Politifest 2020: Pick Your Future

Politifest 2020: Pick Your Future

Politifest 2020: Pick Your Future
Politifest 2020: Pick Your Future Virtual Summit Sept. 29 – Oct. 3

Watch the sessions here:

Browse the playlist on YouTube or Facebook.

What is Politifest?

Politifest is an annual public affairs summit produced by Voice of San Diego. Launched in 2011Politifest focuses on issues affecting San Diego communities. During election years, the event focuses on candidates and ballot measures. In non-election years, it focuses on the most important topics that drive public policy and community conversation. 

Politifest features a robust schedule of debates, panels and one-on-one interviews with experts, and provides a platform for residents to raise their voices, ask tough questions and delve into important issues. It’s a crash course in politics and policy. Here, you can learn how local government works. 

Pick Your Future

This year’s summit — which will take place virtually during the week of Sept. 29 through Oct. 3 — will examine races, ballot measures and major public issues through a future-facing lens: How will this year’s election affect our future? What are the implications for work, education, our communities?

Schedule of Events

Tuesday, Sept. 29 5:00 – 5:25 p.m.

Welcome to Politifest 2020: Pick Your Future

Presented by Scott Lewis, VOSD CEO & Editor in Chief

Spanish translation available

San Diego residents are dealing with multiple crises. There’s a public health crisis, an ongoing economic catastrophe and our institutions are struggling to maintain trust. It is a difficult time for an election and yet it is the most important time for one. We must pick our future.

Tuesday, Sept. 29 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. 

California Ballot Measure Crash Course

Moderated by Sara Libby, VOSD Managing Editor & Jesse Marx, VOSD Associate Editor

Spanish translation available

Get an overview of each measure on the statewide ballot, from rideshare drivers to affirmative action. Understand what each measure would do, who’s lining up for and against each one and gain confidence before you fill out your ballot. 

Wednesday, Sept. 30 5:00 – 5:55 p.m. 

Debate: San Diego City Council District 1

Moderated by John Carroll, KPBS Reporter

After four years, Barbara Bry is leaving this job representing La Jolla, Carmel Valley, University City and Del Mar Mesa in the San Diego City Council. The two candidates to replace her are both Democrats but have very different approaches. They’ll debate and discuss the future.  

  • Will Moore, attorney and small business owner
  • Joe LaCava, civil engineer and business owner 

Wednesday, Sept. 30 5:00 – 5:55 p.m. 

Debate: San Diego City Council District 3

Moderated by Lisa Halverstadt, VOSD Reporter

This open Council seat representing the urban core of the city has been a steppingstone for many big political careers. Two Democrats hope to take it but they have different leadership styles and approaches to deal with the city’s biggest problems, which are often exaggerated downtown and uptown. We’ll press them on homelessness, growth and housing.

  • Stephen Whitburn, community nonprofit director
  • Toni Duran, state senator’s district representative

Wednesday, Sept. 30 5:00 – 5:55 p.m. 

Debate: San Diego City Council District 5

Moderated by Scott Lewis, VOSD CEO and Editor in Chief

This seat representing Rancho Bernardo, Rancho Peñasquitos and Scripps Ranch has long been the most conservative district in San Diego and has not had a competitive race for City Council in decades. Now, though, the Republican and Democrat who made it to the runoff have both raised enough money to compete and have vastly different views on policy and the way forward. Come hear them and compare their visions.

  • Marni Von Wilpert, San Diego deputy city attorney
  • Joe Leventhal, attorney and business owner

Wednesday, Sept. 30 5:00 – 5:55 p.m. 

Debate: San Diego City Council District 7

Moderated by Claire Trageser, KPBS Reporter

This seat representing Tierrasanta, Del Cerro, Grantville, Mission Valley and other neighborhoods has gone back and forth from Republican to Democratic hands. This race would have a major impact on the makeup of the City Council depending on which way it goes. The Republican, an owner of a local chain of restaurants, would have a much different approach than the Democrat, a lawyer in the city attorney’s office. Come check out the difference.

  • Raul Campillo, San Diego deputy city attorney
  • Noli Zosa, small business owner

Wednesday, Sept. 30 5:00 – 5:55 p.m. 

