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Election 2022: California Legislature Races Preview

The Coast News looks at California Legislature races impacting North County San Diego voters, discussing with candidates their proposed solutions to matters of regional and local importance, including crime, homelessness, environment, housing, cost of living, inflation and more. 

Additionally, over the past two months, The Coast News sent electronic questionnaires in four batches to North County candidates at different levels of government, including federal, state, municipal/county and school boards.

The information contained herein is directly from nine candidates in the 38th and 40th State Senate districts and 75th, 76th and 77th State Assembly districts (Assemblywoman Tasha Boerner Horvath did not respond to repeated attempts to reach her office and did not participate in the questionnaire).

As a local newspaper, The Coast News wanted to share this information before mail-in ballots are received so voters can decide for themselves who is best suited to represent their interests in public office based on the candidates’ own words.

Each of the candidates’ questionnaires and priority responses are compared side-by-side after the race previews. 

State Senate

Republican candidate Matt Gunderson and Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear, a Democrat, are facing off for the 38th State Senate District seat currently held by a termed-out State Sen. Pat Bates (R-Laguna Niguel).

According to political data consultants, redistricting shifted what was a slightly Republican-leaning region to the newly drawn 38th District, which now holds a Democratic majority.

District 38 will now run from roughly San Onofre in the north to Mission Beach in the south, adding more coastal North County cities, including Del Mar, La Jolla, and Pacific Beach, while losing some of the Orange County territory held by the old District 36, such as Aliso Viejo, Laguna Hills and Dana Point. 

“As a three-term mayor, I have balanced budgets in my city, I have listened to constituents across a wide range of different political viewpoints, I have a pulse on the things people care about, and that unquestionably helps me be stronger elected at the state level,” Blakespear told The Coast News. “I think we need people at the state level delivering real results, finding common ground that people can believe in, and I’ve done that as mayor, and my record as a local official demonstrates that I’m that person.”

Mayor Catherine Blakespear is a Democratic candidate seeking the 38th State Senate District seat.
Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear is a Democratic candidate seeking the 38th State Senate District seat. Courtesy photo

For Gunderson, any real change in California on issues such as homelessness, crime or cost of living has to start with unraveling the Democrats’ stronghold in both legislative branches.

“We don’t need more Democrats in Sacramento,” Gunderson told The Coast News. “One-party rule is destroying this state, so sending another Democrat to replace a Republican will not be making meaningful progress towards solving the state’s problems.

“At the end of the day, my motivation for running is that California is no longer the Golden State. In fact, it’s tarnished — with excessive homelessness, rampant crime, and the cost of living that is forcing our children and grandchildren to leave the state because they can’t afford to live here.”

Blakespear has received a number of endorsements at the state and regional level, including the California Democratic Party, San Diego County Democratic Party, Orange County Democratic Party, California Teachers Association, California Nurses Association, Laborer’s International Union of North America, AFSCME California, San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria, Assemblymember Tasha Boerner Horvath (D-Encinitas), Rep. Mike Levin (CA-49) and Assemblyman Brian Maienschein (D-San Diego).

Gunderson has received endorsements from the California Republican Party, Howard Jarvis Taxpayer Association, North San Diego County Association of Realtors, Oceanside Police Officers Association, San Diego Police Officers Association,  Republican Party of Orange County, Republican Party of San Diego, Supervisor Jim Desmond, Supervisor Joel Anderson, Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes, Carlsbad Mayor Matt Hall, Del Mar Councilmember Dan Quirk, and former Encinitas mayors Sheila Cameron, Kristin Gaspar and Pam Slater-Price.

Matt Gunderson is a political newcomer seeking California's 36th State Senate seat
Republican candidate Matt Gunderson in the 38th State Senate District race. Courtesy photo

Blakespear, who also serves as the chairperson of SANDAG, has faced a rocky summer campaign after losing the San Diego Union-Tribune Editorial Board’s endorsement to fellow Democrat Joe Kerr in the leadup to the June primary. 

