Voters in San Diego County’s 5th Supervisorial District will be choosing a new representative in the fall as Supervisor Bill Horn has termed out after 26 years on the board. San Marcos Mayor Jim Desmond, a Republican, faces Oceanside resident Michelle Gomez, a Democrat, in the November election. Meet the candidates, in their own words:
Mayor Jim Desmond is a candidate for North County’s Supervisor District 5, currently represented by Bill Horn, whose final term on the board expires in 2018. Desmond was first elected mayor of San Marcos in November 2006 after just two years of service on the San Marcos City Council. In addition to his mayoral duties, Desmond serves as the city's primary representative on the board of directors of the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) and is the chair of the SANDAG Regional Transportation Committee. Desmond is also the North County representative on the San Diego Regional Airport Authority.
A U.S. Navy veteran with a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from San Diego State University, Desmond has been a pilot for Delta Air Lines since 1986 where he currently is a captain flying Boeing 757s and 767s. He also founded and managed a successful technical writing company that he later sold.
Desmond and his wife Kerri, a former school teacher, have two adult children.
Why did you decide to run and what do you think are the two biggest issues facing San Diego County?
I am running to give back to the community what I’ve learned as the mayor of San Marcos for 12 years, as a Navy veteran with an electrical engineering degree from SDSU, and a pilot and captain for Delta.
Throughout my career I’ve developed leadership skills that include shared input and responsibilities that come to common-sense practical solutions. I believe this approach will serve me well as your supervisor.
Perhaps the most critical issue facing our county is the lack of affordable workforce housing. Prices have climbed steadily and, increasingly, San Diego employees are moving to Riverside County to find homes for their families. The county government, and each city in the county, must begin to make it easier to build more housing, and the regional inventory must increase across all price ranges. We also need our legislators in Sacramento to enact innovative legislation that reduce the burden on home builders, reduce the regulatory cost on development and encourage an increased supply.
Another significant problem facing county leaders is traffic congestion. In North County, which may well have the worst traffic congestion in our area, it is a real threat to our future economic growth. The 78, for example, is critical to our region, as it links the coastal western side of North County to the inland area, but if traffic on that artery worsens, it will have a serious negative impact on job growth. There are no easy fixes to the problem, but, as supervisor, I will continue to push SANDAG to fund the planned HOV lanes on the I-5 north through Oceanside and on the SR-78 between I5 and the I-15. Additionally, SANDAG should fund improved interchanges on SR-78 at I-5 and I-15. These are not dramatic solutions, but are definitely common-sense approaches that are achievable in the next few years if San Diego elected officials are serious about addressing congestion.
Michelle Gomez is a lifelong community advocate who has dedicated nearly two decades to serving women, children, veterans, military families, and trauma survivors by keeping them happy, healthy, and well-informed. Gomez currently serves as a commissioner on both the San Diego County Commission on the Status of Women & Girls and the Oceanside Housing Commission.
A native of Southern California, and avid outrigger canoeing enthusiast, Gomez is the daughter and spouse of Marine Corps veterans. For her service to military families aboard Camp Pendleton, Gomez has been awarded The President’s Volunteer Service Award four times.
In her professional capacity, Gomez works as a legislative analyst reviewing national and state law in order to draft and educate on sound policy choices.Gomez hopes to pair her passion for community service with her knack for executing effective policy in order to make a difference for the working families of North County.
Why did you decide to run and what do you think are the biggest issues facing San Diego County?
The composition of our Board of Supervisors has changed little in the last 20-plus years. This has led to a stagnation in thinking which has proven detrimental to the health and safety of county residents on multiple occasions. I’m running to ensure that San Diegans have a say in the decisions which impact their lives. A voice that has long been denied to them by a board who made moves dictated by the whims of special interests.
The current practice of our county’s governing body has been to hoard your tax dollars instead of using that money as it was intended to tackle issues such as increasing fire protection, improving public health, and ensuring access to affordable housing for young families, veterans, students and seniors.
My vision for San Diego County includes a plan to mitigate these and many other of the most prevalent problems facing our county, including traffic congestion in a way which is much more fiscally responsible than the outmoded way we currently conduct such business. By embracing innovative, cost-efficient solutions which are already making a difference in other communities, we can ensure a significant rainy-day fund remains to address any unforeseen emergencies while addressing longstanding problems that continue to grow worse.
I’m an advocate for bold solutions because our families deserve better. Protecting our loved ones while making sense of our county budget demands proactive leaders who are willing to confront the realities facing our world today. Leaders who will roll up their sleeves and dedicate themselves to the task at hand. I’m not a career politician, but I do have the experience in both in community service and policy execution to make a difference in our county. I’m running so that average families such as yours and mine have a say in local government.