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Election 2020: Q&A with City Council District 1 candidates Joe LaCava and Will Moore

San Diego City Council District 1 candidates Joe LaCava (left) and Will Moore.
San Diego City Council District 1 candidates Joe LaCava (left) and Will Moore.
(Courtesy photos)

Candidates Joe LaCava and Will Moore are in the homestretch in the race to fill the District 1 seat on the San Diego City Council being vacated by Barbara Bry, who is running for mayor.

The election is Nov. 3. In the March primary, when there were eight candidates, LaCava earned 24.1 percent of the votes and Moore got 16.4 percent. Both LaCava and Moore are Democrats, though City Council seats are officially nonpartisan.

District 1 includes La Jolla, Carmel Valley, Del Mar Mesa, Pacific Highlands Ranch, Torrey Hills, Torrey Pines and University City. Along with its beaches and other natural areas, the district is known as the home of UC San Diego and many scientific research and biotech organizations.

If you’re planning to cast a ballot by mail or in person for the Nov. 3 general election, here are some things to know: ▶ All active registered voters in California will be mailed a vote-by-mail ballot beginning Monday, Oct. 5. ▶ Completed ballots can be submitted by mail or at drop-off locations staffed by election workers.

The La Jolla Light asked the candidates a series of questions to get a better idea of who they are, why they’re running and what issues they feel are most pressing. Below are their responses; some have been edited for formatting, brevity or clarity. The candidates are listed in alphabetical order.

Joe LaCava

Age: 66

Professional occupation: Civil engineer

Education: Bachelor’s degree in engineering, San Diego State University

Time lived in San Diego: Native

Neighborhood in which you live, and how long you’ve lived there: Bird Rock, 35 years

Current and past public service, activism and volunteerism:

Served on nearly 30 civic boards, planning groups and commissions, including board member for Enhance La Jolla, former vice chairman of the Citizens Advisory Board on Police/Community Relations, past chairman of San Diego’s Community Planners Committee, past chairman of the La Jolla Community Planning Association, past president of the Bird Rock Community Council and past vice chairman of the La Jolla Traffic & Transportation Board.

Immediate family members: Lorene LaCava, a kindergarten teacher at Bird Rock Elementary School; Valerie LaCava, who attended La Jolla public schools and lives in Clairemont; and Melanie LaCava, who attended La Jolla public schools and is pursuing a Ph.D. in ecology at the University of Wyoming.

What are the three issues you believe are the most important facing District 1 and how do you intend to address each one if elected?

Public safety and health: “Tackling the COVID-19 crisis to reduce infection rates, reduce restrictions and reactivate small businesses. Ensure that police, fire and lifeguards are staffed to reduce emergency response times. Diversify our first responders to ensure we dispatch those with the right skill sets.”

• Neighborhood services: “Fighting for a cost-efficient city budget to maximize dollars for street and sidewalk repair, libraries and park maintenance. Staffing a responsive council office that addresses resident and business concerns promptly and effectively.”

• Protecting the environment: “District 1’s quality of life is defined by its open spaces, natural habitats, canyons, coastal bluffs, beaches and parks. I will work to protect them from encroachment and ensure they are sustainably maintained.”

What do you believe is the primary issue facing La Jolla specifically, and how do you intend to address it if elected?

“Based on my nearly 20 years serving La Jolla, the issues I hear consistently are infrastructure, traffic and whole-home short-term rentals. If elected, I will be the first civil engineer to serve on the City Council. I look forward to working with the community to identify and fix our streets and sidewalks, ease congestion and calm traffic. Regarding STVRs, we must enforce the current law. Other California cities have successfully kept STVRs out of their residential neighborhoods. So, too, must San Diego.”

Will Moore

Age: 47

Professional occupation: Small-business attorney

Education: Juris doctor degree from Columbia Law School; bachelor of science degree from Georgia Tech

Time lived in San Diego: 15 years

Neighborhood in which you live, and how long you’ve lived there: Carmel Valley; lived in the district for 15 years

Current and past public service, activism and volunteerism:

Officer of the Rotary Club of La Jolla Golden Triangle; founding member of Business for Good; founding board member of San Diego Leadership Alliance; founding board member of American Constitution Society San Diego; board member of Urban League Young Professionals; chairman of San Diego Consolidated Plan Advisory Board; extensive pro bono legal work for nonprofits and business organizations.

Immediate family members: 16-year-old son

What are the three issues you believe are the most important facing District 1 and how do you intend to address each one if elected?

• Ethics reform: “Special interests have too much influence over the city, and some lobbyists have even found loopholes to let them hide what they’re doing. A paid lobbyist who is testifying at your local neighborhood planning group doesn’t even have to tell you they’re being paid! I have proposed tough new ethics requirements that would require more lobbyists to disclose who is paying them to influence public decisions.”

• Jobs and economy: “As a small-business lawyer for the past 18 years, I’ve seen how hard it is for small businesses to compete while they navigate complex regulations. This has hurt our local economy, and the result is empty storefronts and depressed wages for everybody. I will enhance the city’s support for small businesses to aid them in navigating complex regulations while eliminating overly burdensome red tape.”

• Housing and homelessness: “Our city is unaffordable for our young professionals and working people. If other neighborhoods throughout San Diego followed the blueprint of our beloved La Jolla communities like La Jolla Village and Windansea, we could have walkable neighborhoods that we could all cherish while having enough housing for our kids. We also need to get homeless people off the street and housed in effective housing solutions that improve the whole community.”

What do you believe is the primary issue facing La Jolla specifically, and how do you intend to address it if elected?

“La Jolla faces major infrastructure problems. First, multiple streets are in terrible repair — and even when they do get repaired it takes months or years longer than they should. I would reform city contracting and practices to both prioritize infrastructure spending and ensure that the jobs get done properly and quickly so they don’t have to be done again and again. Second, utility undergrounding should have been completed decades ago and should be a higher priority. We’ve had enough endless committees, and it’s time for leadership. I will work aggressively with our utility providers and city attorney to cut out the barriers and silly disagreements and ensure that these projects get done.”