A Conversation with Candidate Sean Elo-Rivera

Moderated by Max Rivlin-Nadler, KPBS Reporter

Spanish translation available

Join us for a conversation with Sean Elo-Rivera, candidate for San Diego City Council District 9, which covers City Heights, College Area, KensingtonMt. Hope, Southcrest and more. The district is currently represented by Georgette Gómez.

  • Sean Elo-Rivera, youth nonprofit executive director

Wednesday, Sept. 30 6:00 – 6:55 p.m.

Debate: Chula Vista City Council, Districts 3 and 4

Moderated by Gustavo Solis, San Diego Union-Tribune Reporter

Spanish translation available

Hear from the candidates about their vision for the future of Chula Vista.

  • Henry Martinez, retired naval officer
  • Andrea Cardenas, director, community outreach
  • Mike Diaz, Chula Vista city councilman

Wednesday, Sept. 30 6:00 – 6:55 p.m.

The Height of Coastal Anxieties: Taller Buildings in Midway? (Measure E)

Led by Andrew Bowen, KPBS Reporter

City voters will decide whether to rescind the coastal height limit in the Midway community to make way for redevelopment, marking the most significant reform of the law since voters first approved it in 1972. Panelists will discuss whether the proposed change is good for the Midway neighborhood and the city as a whole.

  • Dike Anyiwo, policy adviser, SD Regional Chamber of Commerce
  • John McNab, president, Save Our Access

Wednesday, Sept. 30 6:00 – 6:55 p.m.

Affordable Housing: Are Higher Property Taxes the Answer? (Measure A)

Led by Lisa Halverstadt, VOSD Reporter

San Diego, like most cities in California, needs more affordable housingHow can we meet this need?  This panel will explore whether a property tax increase to fund subsidized housing is the right approach.

  • Chris Cate, San Diego city councilman
  • Sue Reynolds, president and CEO, Community HousingWorks

Thursday, Oct. 1 • 5:00 – 5:55 p.m.

County Supervisor Race District 2

Moderated by Danny Freeman, NBC 7 Reporter

  • Steve Vaus, Poway mayor and business owner
  • Joel Anderson, senior citizens’ advocate

Thursday, Oct. 1 • 5:00 – 5:55 p.m.

The COVID Outlook: The Politics and Science of Reopening

Led by Will Huntsberry, VOSD Reporter

Many local politicians, like Mayor Richard Bailey of Coronado, have pushed for a faster reopening than the governor allowed. Others like Supervisor Nathan Fletcher have pushed for a slower reopening. The voice of scientists has often been lost in the political clamor.

  • Kim Prather, distinguished chair in atmospheric chemistry, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
  • Richard Bailey, Coronado Mayor
  • Nathan Fletcher, San Diego county supervisor

Spanish translation available

Thursday, Oct. 1 • 6:00 – 6:55 p.m.

What Would Democrats Do with Control of the County?

Moderated by Scott Lewis, VOSD CEO and Editor in Chief

  • Nora Vargas, healthcare/education advocate
  • Nathan Fletcher, San Diego County supervisor

Thursday, Oct. 1 • 6:00 – 6:55 p.m.

53rd Congressional District Race

Moderated by MacKenzie Elmer, VOSD Reporter

  • Georgette Gómez, San Diego City Council President
  • Sara Jacobs, children’s anti-poverty advocate

Thursday, Oct. 1 • 6:00 – 6:55 p.m.

50th Congressional District Race

Moderated by Jack Cronin, KOGO Host

The two candidates in the 50th Congressional District discuss local and national issues.

  • Darrell Issa, retired congressman
  • Ammar Campa-Najjar, business owner and educator

Thursday, Oct. 1 • 6:00 – 6:55 p.m.

Oceanside Development: North River Farms

Led by Kayla Jimenez, VOSD Reporter 

Oceanside voters will decide the fate of North River Farms, a 585-home, agriculture-themed, mixed-use development proposed for the city’s rural Morro Hills region. Oceanside City Council decided to place the measure on the ballot after a hard-fought effort by residents to collect enough signatures for a referendum on the controversial project. The project is one of several controversial housing projects to go to the ballot in recent years in San Diego county’s backcountry. 

  • Tanya Castaneda, communications director, Yes on L
  • Catherine Ferguson, land use attorney and co-founder of the non-partisan North County YIMBY group
  • Dennis Martinek, retired professor of business/economics and urban planning
  • Kathi Carbone, community advocate and human rights activist

Thursday, Oct. 1 • 6:00 – 6:55 p.m.

