Democrats Bry and Gloria in tight mayoral contest

The+Daily+Aztec+moderated+a+debate+between+SDSU+College+Democrats+and+TPUSA+at+SDSU+on+Oct.+28.+

Brenden Tuccinardi

The Daily Aztec moderated a debate between SDSU College Democrats and TPUSA at SDSU on Oct. 28.

by Jason Freund, Staff Writer

Come Nov. 3, the citizens of San Diego will elect a new mayor and the race could not be tighter and for the first time since 1971, San Diegans will be choosing between two Democrats. 

Mayor Kevin Faulconer (a Republican) has served in the position since 2014. Faulconer is termed out and is thus unable to run for re-election. 

Looking to take Faulconer’s place are San Diego City Council President Pro Tempore Barbara Bry and California Assemblymember Todd Gloria.

Both Democrats, Bry and Gloria are aligned on several issues, however in recent weeks the two candidates have each carved out positions that set themselves apart from one another. 

Homelessness

The issue of homelessness has troubled San Diego for the past decade. With the virus spreading and businesses closing, some city officials fear the homeless rates will spike as people are unable to pay mortgages and rent.

Gloria has made homelessness a top priority in his campaign and advocates for a housing-first approach, evidenced by his backing of Measure A. If passed Measure A would raise property taxes within the city to allow $900 million in bonds to go to housing for low income and homeless families.

Opponents of the measure are quick to point out the tax increase and question whether San Diego property owners can afford another tax increase during a pandemic, though Gloria has said San Diegans will come together and do their part to solve the crisis. 

“It is shocking to me that as people’s plates are full, as they’re worried about the fiscal well-being of themselves and their families, as they’re worried about their personal finances and the finances of their family, they observe every day our cities homelessness crisis and they want something done about it,” Gloria said in an interview with The Daily Aztec. 

Bry’s plan to address homelessness in San Diego is a more individualized approach that focuses on support services for mental health and drug issues. She also has advocated against short-term vacation rentals, to which she attributes the decline in San Diego’s affordable housing stock, according to her campaign website.

By streamlining the process of connecting to resource centers, Bry believes that homeless individuals will get the help they need much quicker.

Navigating COVID-19 Economic Fallout

Major losses to the hotel and tourism industry alongside the loss of thousands of jobs have brought the San Diego economy to its knees.

The outlook for San Diego’s tourism industry is grim. Experts told 10 News they anticipate an estimated loss of $4 billion and 50,000 jobs due to the pandemic. 

Bry’s “Roadmap to Recovery” prioritizes building an adaptive and diverse workforce and shrinking government bureaucracy while working quickly and safely to bring tourists and conventions back to San Diego. 

“This will help our economy. It will get people back to work in the hotel industry,” Bry told The Daily Aztec. 

Bry’s plan also calls for universal internet access and the development of a municipal internet strategy, according to her campaign website. 

Gloria’s “Back to Work SD” plan also advocates for a diversified workforce, and a measured reopening of convention and hotel spaces. 

The blueprint, which Gloria calls a “collective wisdom on what we can do as a community for a locally driven economic stimulus effort,” acknowledges that the economy can’t reopen until schools open and there is a shift in money from outside city limits to local businesses in San Diego.

Both candidates agreed on renewed investment in infrastructure such as buses, roads and light rail. Both Bry and Gloria said they view this, as well as the development of SDSU Mission Valley, as key to creating new jobs while creating revenue for the city. Gloria’s plan takes this a step further by outlining plans for the redevelopment of the Sports Arena and Naval Information Warfare Systems Command (NAVWAR) site. 

Rising coronavirus cases

At over 53,000 cases, the county has the fifth-highest amount of cases in the state. Those numbers continue to rise despite an increase in testing, once again putting the county at risk of returning to a more restrictive tier in California’s reopening plan. 

Coinciding with the rise of cases is the well-documented coronavirus issues at SDSU that peaked in September.

Some city officials and citizens have protested this, calling for SDSU’s positive cases to be left out of the county’s total case count.

Both Gloria and Bry agree that SDSU is not entirely to blame for the spike in positive COVID-19 cases off campus and said cases associated with SDSU should factor into San Diego County’s overall positivity rate.

“Students at San Diego State work in our community and live in our community,” Gloria said. “To try and delude ourselves into thinking a case on campus wouldn’t impact the community is just crazy.”

Both candidates also agreed on how to slow the city’s rapidly increasing case numbers; wear a mask, practice social distancing, and listen to the data. 

“I think wearing a mask is just as important as continuing to do social distancing, Bry said. “As mayor, I am going to model that behavior.”

For more information on their policies, visit Bry and Gloria’s websites.

Brenden Tuccinardi contributed reporting. 

 

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