While Gunderson also didn’t receive the board’s endorsement, the UT Editorial Board cited several issues with Blakespear specifically, including reports of blocking residents with opposing viewpoints from participating on her mayoral Facebook page, a SANDAG auditor’s report revealing the agency’s staff spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on purchases deemed “improper” and “questionable,” and the city of Encinitas running afoul with the state Attorney General after the council initially denied a 277-unit apartment complex in Olivenhain.

In recent weeks, Blakespear has declined to debate Gunderson publicly and has focused her campaign on reproductive freedom, supporting a statewide ballot proposition that would codify a woman’s right to abortion into the state constitution (Reproductive rights, including abortion, are already protected under state law).

In a series of newsletters, television commercials and campaign mailers, Blakespear has claimed to be “the only pro-choice candidate” in the race for the 38th District seat, despite Gunderson’s platform as a pro-choice Republican.

“Catherine Blakespear is outright lying about Matt Gunderson — he’s been on the record as pro-choice for 30 years,” said Gunderson consultant Duane Dichiara. “She’s lying because she doesn’t want to talk about her support for the gas tax or that she voted for four tax increases last December, including the mileage tax that taxes every mile we drive. She’s lying because she doesn’t want to talk about the scandals at SANDAG or her history of corruption — rewarding big campaign contributors with taxpayer money. She’s lying because she doesn’t want to talk about the 74% increase in homeless and 31% increase in crime in her own city. She clearly thinks she has to lie about Gunderson because she can’t stand on her own record.”

40th District

Facing a nine-point loss in the June primary, Democratic State Senate candidate Joseph Rocha believes he can make up ground to unseat Republican incumbent State Sen. Brian Jones (R-Santee).

Both candidates are running for the newly-drawn 40th State Senate District, a combination of Jones’ previous District 38 and State Sen. Toni Atkins’ former District 39.

The newly drawn district now covers north of Fallbrook to Mount Laguna in the south, including San Marcos, Escondido, Poway, much of Sorrento Valley, Alpine, Descanso, Ramona and Santee.

Previously representing the 38th State Senate District, Jones is a longtime figure in Sacramento, representing much of East and North San Diego County.

Jones, a former Santee City Councilman, warned the state is facing several daunting challenges, such as homelessness, housing and eroding local control — all of which impact a city’s ability to effectively and efficiently plan for its future.

Rocha, grandson of Mexican immigrants, was also the first in his family to graduate college and law school after earning his associate’s degree from a community college.

A former Navy bomb dog handler, Rocha was discharged under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” After joining plaintiffs in a landmark decision ruling the former policy was unconstitutional, Rocha joined the Marines, served as a prosecutor, completed Officer Candidate School and climbed to the rank of captain.

For Rocha, taking care of veterans is an important issue, along with housing and the cost of living.

Jones secured a 54-45 primary win over Rocha in the primary and looked to continue his momentum through the Nov. 8 general election.

State Assembly

74th District

Republican incumbent Assemblywoman Laurie Davies (R-Laguna Niguel), who currently represents the 73rd District, will face off against Democratic challenger Chris Duncan in the newly drawn 74th District.

The cities of Oceanside and Vista and a small portion of Fallbrook now fall under the 74th district, which also covers much of Camp Pendleton and the South Orange County cities of San Clemente, Laguna Niguel, Dana Point and San Juan Capistrano.

Oceanside, Vista and Camp Pendleton were previously grouped under the 76th district represented by Assemblymember Tasha Boerner Horvath (D-Encinitas).

Davies was first elected to the California State Assembly in 2020 following her time serving as mayor of Laguna Niguel. Duncan currently serves as the mayor pro tem of San Clemente.

While both candidates are based in Orange County, they feel strong connections to the North San Diego County cities they aim to represent.

Duncan previously lived in Carlsbad for several years and has spent time campaigning in the area, opening an office in Oceanside and connecting with local leaders like Oceanside Mayor Esther Sanchez and Vista Councilmembers Joe Green, Corinna Contreras and Katie Melendez.

“I think the people of this district are looking for a pragmatic leader,” Duncan said.

