After winning one of the county’s tightest November races, former Encinitas Mayor Kristin Gaspar was sworn in Monday as county supervisor.
Gaspar’s District 3 spans along the coast from Torrey Pines State Beach to Encinitas and to the east from Mira Mesa to Escondido. The election remained too close to call for more than two weeks. Initially, incumbent Dave Roberts had the lead, but as mail-in ballots were counted, Gaspar gained ground and ultimately won.
Gaspar campaigned on fiscal responsibility, addressing homelessness and improving public safety, roads and infrastructure. She was against the San Diego Association of Government’s proposed transportation and infrastructure tax measure that failed in November. After June’s primary, she said she cast her ballot for President-elect Donald Trump, but later backed away, saying she no longer supported him.
Last week, Gaspar sat down with me to talk about the election, her transition into the job and how she hopes to accomplish what she promised during her campaign in the next four years.
Your race was one of the closest in the county and it took weeks to determine the outcome. Can you describe what it was like waiting for the mail-in and provisional ballots to be counted each day?
For me it was a surreal experience, because on election night, we had anticipated that it would be close and perhaps that I would even be trailing a little behind, but we didn’t anticipate being 3 percent behind. So at that point in time, it was important for me to accept the concept that I may have lost the race, and the next 24 hours were really coming to terms with the fact that I was not successful at something that I had worked for the last year.
And so when the ballots started coming in every evening, it was almost as if I was watching someone else’s race. I think the most exciting time was around Thanksgiving time, where it was getting closer and closer and closer and I was coaching my cheerleading squad at regional competition when I actually took the lead for the first time by 15 votes.
We Stand Up For You. Will You Stand Up For Us?
Planning in San Diego should be easy! After all, we spent $18 Million and thousands of citizen and staff hours to create a long range General Plan for development and conservation. The problem is developers (and elected and appointed decision makers) who think that their own political ideology and political campaign contributions entitle them them to trash the public plan. San Diego County has a General Plan. If Ms. Gaspar can persuade two other Board members, the Planning Commission and the County Planning "professionals" that their job is NOT to tee-up projects in anticipation of what a certain supervisor wants approved or denied -- spending their time concocting Orwellian arguments that are beyond belief, and ignoring, undermining and sabotaging the local planning volunteers (these ARE elected voices, by the way).
The planning job is PLANNING: reading the GP, reviewing projects against it, and supporting local volunteer planning groups who are trying desperately to build communities worth building. Planners are public employees who should stick to planning. The SD County Planning Department has become a politicized and dysfunctional operation -- EXCEPT for their excellent web page and PR (ask a few of the planners who have been leaving in droves), definitely a swamp in search of a drain.
If a developer buys ag land out in the middle of nowhere, with no connection to other development or transit, in an area that is zoned for low density in the county's updated general plan, he should not ever be able to just bribe county supervisors with campaign contributions in order to get their land upzoned for higher density development, period. The planning and environmental community will be watching closely to see how Supervisor Gaspar votes on such project proposals, to see if she will enforce the county's general plan, or if her vote is for sale.
I was unfair in my earlier post. San Diego has a plan, its called the 10 Year Plan To End Chronic Homelessness!! Oh. . .Um, it seems that the homeless population increased during the 10 Year Plan To End Chronic Homelessness. What to do?. . . I know! Another study to find out what went wrong!! Top experts! Highly qualified people! Acknowledged leaders in the field!! Mumble. . .mumble...Dither...dither...
The City of San Diego will tell you they are on top of the homeless issue! They have commissioned a study by the top experts! Highly qualified people! Acknowledged leaders in the field! Mumble. . dither. . . dither. . . .
In the meantime more people wind up homeless county wide and another 100+ people will die on the streets.