Racial Justice, transportation, housing among top priorities for council candidates

by Alexa Oslowski, Photo Editor

District 1 – La Jolla, Carmel Valley, Torrey Pines

Joe Lacava

Joe Lacava is a San Diego State graduate and is a native San Diegan. According to his campaign website, Lacava has served on more than 20 civic boards and commissions fought against SoccerCity’s development of the Mission Valley stadium site and worked as a civil engineer on projects covering infrastructure to housing. He currently lives in the Bird Rock neighborhood of La Jolla.

Lacava plans to address the housing issues in San Diego by starting with assisting the homeless population. This includes introducing rapid rehousing programs to prevent chronic homelessness, creating permanent supportive housing to support those who are chronically homeless, and offering support and assistance for jobs. Lacava also supports the use of state and federal grants for health and human services, enforcing zoning laws when it comes to rentals, and ensuring that every residential unit in San Diego is available to renters and buyers, not saved for short term rentals.

Lacava wants to protect open space and implement the city’s Climate Action Plan. He also wants San Diego to set a clear path to meet the goals established within the action plan while also preparing for the future. Lacava plans to work towards fixing infrastructure, focusing on the damage in older regions of San Diego.

Will Moore

Will Moore is a small business attorney from Macon, Georgia. According to his campaign website, Moore graduated from Georgia Tech becoming the first in his family to graduate college, served a tour in the Peace Corps, and then attended Columbia Law School. He later opened his firm, The Moore Firm – Business Law, to help people start and support their own businesses. Moore has served on multiple boards and was a founding member of Business for Good to support the community. He currently lives in Carmel Valley.

Moore’s plan to resolve the housing crisis starts with building more housing near job centers, reforming the housing code and working to update old community plans in the city. To encourage more affordable housing and development, Moore plans to readjust development fees to be based on square footage and not units. He also wants to streamline building timelines. 

Moore supports the city’s Climate Action Plan but says San Diego needs to do more to reduce its carbon emissions. He also advocates for enhancing transit, encouraging renewable energy and rooftop solar while also bringing those options to a cheaper and more secure energy grid. Improving transit would also include repairing roads and poor infrastructure.

District 3 – Downtown, Uptown, Greater North Park, Normal Heights

Stephen Whitburn

Stephen Whitburn graduated from the University of Wisconsin and has resided in San Diego for over twenty years. According to his website, Whitburn has spent time volunteering at the American Red Cross in San Diego and has advocated for the LGBTQ+ community. He has also volunteered by serving on numerous advisory panels in San Diego and North Park.

To address San Diego’s housing challenges, Whitburn plans to work with the San Diego Housing Commission to preserve and improve affordable housing. He also plans to build more affordable housing near trolley stations and encourage mass transit and offer property tax incentives to builders who include extra affordable housing units in their construction. 

If elected, he wants to fully implement the Climate Action Plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Whitburn also would treeline pedestrian promenades, lower water and energy usage within the city, and add more renewable energy sources and clean energy vehicles. He also plans to encourage more widespread use of the trolley and MTS and building housing near transit centers to reduce traffic congestion and emissions.

Toni Duran

Toni Duran was born in East Los Angeles and has served as a staff member for District 3 in the State Assembly and Senate since 2013. According to her website, Duran has advocated for the support of women, veterans, the LGBTQ+ community and victims of human trafficking.

Duran’s housing plan calls for an increase in the number of permanent supportive housing units that include supportive services for homeless San Diegans and eventually help them into permanent housing. Her plans for addressing climate change include regular updates on the progress of implementing the Climate Action Plan, increasing telecommuting options for employees, and ensuring more city buildings have solar panels and renewable energy options.

Duran wants to improve San Diego’s infrastructure by resurfacing streets properly and repairing the sidewalks. She also wants to end backlogging, complete construction in a timely manner and prioritize funding strategic mobility plans for high-density neighborhoods in the city.

District 5 – Scripps Miramar Ranch, Rancho Bernardo, Carmel Mountain Ranch

Marni Von Wilpert

Marni Von Wilpert is a San Diego native and a Deputy District Attorney in San Diego. She previously worked as an attorney at the National Labor Relations Board in Washington, DC. According to her website, Von Wilpert served in the Peace Corps before returning to San Diego, where she serves on numerous boards including San Diego Youth Services. She currently lives in Scripps Ranch and is running as a Democrat. 