Davies has also established herself in the region, joining both the Oceanside and Vista chambers of commerce. As a business owner, Davies sees the importance of small local businesses.

“Small businesses make up a lot of revenue for cities,” Davies said. “I want to get to know them and see what concerns they have.”

Duncan has so far raised $347,343 through 531 contributions, but Davies has outpaced him with $610,598 through 347 contributions. Duncan noted that despite the amount in contributions she has received, his have come from more “grassroots” efforts through individuals and smaller organizations.

76th District

Voters in California’s new 76th State Assembly District are faced with a choice between Democratic incumbent Brian Maienschein and Republican challenger Kristie Bruce-Lane in the Nov. 8 election.

The most recent redistricting process moved many residents into the 76th district who previously voted in the 77th and 75th districts, with the addition of inland areas such as San Marcos and Escondido as well as the areas of San Pasqual, Rancho Penasquitos, Fairbanks Ranch and parts of Carmel Valley and elimination of Mira Mesa and Poway to the south.

Maienschein has held his seat as a 77th district representative since 2012, and is now running to represent the new 76th. He has recently championed legislature increasing post-release restrictions on sexually violent predators and establishing a state Officer Wellness and Mental Health Grant program along with various gun violence prevention bills.

Bruce-Lane is the current Division 4 Director for the Olivenhain Municipal Water District and has served in leadership roles for various committees and organizations related to homelessness. She is the founder of the Thumbprint Project Foundation, which seeks to support homeless children who have experienced domestic violence.

Political analysts say the addition of more conservative inland cities has transformed the 76th into a much more competitive arena for Republicans, as demonstrated by the June 7 primary, where just over half of voters opted for a Republican candidate over Maienschein.

“I think this makes it a very competitive district. Incumbents always have an edge, but the primary results indicate that this is going to be a battleground,” said Thad Kousser, a political science professor at the UC San Diego.

As of the most recent contribution reporting period ending June 30, Maienschein’s campaign had raised a total of $629,801.57 since the beginning of the calendar year, with the largest contributions coming from the California Democratic Party in the form of $30,641.22 in non-monetary donations.

Maienschein also received several $9,700 donations from political action committees, including the California Nurses Association, California Teachers Association and American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees.

Bruce-Lane’s campaign fundraising trails behind Maienschein’s, having raised $204,978.16 this calendar year. Top contributors include the Gallagher for Assembly campaign and Friends of Frank Bigelow for Assembly, each giving a total of $9,800 between two separate contributions.

77th District

For several months before the June primary, Assemblywoman Tasha Boerner Horvath (D-Encinitas) appeared to be heading into her third term unopposed after Republican challenger Melanie Burkholder dropped out of the race in January.

But the lawmaker faces a new Republican opponent in the race, Point Loma business owner, entrepreneur and financial advisor Dan Downey.

“The number one issue we need to tackle in this state is the cost of living, specifically, the highest taxes in California,” Downey said. “During this time with unprecedented inflation, it’s even more urgent to take a look at the level of taxation in this state…and then you can focus on the electric bills and fees” — all of which add up “to the highest cost of living in the country.”

“The second thing I’ve noticed in this district is our problem with homelessness,” Downey continued. “I’ve also lived in San Francisco and other cities that have a problem with homelessness, and I think that it has to do with a state that’s under one-party rule. We’ve seen how the Democrats are going to approach this issue. It’s time for a new approach.”

While Boerner Horvath did not respond to multiple requests for interviews and participation in the questionnaire, she previously told The Coast News that her campaign would center on the issue of climate change, which she says is presently the most pressing policy matter facing district residents.

Boerner Horvath also touted her work on advancing such policies in the state legislature and pledged to continue to press for meaningful solutions on the issue.

“Climate change is a pressing challenge for our world, but its effects will be more keenly and quickly felt in coastal communities like ours in the 77th Assembly District,” Boerner Horvath said in a statement. “I have worked since my first year in the Assembly to advance policies that help move us away from fossil fuels, support the development of clean energy sources, create high-paying jobs in our communities, and build the distribution infrastructure necessary to sustain a clean energy future. As the Assemblymember for the 77th District, I would continue that work.

