District 3 of the County Board of Supervisors covers a large swath of North County, from Encinitas, Solana Beach and Del Mar up to Escondido.
Supervisor Dave Roberts, a Democrat, is running to keep his seat, and faces two Republican challengers: Encinitas Mayor Kristin Gaspar and Escondido Mayor Sam Abed.
On Tuesday night, the candidates met in Escondido at a forum held by the League of Women Voters of North County.
The largest distinction among the candidates came during questions on growth and new development .
Gaspar said she has faith in documents like the county’s general plan, which lays out where new development can happen in unincorporated areas, but the county should be flexible. Any projects that require an amendment to the general plan – and there are many facing the county – should mitigate their impacts on traffic and the environment, she said.
Roberts doesn’t think that’s possible, and puts his stock in the general plan as is.
“When you build a project on two-lane streets, how are you going to mitigate that?” he asked.
Abed, meanwhile, repeated the phrase, “move growth to the urban cores” but defended the right of unnamed property owners (ahem ) to annex themselves into a city, with a different set of land use guidelines.
Voters will weigh in at the June primary election, and unless one of the candidates gets at least 50 percent of the vote, the top two candidates from either party will go on to November.
Two other supervisor seats face uncertain futures, so District 3 is shaping up to be an important race for Republicans.
While four seats are currently held by Republicans, only two are in solid Republican districts, and new term limits could play a role in flipping the other Republican-held districts toward the Democrats within a decade, Maya Srikrishnan wrote this week .
• The candidates met last week in a forum  that was more about whose scandal was worse, and who was claiming undue credit. (Seaside Courier)
Collins Put on Leave
Poway Unified Superintendent John Collins has had a bit of a tumultuous tenure at the helm of the school district.
He oversaw the deal to borrow $105 million in a plan that will cost the district $1 billion  to pay it back. More recently he’s been accused of a conflict of interest  over “me too” clauses in his contract that allow him to receive the same raises other employees get, when he is supposed to be negotiating for taxpayers.
Now, Poway Unified’s Board of Directors has placed Collins under administrative leave , while it audits his contract, set to expire in 2017.
Oside in Demand
Oceanside is commonly seen as one of the last affordable places on the coast, and has been undergoing a bit of a renaissance in recent years.
The past few years of planning paved the way for new construction and businesses in the downtown area, west of Interstate 5.
Then the other shoe dropped: Construction began on a Starbucks in a historic working-class neighborhood on the other side of the highway.
Also in the News
• The Seaside Courier has endorsed Kristin Gaspar  for District 3 County Supervisor.
• North County Transit District narrowly avoided a strike by the agency’s drivers . (Union-Tribune)
• Oceanside is considering closing the pier at night . (Union-Tribune)
• Carlsbad might ban stores that sell puppies from “puppy mills,” again . (Union-Tribune)
• Solana Beach has sent a draft ordinance to the Coastal Commission to establish an impact fee to replenish the sand  lost on the beaches by the construction of sea walls. (The Coast News)
(Disclaimer: I work in IT at the Surfrider Foundation, which publicly opposes sea walls.)
• Encinitas’ Planning Commission approved an agricultural ordinance  that allows for some events and farm stands in residential areas. The draft doesn’t include the controversial easing of restrictions on small livestock , however. (The Coast News)
• One Encinitas business among many displaced by rent increases is still searching for a home . (Encinitas Advocate)