Every 30 Seconds: Young Latino Voters and the 2020 Election

Moderated by Max Rivlin-Nadler, KPBS Reporter

Spanish translation available

Young Latinos are the fastest growing demographic of eligible voters in the U.S. Democrats have been trying to mobilize them for decades, but their numbers still remain low. With this year’s presidential election hinging on issues including border enforcement and DACA, will this be the year young Latino voters finally turn out? Or will they tune out once again?

  • Rosa Olascoaga, Mid-City CAN community organizer
  • Joshua Piedra, Youth Will emergency resource ambassador
  • Adriana Heldiz, Voice of San Diego multimedia producer

Friday, Oct. 2 • 5:00 – 5:55 p.m.

Mayoral Race, City of San Diego

Moderated by Scott Lewis, VOSD CEO and Editor in Chief

Spanish translation available

Hear from the candidates about their vision for the future of San Diego.

  • Todd Gloria, state assemblyman
  • Barbara Bry, San Diego city councilwoman

Friday, Oct. 2 • 5:00 – 5:55 p.m.

Mayoral Race, Oceanside (Part One)

Moderated by Kayla Jimenez, VOSD Reporter

Hear from the candidates about their vision for the future of Oceanside. Note: This panel is split into two parts to allow sufficient time for all the candidates. The second half of this panel is at 6:00 p.m. directly after part one.

  • Christopher Rodriguez, Oceanside city councilman, businessman and farmer
  • Fernando Garcia, retired Marine
  • Fabio Marchiengineer and businessman
  • Esther Sanchez, Oceanside city councilwoman and attorney

Friday, Oct. 2 • 5:00 – 5:55 p.m.

Mayoral Race, Encinitas

Moderated by Caitlin Steinberg, The Coast News Reporter

Hear from the candidates about their vision for the future of Encinitas.

  • Catherine Blakespear, Encinitas mayor
  • Julie Thunder, community advocate and publisher

Friday, Oct. 2 • 5:00 – 5:55 p.m.

San Diego School Board Races

Moderated by Will Huntsberry, VOSD Education Reporter

Hear the candidates positions about school operations, with a focus on school reopeningduring COVID. Is there a safe way to do this? Should younger and more vulnerable students be able to attend? How would you ensure quality online teaching?

  • Dr. LaWanda Richmond, educational leadership manager
  • Camille Harris, counselor educator/supervisor
  • Crystal Trull, educator
  • Richard Barrera, San Diego Unified School District trustee
  • Dr. Sharon Whitehurst-Payne, San Diego Unified School District trustee

Friday, Oct. 2 • 6:00 – 6:55 p.m.

Mayoral Race, Oceanside (Part Two)

Moderated by Kayla Jimenez, VOSD Reporter

Hear from the candidates about their vision for the future of Oceanside. Note: This panel is split into two parts to allow sufficient time for all the candidates. The first half of this panel is at 5:00 p.m. and concludes right before after part two.

  • Rocky Chavez, retired Marine
  • Rob Howard, human rights advisor
  • Ruben Major, paramedic educator and businessperson
  • Louis Uridel, gym owner

Friday, Oct. 2 • 6:00 – 6:55 p.m.

Community Conversation: The Role of Town Councils in Local Politics
There are many community groups that influence San Diego politics: the official planning groups and the local (nonpartisan) Town Councils that provide information on local issues and connect folks with their local leaders. This conversation explores the role of the Town Councils.

  • Lynn. Haims, Clairemont Town Council
  • Brian White, Pacific Beach Town Council President
  • Mary McKenzie, Hillcrest Town Council
  • Eden Yaege, Clairemont Town Council

Friday, Oct. 2 • 6:00 – 6:55 p.m.

Community Conversation: A Just Recovery from COVID-19 in the San Diego Region
What does a just recovery look like? Explore the intersections of climate, racial, and economic justice that are required to help San Diegans recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Kyra Green, Center on Policy Initiatives executive director
  • Rachal Hamilton, San Diego 350
  • Sonja Robinson, Environmental and Climate Justice Committee chair
  • Carolina Martinez, Climate Justice Campaign director
  • Madeleine McMurray
  • Darwin Fishman, UC San Diego professor

Friday, Oct. 2 • 6:00 – 6:55 p.m.