“In addition to the work I have done to address climate change, I was proud to help bring the fight to save Trestles to a successful conclusion by authoring legislation that permanently protects San Onofre State Beach and the land surrounding it. I have also created policies that advance gender equity in sports as well as our local boards and commissions, and helped pass laws protecting sexual assault survivors and witnesses to those crimes.”

But Downey said he feels strongly that Boerner Horvath is not focused enough on the specific policy issues that matter the most to District 77 voters.

For example, Downey pointed to a bill Boerner Horvath authored in Sacramento that would have allowed bicyclists to treat stop signs as “yield” markers (they would have to decelerate but not entirely stop before a crossing if there was no oncoming traffic). Gov. Gavin Newsom ultimately vetoed the bill, and the Los Angeles Times called Boerner Horvath’s measure “nutty” and misguided.

“She’s just focused on the wrong things,” Downey said. “When the LA Times is calling you nutty — and that’s not a conservative publication — that’s not a good sign for you.”

Candidates questionnaire

Over the past two months, The Coast News sent electronic questionnaires in four batches to North County candidates at different levels of government, including federal, state, municipal/county and school boards.

The information contained herein is directly from nine candidates in the 38th and 40th State Senate districts and 75th, 76th and 77th State Assembly districts (Assemblywoman Tasha Boerner Horvath did not participate in the questionnaire). We wanted to share this information with voters so they can decide for themselves who is best suited to represent their interests in public office.

We limited the candidates’ responses to 350 characters in the short answer section. We instructed candidates to please assign relative priorities to several issues for the relative priorities matrixes. While these issues have merit and aren’t always mutually exclusive, in a world of constraints, every problem can’t have high priority relative to the rest.

Candidates combined overall priority rankings.

The Coast News asked each candidate to rank several critical issues from lowest to highest priority, understanding that in a world of constraints, not every important matter can be a high priority. The above graphic depicts the candidates’ top issues (Rep. Darrell Issa did not participate). Each of the five candidates’ priority responses is shown in the illustrations below. Graphic by Carly Kupka
The Coast News asked each candidate to rank several critical issues from lowest to highest priority, understanding that in a world of constraints, not every critical matter can be a high priority. The above graphic depicts the candidates’ top issues (Rep. Darrell Issa did not participate). Each of the five candidates’ priority responses is shown in the illustrations below. Graphic by Carly Kupka

 

Blakespear Gunderson

Briefly tell us about yourself and why you’re running

Matt Gunderson: I’m a father and small business owner running for State Senate to put my decades of business experience to work and pass common sense solutions to our challenges like growing unaffordability, homelessness and crime.

Catherine Blakespear: As a three-time elected mayor, I’ve won hard-fought battles in my city to protect our environment, support common-sense gun laws, and champion small businesses. And, of course, as the only 100% pro-choice candidate, I’ll protect the right to choose.

If elected, what are some ways to help ease the growing financial burden on working-class families?

Gunderson: It’s time we make California an affordable state to live, work, start a business, or raise a family. I’m the only candidate that has signed the No New Taxes Pledge, a pledge not to vote for any tax increases. I support a meaningful tax cut for low- and middle-income earners so that we can keep more money in our pockets. The inconsistent rebates are short-term solutions — it’s time for dependable cost reduction or the people that need it most.

Blakespear: Let me be perfectly clear: I do not support a mileage tax or any road-usage charge. I co-authored a commentary in The San Diego Union-Tribune in December, stating my opposition to the proposed road usage charge, and my opinion has not changed. I will not support any tax increase on families making less than $400,000 a year, unlike my opponent, who supported raising taxes on seniors’ Social Security and Medicare benefits.

Do you support SB 9 and SB 10? Why or why not? If not, please outline a different way to help ease the affordable housing crisis without impacting local control.