Von Wilpert plans to address housing issues by streamlining housing permits and while maintaining neighborhood character. She wants to leverage state and federal funds to build housing for all income levels, expand first-time homebuyer programs and build housing away from at-risk fire zones.

Von Wilpert wants San Diego to fully implement the Climate Action Plan and achieve 100% renewable energy by 2035. She also wants to preserve open space and San Diego’s rich diversity of plants and animals and create more jobs in clean green industries. Von Wilpert also plans to add more HOV and dedicated bus lanes to encourage carpooling and reduce traffic. Additionally, she wants to prioritize road repairs and increase family-friendly green spaces such as parks.

Joe Leventhal

Joe Leventhal is a graduate of UC San Diego and is a lawyer and business owner. He has also served as a commissioner on San Diego’s Ethics Commission. According to his website, Leventhal previously worked as a legislative aide on Capitol Hill and was an attorney in the White House and served as deputy assistant to the vice president. He has served on multiple boards in San Diego including the Rancho Bernardo Rotary. He is running as a Republican. 

Leventhal plans to improve transit conditions by creating long term solutions for road maintenance and repair. He also would support the homeless San Diegans by focusing on mental health resources and providing rehabilitation services for those who struggle with addiction. Levanthal has made commitments to support police, firefighters, and other first responders by giving them “tools they need to keep dangerous criminals off our streets and our homes protected.”

Joe Leventhal’s campaign website included no outlines on affordable housing or climate change.

District 7 – Allied Gardens, Del Cerro, Grantville, Linda Vista, Mission Valley, San Carlos, Serra Mesa and Tierrasanta.

Raul Campillo

Raul Campillo is a San Diego native and currently works in the San Diego City Attorney’s Office. According to his website, he taught fifth grade in a low-income Las Vegas neighborhood, worked for the international law firm O’Melveny & Myers in Los Angeles and worked for Hillary for America’s National Headquarters in 2016. He currently lives in Mission Valley and is running as a Democrat. 

Campillo plans to address homelessness in San Diego by combating mental health and drug addictions within the homeless community by no longer treating it as a criminal problem but as a health problem. In an Op-Ed published by the San Diego Union-Tribune, Campillo called for money in SDPD’s budget to be redirected to homelessness services and “rigorous” training and oversight needed to stop the misuse of force. 

He also wants to improve San Diego’s transit by increasing electrical wires being underground instead of aboveground and lower repair times for construction and maintenance in the city.

Campillo expressed support for oversight of the SDSU Mission Valley project in order to ensure SDSU fulfills its promises and adequately mitigates traffic caused by the development. 

Campillo’s campaign website has no mention of how he would address climate change if elected to office.

Noli Zosa

Noli Zosa is a University of San Diego graduate and co-founder of the restaurant chain Dirty Birds. According to his website, Zosa has served on multiple committees in his district and has worked in the public and private sectors. Zosa is a Republican. 

To address San Diego’s housing shortage, Zosa wants to streamline the building permit process, review fees collected by the city as well as give priority to low-income families who are at risk of being displaced due to new development. He also plans to repair city infrastructure and plan for future changes to transportation, such as self-driving cars. Zosa has advocated for the creation of a program that would train police officers in college, similar to the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) program. 

Zosa’s campaign website had no outline of how he would address climate change if elected to City Council.

District 9 – College Area, City Heights, Southeastern San Diego

Sean Elo-Rivera 

Sean Elo-Rivera is currently serving as a San Diego Community College Board of Trustees. According to his website, Elo-Rivera attended law school at California Western School of Law in San Diego after earning his bachelor’s from Chapman University. He’s received awards for his work on City Heights Community Law Project to provide free legal clinics. He’s served as a board member on several nonprofit organizations.

Elo-Rivera’s plans for addressing the housing crisis include enforcing and protecting tenants’ rights and increasing the supply and availability of affordable housing, especially for multigenerational families. He also plans to provide more supportive housing and supports using federal funding to acquire affordable housing that already exists.

In order to address climate change, Elo-Rivera plans to begin implementing the San Diego Green New Deal and add more parks and green space and infrastructure. He advocates for improving public transportation, making the streets safer for community members of all ages, and overall investing in infrastructure and public transportation.

Editor’s Note: District 9 candidate Kelvin Barrios was not included above because he suspended his campaign and will not be seeking the District 9 City Council seat, although his name will appear on the ballot. 

Brenden Tuccinardi contributed reporting. 

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