Community Conversation: SANDAG’s a Bold New Vision
In August, SANDAG shared a bold new vision for the 2021 Regional Plan that reimagines our region’s transportation future to be more convenient, equitable, and resilient to change. Hear from the architects of the vision, as well as outside experts, about how a transformative transportation ecosystem came together and how it could serve the San Diego region for the next 30 years.

  • Gustavo Dallarda, Caltrans District 11 director
  • Brian D’Agostino, SDG&E Fire Science & Climate Adaptation director
  • Arcela Nuñez-Alvarez, CSU San Marcos director, Universidad Popular
  • Coleen Clementson, SANDAG regional director of planning
  • Ture Fa’aola, SANDAG land use planning and policy manager
  • Nikia Clarke, SD Regional Economic Development Corporation executive director

Saturday, Oct. 3 • 10:00 – 10:55 a.m.

Proposition 22: How It Could Affect the Future of Work

Led by Lauren Hepler, CalMatters Economy Reporter

Proposition 22, defining employees and contractors, has already broken a record for the most expensive ballot measure in California history. The stakes involved are equally historic in this labor vs tech showdown. At a time of increasing inequality, are workers helped by gig jobs that allow them flexibility and autonomy? Or are workers hurt by low-paying jobs that have little security or benefits? California’s decision on this measure will be a bellwether for the future of work throughout the US. 

  • Lorena Gonzalez, state assemblywoman
  • David Cruz, president of LULAC Business and Economic Development Council #3288

Saturday, Oct. 3 • 10:00 – 10:55 a.m.

Redistricting: What it means for our community

Led by Maya Srikrishnan, VOSD Reporter

Spanish translation available

In 2021, cities will redraw their political boundaries. What are the implications for the San Diego region and future elections?

  • Evan McLaughlin, vice president, Redistricting Partners
  • Chris Wilson, assistant director, Alliance San Diego
  • Doug Johnson, president, National Demographics Corp.
  • Midori Wong, former chief of staff, City of San Diego Redistricting Commission

Saturday, Oct. 3 • 10:00 – 10:55 a.m.

Community Conversation: Policies to reduce the role, presence and budget of local police
The death of George Floyd sparked a national and local conversation about police violence. This conversation is not new to San Diego. It is one that has continuously resurfaced with the death of Alfred Olango, Aleah Jenkins, and many others. What has shifted, though, is the conversation around how to address police violence. This community conversation will discuss policy solutions that local governments can enact to respond to these calls for bold political action.

Saturday, Oct. 3 • 10:00 – 10:55 a.m.

Community Conversation: Citizen Scholars — Students and Activism
A panel of high school students will discuss why they think civic engagement is important and what it means to them.  How do they balance their schoolwork and social lives with a commitment to social justice and concern for their community?  How do they influence the political system and shape the future even before they’re old enough to vote?  What inspires them?  What scares them?  Do they think it’s true that the kids will save us, and how do they feel about having to?

  • Jonathan Shulman, Center for Excellence in Citizenship director
  • Cason Walker, protest public speaker
  • Casidy Ratner, volunteer tutor & advocate
  • Elinor Amir-Lobel, founder
  • Taisha Khanna, co-founder
  • Roa Nagle, co-founder
  • Yamina Torres, co-founder
  • Lucy Jaffee, When We All Vote, My School Votes

Saturday, Oct. 3 • 11:00 – 11:55 a.m.

A Conversation About Police Reform

Led by Alain Stephens, The Trace Reporter

Spanish translation available

What should the future of policing look like? What reforms are actually achievable?

  • Xavier Becerra, state attorney general

Saturday, Oct. 3 • 11:00 – 11:55 a.m.

Local Activism: Gen Z Takes the Lead

Led by Kayla Jimenez, VOSD Reporter

Many of the young people who organized police brutality protests said they were motivated not just by the injustice of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis but by their communities’ long histories of silence on racial justice issues. Now,they’re taking to social media and the streets to call for an end to racial injustice, defunding of local police departments, changes in local school curriculum and handling of racism at their schools and more. Hear directly from some of these young organizers.