Gunderson: What works in San Jose or Bakersfield doesn’t always work for Oceanside, and our laws should reflect that. SB 9 and SB 10, which allows for-profit developers to usurp community wishes and build multi-story, multi-unit complexes in our single-family communities, are disasters for our coastal neighborhoods. It will be one of my main priorities to find a better way to build affordable housing that does not damage the environment and the health, safety, and character of our cities and communities.

Blakespear: I have served in local elected office for nearly eight years. As a local elected official, I know the value of local control and the importance of the community’s participation in land use decision-making. Frankly, my opponent gives different answers to this question depending on who’s asking, but I’ve always been clear. I’m running for State Senate, and I believe the state has a role to play by providing cities with funding and helping to remove arbitrary barriers that block affordable housing.

What are your best ideas to reduce rising crime rates and growing homelessness in North County cities? Please give two examples of each.

Gunderson: I’m the only candidate in this race determined to roll back dangerous provisions like Prop 47, Prop 57, and AB109 and others like it that put criminals ahead of crime victims. I’d also support lowering the $950 threshold on theft charges that have given criminals a virtual get-out-of-jail-free card. My plan for solving homelessness is simple: clean up homeless encampments, build secure homeless shelters a safe distance from residential neighborhoods, and require that the new shelters be used.

Blakespear: I’m proud of the fact that crime is lower in Encinitas now than it was when I was sworn in as mayor in 2016, but there’s still work to be done. I support funding the police — period. That means ensuring law enforcement officers have the tools, training and resources they need to prevent crime and to interact compassionately, safely and effectively with the public. That includes training on how to deal with those who are mentally ill or addicted to drugs or alcohol.

Where do you see opportunity for fruitful compromise or collaboration across the partisan aisle?

Gunderson: I will work with anyone serious about making California a better place to live, work, and raise a family. Specifically, as a pro-choice Republican, I’d work with anyone who wants to expand access to women’s healthcare and contraception. Second, I think there are great areas of agreement on how we can be better stewards of our environment.

Blakespear: One of the biggest priorities for the Legislature should be closing loopholes that criminals have exploited in recent years, especially when it comes to organized retail theft. I support Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin’s bill, which would address this by giving prosecutors more flexibility to charge defendants for all alleged crimes in a combined case.

38th

 

Briefly tell us about yourself and why you’re running

Brian Jones (R): Across California, high cost of living, skyrocketing homelessness, a surging crime wave, and a failing education system plague our beautiful state. On so many important issues, government is failing us. I’m running for California’s 40th district to fix this mess.

Joseph Rocha (D): I am a veteran running for State Senate out of the same sense of duty and service that has guided me my entire life. I’ll fight for the hardworking people who are often left behind by career politicians who only look out for themselves.

If elected, what are some ways to help ease the growing financial burden on working-class families?

Jones: I will continue fighting against hikes in taxes or fees on hard-working Californians. Recently, I worked with Assemblyman Kevin Kiley and others for several months to suspend California’s $1 per gallon in state gas taxes. Democrat politicians refused to join our gas tax suspension plan, and as predicted, gas prices are back up again, higher here in San Diego than in most other areas of the country. Fortunately, we made enough of a commotion that Gov. Newsom and Democrat legislators were forced to at least send out some tax rebate checks.

Rocha: I will focus on delivering on basic needs that help to lift people into the middle class, such as increasing access to affordable, quality childcare and expanding paid sick leave. I’ll work to create good-paying jobs and ensure that everyone working full-time can support themselves and their family. I’ll bring home the resources needed to improve our community’s families’ economic well-being.

Do you support SB 9 and SB 10? Why or why not? If not, please outline a different way to help ease the affordable housing crisis without impacting local control?

Jones: I opposed SB 9 but supported SB 10. I believe the state government should encourage, not dictate, more ways for local housing to be built. State laws should not be a one-size-fits-all requirement sent down from politicians and bureaucrats in Sacramento.

Rocha: I support Senator Toni Atkins’ first-time home buyer program pilot that will provide down-payment support in return for a portion of the home’s equity. This is an excellent example of the smart, pragmatic, and self-sustaining solutions I hope to contribute to our district from Sacramento. I look forward to supporting this effort and exploring the possibility of expanding it in ways that will help provide relief for our renters.

