Urban League Young Professionals, and the American Constitution Society.

He said he grew up in the small, poor, rural town of Macon, Georgia, and attended a high school with a dropout rate of more than 50 percent. He earned a scholarship to Georgia Tech and took advantage of it. After graduation, he joined the Peace Corps and worked with small enterprises. He attended Columbia Law School after that, and moved to San Diego more than a decade ago to be closer to family when his son Jake (now 14) was little.

In the free time the father of a high school freshman has, Moore said he likes to run. “I hurt myself last year, so you wouldn’t necessarily know that right now, but I’m usually a runner — and now I’m running for office!”

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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 Lijun “Lily” Zhou.