  • Ahmad Mahmuod
  • Simran Jain
  • Metztli Carbajal
  • Christen Kaleigh
  • Leyel Joy Malave

Saturday, Oct. 3 • 11:00 – 11:55 a.m.

Community Conversation: Black Brown Relations — We Should Work Together

As we face the most important election in the history of our lives, the Black/ Brown relationship is more important than ever. Join three expert voices and leading activists in this discussion. As others try and divide, this group stresses unity.

  • Setche Kwamu-Nana, Activist San Diego board president
  • Enrique Morones, Gente Unida founder
  • Yusef Miller

Saturday, Oct. 3 • 11:00 – 12:30 p.m.

Community Conversation: Prop. 15 — What You Should Know
Prop 15 is on California’s November ballot. It will close the loopholes exploited by large corporations to avoid paying their fair share of property taxes. This is the first attempt to amend Prop 13 to ever make it onto the ballot. We will conduct a panel explaining the proposition and take questions from audience.

Saturday, Oct. 3 • 12:00 – 12:55 p.m.

Inside the 10th and 11th Floors

Led by Scott Lewis, VOSD CEO & Editor in Chief

A discussion about the issues the city of San Diego will face and how divisions will break down in a mostly Democratic city. A conversation with the pros who run mayoral and council offices.

  • Francis Barraza, senior director of community engagement, city of San Diego
  • Lucas O’Connor, deputy chief of staff to Councilmember Chris Ward
  • Venus Molina, chief of staff to Councilmember Jennifer Campbell

Saturday, Oct. 3 • 12:00 – 12:55 p.m.

Community Conversation: Community Power and Police Accountability

Hosted by Mid-City CAN

The campaign for an independent commission on police practices is a step in the right direction to hold law enforcement accountable. Our communities now have the chance to create a trusted and transparent process that is independent from the City and will hold SDPD accountable.

  • Ariana Federico, Mid-City CAN youth organizer
  • Kate Yavanditti, Women Occupy San Diego
  • Ester David, Mid-City CAN Youth Council
  • Simonei Medina, Mid-City CAN Yout Council

Saturday, Oct. 3 • 12:00 – 12:55 p.m.

Community Conversation: The Long Term Impact of COVID on Homelessness

Hosted by Father Joe’s Villages

Father Joe’s Villages will bring together a panel of nonprofit service providers from across San Diego, while ensuring diversity of services offered are represented. Experts in topics like food, homelessness, healthcare, employment provider will discuss how COVID-19 impacted their communities. They’ll discuss the change they saw in their donor base and how the road to economic recovery is looking in terms of returning to planned service offerings.

  • Jonathan Castillo, PATH chief regional officer
  • Omar Passons, San Diego County director of the division of integrative services
  • James Floros, San Diego Food Bank president/CEO
  • Rebecca Louie, Wakeland Housing and Development Corporation vice president/COO
  • Jim Vargas, Father Joe’s Villages president/CEO

Saturday, Oct. 3 • 12:00 – 12:55 p.m.

Community Conversation: Equitable Access to the Outdoors

Hosted by The San Diego Foundation

This panel will discuss issues of equitable access to parks and safe outdoor spaces. It will present research conducted by The Nonprofit Institute at the University of San Diego, an update to The San Diego Foundation’s Parks for Everyone report, and discuss strategies to address inequities in our communities.

  • Santos Plaza, Outdoor Outreach field instructor
  • Ben McCue, Outdoor Outreach executive director
  • Heather Rossetti, San Diego Foundation/Thrive San Diego manager
  • Tessa Tinkler, Nonprofit Institute at USD senior research associate

Saturday, Oct. 3 • 12:00 – 12:55 p.m.

Community Conversation: The Future of CA Property Taxes and Prop 15
This panel will discuss the upcoming ballot initiative and the future of property taxes in California.

Community Conversations

Politifest has always featured our community.

We are offering the opportunity for community members to host their own conversations during this summit. Proposed topics reflect this year’s theme, Pick Your Future, and tie to the upcoming elections and ballot measures in November.

Community Conversations are sponsored by The San Diego Foundation.

Questions about Politifest? 

General Inquiry 
Julianne Markow: julianne.markow@voiceofsandiego.org | (619) 550-5664

Sponsorships & Partnerships
Ashley Rodriguez: ashley.rodriguez@voiceofsandiego.org | (619) 550-5670