What are your best ideas to reduce rising crime rates and growing homelessness in North County cities? Please give two examples of each.

Jones: Crime: The Democrat-controlled legislature needs to put a moratorium on any new laws that favor criminal rights over the rights of law-abiding Californians; and Prop 47 (reduced sentences), Prop 57 ( early release), and AB 109 (realignment) need to be repealed. Housing: Along with a coalition of elected leaders, law enforcement officials, school board members, and nonprofits, I announced a proposed new state law to prohibit homeless encampments in parks, libraries, or near schools or daycare centers.

Rocha: We must adapt to trends in gun violence. Banning ghost guns and serialized parts is a good start. Legal loopholes that allow ghost gun manufacturers to operate must be closed. I will prioritize creating rehabilitative, permanent supportive housing with access to services such as mental health care and work opportunities that create pathways for those who are struggling.

Where do you see opportunity for fruitful compromise or collaboration across the partisan aisle?

Jones: My philosophy is to always try to work in a bipartisan manner to solve problems. As a Republican legislator, I’ve worked hard to get several bills passed by the Democrat-controlled Legislature and signed by governors Brown and Newsom. For years, Democrat politicians in Sacramento have had a “my way or the highway” attitude on the homelessness issue. I think the homelessness issue could finally be ripe for the Democrat politicians to work with us on a successful collaboration.

Rocha: I believe both sides can work together to ensure that our transition to cleaner energy has workers and their families in mind and that our electric vehicle infrastructure is upgraded in all communities. Finally, with new housing and commercial construction, we have opportunities to build sustainably that both sides can support.

40th

 

Briefly tell us about yourself and why you’re running

Laurie Davies (R): I’m an Orange County business owner and former Mayor of Laguna Niguel, and for the last two years, I’ve served as your Assemblywoman. I will continue to bring bi-partisan solutions so Californians can afford to live & be safe in their communities.

Chris Duncan (D): I am a parent of three young children, a former Federal Prosecutor, the Mayor Pro Tem of San Clemente, and a U.S. Marine Corps Liaison. I am running for State Assembly to protect our health and safety, individual rights, and coastal environment.

If elected, what are some ways to help ease the growing financial burden on working-class families?

Davies: First, we have to give consumers relief at the pump. Assembly Republicans attempted multiple times to bring up legislation to temporarily pause the gas tax, but Sacramento Democrats blocked each attempt. I plan to support similar legislation next year. Additionally, I was proud to be a co-author on a measure that would have increased the renter’s tax credit to keep up with inflation. Again, however, the measure was watered down by Democrats.

Duncan: I know the struggles families are going through right now – I’m a father of three school-age kids, and my wife runs her own small business. Times are tough, and Sacramento needs to stop trying to tax its way out of problems and do more to reduce costs, particularly on college tuition, healthcare and prescription drugs. I support a temporary suspension of the gas tax increase – that’s just common sense when the state has a historic budget surplus.

Do you support SB 9 and SB 10? Why or why not? If not, please outline a different way to help ease the affordable housing crisis without impacting local control?

Davies: I did not support SB 9 & 10 because they would eliminate local control from our communities. I agree we need an overhaul of our housing laws and programs, but overriding local concerns is not the way to do it. That is why I was pleased to support AB 2011 this year, which streamlines the housing process for developers while also giving locals a seat at the table to make good-faith efforts to find land in new commercial zones that could be developed for affordable housing projects.

Duncan: The housing shortage is a crisis, but bulldozing communities isn’t the answer. Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach, the state should empower local cities to develop affordable housing that fits each community. I will enact policies that incentivize local housing development with community grants instead of penalizing cities for seeking to protect their culture and traditions. My opponent has repeatedly voted against any funding for critical affordable housing construction. That’s wrong.

What are your best ideas to reduce rising crime rates and growing homelessness in North County cities? Please give two examples of each.

