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North County Report: Issa Goes From Undecided to Decisive on Health Care

By-district voting spreads to another North County city, why Vista is seeing the most population growth in the county and more in our weekly roundup of news from North County.

As one of the Republican holdouts who didn’t know – or at least said it was none of our business to know – their position, Rep. Darrell Issa’s was one of the key votes in the House of Representatives to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

In fact, Issa didn’t cast his vote until there were already 215 votes on the board, according to one reporter, meaning he cast the tie-breaking vote.

Issa spokesman Calvin Moore took exception with that characterization in an exchange with the Union-Tribune, saying since the bill passed by a margin of two votes, it doesn’t matter why Issa waited so long to cast his vote.

Still, few people are attracting as much national attention for their vote as Issa, partly because of the timing of his vote, the fact that Issa was front and center at the Republicans’ celebration of the vote at the White House and also because the 49th District is seen as one that could flip Democratic in 2018.

Issa said the House “made good on our promise to repeal and replace Obamacare,” but that message was undercut by none other than President Donald Trump, who said it was just the first phase of a three-phase strategy.

San Diego Indivisible, the group that has turned out hundreds of protesters at Issa’s Vista office each week, said his vote was a “betrayal” of 36,400 people in the district who rely on the Affordable Care Act. They also seized on Issa’s decision to attend a Florida fundraiser last weekend, instead of returning to Vista to explain his vote in person to constituents.

Issa told a Florida station that he was going to hold another meeting, and the Union-Tribune reports that’s scheduled to happen on May 31 in Oceanside.

The Future of the County Looks a Lot Like Vista

Large job centers like San Diego can’t accommodate all the people who work in the city, and with wealthier suburbs digging moats around themselves, working-class towns are seeing the largest population growth in the county. Nowhere is that more true than in Vista.

Mathematician and transportation policy writer Alon Levy writes that low population growth in the wealthier suburbs, combined with the largest growth happening in Vista, highlights how poor public transportation and policies that prohibit growth limit the county’s access to good jobs.

Once upon a time, suburbs were bedroom communities for cities that had all the jobs. But Vista, being too far from San Diego, isn’t really a full-on bedroom community, and manages to strike a balance between how many people live there and how many jobs are in the city – even if most of those jobs pay lower middle-income salaries.

“This spells out a future of California growth that is not particularly exciting: exurban, lower middle-class but not impoverished, low-income but not desperate. This is likely to dampen the state’s economic growth, as more and more people are pushed away from the most productive cities,” Levy writes.

By-District Voting Continues to Spread

The switch from at-large to by-district voting is catching fire this season.

First came the threat of a lawsuit against Vista. Then Oceanside received a similar letter from an attorney representing a voting rights organization. Now, Carlsbad is making the switch to district voting, KPBS reports.

Attorney Kevin Shenkman has threatened to sue each city if it doesn’t comply with the California Voting Rights Act, which was adopted in 2002 to make it easier for groups to challenge cities with at-large voting systems that tend to dilute minority votes.

And like Oceanside, the vote by the Carlsbad City Council narrowly passed.

“Councilman Mark Packard and Mayor Matt Hall voted ‘no,’ saying they felt the need to stand and fight what they called ‘a bad law,’” Alison St. John writes.

Also in the News

The sale of the old Palomar Hospital in downtown Escondido fell through. (Union-Tribune)

Poway Mayor Steve Vaus said efforts to reform SANDAG amount to an “all-out assault” on the agency and to local control. (Union-Tribune)

Escondido named longtime City Attorney Jeff Epp as its new city manager. (Union-Tribune)

Palomar Mountain got 6 inches of snow this weekend. (National Weather Service San Diego)

Mr. Padre now has a memorial statue in Poway. (NBC 7)

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