Davies: To reduce crime, we need to enact tougher penalties on criminals. For example, in certain circumstances, committing a crime using a gun is only a misdemeanor. It should be increased to a felony. In addition, for our growing drug epidemic, let’s get addicts the help they need through treatment & rehab instead of throwing them in jail. For homelessness, I was pleased to support the Governor’s CARE Court proposal to help people on the street get into shelters & rehab programs to begin treatment.

Duncan: As a former federal prosecutor and a father, nothing matters more to me than our kids’ safety. My opponent rallied with January 6th insurrectionists associated with the Three Percenters militia group. That’s dangerous and un-American. In the Assembly, I’ll ensure there are strong penalties for burglary and keep low-level individuals from reoffending. On homelessness, I support the state’s new CARE Court, including court-ordered mental health treatment and more supportive housing.

Where do you see opportunity for fruitful compromise or collaboration across the partisan aisle?

Davies: I believe the policy issue of the environment is where we have plenty of room to work in a bipartisan fashion. Plenty of Republicans and Democrats want to expand and develop green technology resources and help stave off the effects of coastal erosion on our shores.

Duncan: Our leaders must stay focused on the priorities that matter most to middle-class families — and right now, that’s the rising cost of living and the increasing crime rate. I’ll put partisan politics aside to find common sense solutions that have a positive impact on our families. I’ve done that on the City Council, and I’ll do the same in the Assembly.

74th

 

Briefly tell us about yourself and why you’re running

Brian Maienschein (D): I have lived in Northern San Diego County most of my life, and I have raised my family here. I have a passion for this community. My top priorities are defending a woman’s right to choose, combatting homelessness and strengthening public safety.

Kristi Bruce-Lane (R): Elected official & businesswoman. Homelessness is growing, cost of living/taxes have skyrocketed, failing schools, crime has doubled due to reclassification of felonies & early prisoner release and SVPs are allowed to reside near elementary schools.

If elected, what are some ways to help ease the growing financial burden on working-class families?

Maienschein: To help Californians struggling with the increased cost of living, we passed a State Budget that invested $17 billion in relief to Californians, including assistance with overdue utility bills, small business assistance, rental assistance and the Better for a Families tax refund. I have been a strong opponent of tax increases. I voted against the gas tax and do not support a mileage tax.

Bruce-Lane: As your Assemblywoman, I will work to address the skyrocketing costs of living and affordability challenges our families face. I support a gas tax moratorium and will protect proposition 13, which prevents sharp increases in property tax rates. I will cut taxes and fight for you and your family’s most basic needs for survival in this state. California has a $97 billion surplus. Government should reduce burdens on working families, not add to them.

Do you support SB 9 and SB 10? Why or why not? If not, please outline a different way to help ease the affordable housing crisis without impacting local control?

Maienschein: I did not support SB 9 or SB 10. I do not believe one-size-fits-all housing policies work across the state, which is why local input is a vital part of the process. I have not supported legislation that would remove the ability for localities to participate in housing decisions. However, I believe that local governments and their community partners must come up with creative solutions to address housing affordability.

Bruce-Lane: I am committed to increasing housing affordability. I will take a stand against bills that undermine local control of zoning – undermining home values and jeopardizing people’s retirement. We need to make it cheaper for builders to build, shorter timelines for permitting approvals, reduction in fees and continue to cut regulations.

What are your best ideas to reduce rising crime rates and growing homelessness in North County cities? Please give two examples of each.

Maienschein: I am proud that my record of strengthening public safety has earned me the endorsement of every major law enforcement organization in California. I helped secure more funding for law enforcement and successfully allocated $1 million to San Diego’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. We must also address the root causes of homelessness, including mental health, substance abuse and lack of affordable housing.

Bruce-Lane: Our criminal justice system is failing us. Reclassifying felonies to misdemeanors and early prisoner release has contributed to soaring crime rates. SVPs are allowed to live within walking distance of our schools. We need reform. I believe that everyone deserves a path off of our street. I have formed strategic partnerships within the community to provide targeted wrap-around services to transition the homeless. We cannot continue to throw money at this crisis with no accountability.

Where do you see opportunity for fruitful compromise or collaboration across the partisan aisle?

Maienschein: California has passed a number of bipartisan housing proposals aimed at increasing the development of affordable housing and promoting first-time home ownership.

Bruce-Lane: As a leader in resource conservation, and an elected Director of the Olivenhain Municipal Water District, I am focused on innovation that combats climate change and protects our Earth for the next generation. We need to solve homelessness. As a leader with experience having the strategic partners in place, we can create a model to solve this crisis.

76th

 

*Assemblywoman Tasha Boerner Horvath did not participate in this year’s questionnaire 

Briefly tell us about yourself and why you’re running

Dan Downey (R): We can’t continue to destroy the family budgets of working people with high electricity bills and gas prices. As a financial advisor, I know we could be spending our tax dollars more efficiently. CA’s plan on homelessness and crime doesn’t work.

If elected, what are some ways to help ease the growing financial burden on working-class families?

Downey: Gas tax relief is vital if you care about working families. I’d fight to repeal the CARB gas car ban, repeal the state taxes on gas and eliminate “special-blend” gas regulations that only exist in California. My radical extremist opponent is even left of Biden and Newsom. Biden was considering a gas tax repeal. Newsom supported a plan to give drivers a small $200-$400 check. Boerner-Horvath voted against a gas tax repeal or driver rebate checks.

Do you support SB 9 and SB 10? Why or why not? If not, please outline a different way to help ease the affordable housing crisis without impacting local control?

Downey: The California Legislature wants us to live in city centers with government-controlled trains taking us to work. They unfairly pick winners and losers with rent control or force taxpayers to pay hotels to create some type of universal housing. Worse yet, the Legislature passed a radical bill to allow multi-unit housing to be built next door to suburban homes – essentially gutting decades of agreed-on local zoning laws. Instead, I’d cut the taxes, fees and regulations on home building.

What are your best ideas to reduce rising crime rates and growing homelessness in North County cities? Please give two examples of each.

Downey: Repeal Prop 47. President of the California Police Chiefs Association said recently, “Prop 47 is a dismal failure and can, in fact, be blamed for the recent increase in homelessness and drug addiction, which is often financed by petty theft.” We need to admit that the state’s current strategy of “housing first” is a complete disaster and a return to enforcing property crimes. My radical opponent voted for taxpayer-funded needle injection sites as her solution, which even Governor Newsom vetoed.

Where do you see opportunity for fruitful compromise or collaboration across the partisan aisle?

Downey: I’d work with Democrat elected officials like Assemblyman Rudy Salas to repeal Prop 47 and would support Governor Newsom’s decision to retain nuclear power generation at Diablo Canyon. Democrats and Republicans have so many opportunities for fruitful compromise, but we must stop electing radical extremists like my opponent Tasha Boerner-Horvath.

77th

 

Jordan P. Ingram, Stephen Wyer, Steve Puterski, Laura Place, Samantha Nelson and Jacqueline Covey contributed reporting to this preview. 

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1 comment

steve333 September 30, 2022 at 5:00 pm

Catherine Blakespear is a liar and seems to enjoy it. You are not the only Pro Choice candidate and you know it, why do you keep parroting that lie?
This next paragraph is hilarious:

Blakespear: I have served in local elected office for nearly eight years. As a local elected official, I know the value of local control and the importance of the community’s participation in land use decision-making. Frankly, my opponent gives different answers to this question depending on who’s asking, but I’ve always been clear. I’m running for State Senate, and I believe the state has a role to play by providing cities with funding and helping to remove arbitrary barriers that block affordable housing.

Matt came right out and said he opposes SB9 and 10, while Blakespear says she is Pro SB9 and 10 without actually saying it directly.
Her mentor is corrupt Toni Atkins, author of SB9 and giver of kickbacks to her wife, who Blakespear hired. Whta a coincidence.

Blakespear refuses to debate, apparently she finds Democracy to be an irritant and expects to be anointed because of the D after her name. That D stands for Developer.
Blakespear the developer puppet doesn’t belong in any elected office, send her packing for good.

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