San Diego Can Work Better—for Everyone.
Between now and March 3, 2020, we’ll have a lot to talk about. I’ll be rolling out new ideas, policies, and initiatives the whole way. Make sure to visit regularly for updates and news.
My plans for San Diego include:
[ Click a topic to expand + read. ]
The Solution is not One-size-fits-all
Homelessness is up 5% across San Diego County. In certain areas, it has increased as much as 27%. Areas near public transportation are heavily affected. Homelessness is tragic for people who need a roof over their head, and it negatively affects the way tourists + locals feel about San Diego, hurting our economy.
Various groups are impacted, with veterans heavily represented. We need a solution.
To help more people, we first need to identify the subpopulations within the homeless community. That way, we can truly serve specific needs.
For instance, we must amplify resources for homeless veterans, who comprise a sizable portion of San Diego’s homeless community. The City of San Diego can promote non-profit services like 2-1-1 San Diego, a veteran-staffed, confidential 24/7 helpline, and expand more ways to assist homeless vets.
Together, we can solve homelessness. Let’s start immediately—and offer more of our community the support it needs.
We Must Prioritize Mental Health
According to a May 2018 report, the percent of homeless veterans in San Diego has increased 45 percent, bringing the number to 1,312. Homeless veterans often suffer from untreated mental health problems such as PTSD, depression, and drug dependency.
Many of our non-veteran homeless residents suffer from the same ailments.
Our current homeless policies aren’t working. And our mental health services are lacking. So, what can we do?
We’ll bring cutting-edge mental health studies to San Diego.
Expanding tourism to District 7.
San Diego is estimated to attract 35 million+ visitors each year. With such a strong tourism industry along the coast & downtown, why not bring more tourism revenue eastward?
Our city can direct more business toward District 7 and its surrounding neighborhoods. Restaurants run by local entrepreneurs, lodging accommodations in the area, and shop owners can all benefit.
We can also team up with ride share services to offer special packages for visitors. That way, our local drivers get more business + our visitors get around easier—and stimulate more of our economy.
Promoting the amazing small businesses and places to stay in eastern San Diego is an easy step to take.
Stepping up education.
We must ensure San Diego’s education system takes care of every student. That means when budget cuts happen, a creative solution needs to fill that financial gap.
Because I work with students via my small business, and represent students as an attorney, I have a window into the ways we can improve education, across the board.
During the San Diego City Council Election 2020, let’s ask the tough questions:
- Are special-education programs getting the funding they need?
- Do we have a reporting system in place to ensure that all students in San Diego’s public schools receive the best education possible?
- Are we using technology to form low-cost solutions to obstacles in education?
- How are we giving students access to the best technology—the type that prepares them for the future?
I’m committed to effective education for all students, in District 7 and extending to every San Diego community.
Streamlining + organizing veterans services.
When we show that we value our veterans—with true concern, accessible resources, and extensive opportunities—we show how much we appreciate their service.
In San Diego and across the country, veterans services are fragmented. As a result, vets may not be aware of all the opportunities available to them. Put plainly, the government’s setup is outdated.
We have to streamline + organize veterans resources. Let’s create a web-based Veterans Resource Network (VRN) for San Diego. Building on what websites like Hire Heroes USA and Veterans Benefits Network have begun, our government can provide an accessible, centralized hub.
Everything from job listings to health resources information would be readily available. Veterans could volunteer to help other vets, whether mentoring, providing housing, locating jobs for veterans, or offering other guidance for soldiers returning to civilian life.
On the VRN, veterans would get free rideshare vouchers for job interviews. This way, the government eases the burden of coordinating a ride to those crucial appointments. With these rideshare vouchers, we can go beyond connecting veterans to jobs listings: The City of San Diego can help get them there.
Starting in San Diego, then expanding to a national program, we can make a real impact on veterans’ lives.
Shielding cannabis businesses from crime.
Did you know that people working at marijuana dispensaries—and cannabis businesses in general—risk becoming a target for violent crime?
Because banks don’t wish to get entangled with a federally illegal substance, licensed cannabis businesses are cash-only. This means that robberies—not just to steal marijuana, but to grab the stockpiles of cash—are lucrative for criminals.
Entrepreneurs in the emerging marijuana business face serious danger. For instance, in Orange County, a dispensary owner who was kidnapped, then brutally tortured and disfigured. His kidnappers believed he’d buried cash in the desert. Even employees are targets. Why? Because their paychecks are cash-only too.
Cash-only is a real problem for an economically strong business. We can make San Diego work for licensed cannabis businesses—and shield their owners and employees from danger.
Let’s solve this problem with a cannabis-friendly bank in San Diego, chartered by the state or local government. We have momentum from the SAFE Banking Act in the US Congress, as well as California Assembly Bill 857. Working with the folks in the state legislature and governor’s office, I’ll advocate strongly for a cannabis-friendly bank in our city.
Traffic in San Diego is no joke. According to a 2016 article, “residents in the southeast corner of San Diego County have some of the longest and earliest morning commutes.” In District 7, everyone is familiar with the backlog around Fashion Valley Mall and the stadium. And no one would debate that going north in the morning—or south in the evening—is incredibly taxing.
Not to mention that all those cars on the road cause pollution & potholes, both of which degrade the quality of our city.
So what’s the solution? We can and should continue to build large scale improvements to our roadways & public transit. But that takes time and money, and that construction causes more traffic while it’s happening.
So how do we curb traffic in the interim? Let’s start with these three steps.
- Cut the commute for many San Diego government workers
- Use readily-available data to combat traffic collisions & make fast, meaningful improvements
- Get private employers on board with telecommuting
Revolutionizing mental health
Our mental health services are lacking.
Both San Diego State University and the University of California San Diego regularly run studies on issues like PTSD, depression, and substance abuse. UCSD alone has over 1,000 studies on these topics.
Right now, researchers elsewhere are working to determine whether psychedelics can effectively treat many of the conditions that resist other remediation. Vox noted: “Psychedelics show promise in alleviating some of the conditions that have proven hardest to treat — addiction, obsessive compulsive disorder, end-of-life anxiety, and, in some cases, depression are notorious for their resistance to treatment. Smoking relapse rates, for instance, have been estimated at 60 to 90 percent within one year, even as smoking kills hundreds of thousands each year.”
It’s time to bring these studies to our front door, so we can reap their benefits.
Making housing affordable
According to the San Diego Tourism Authority, San Diego hotels have opened or plan to open 2,379 new rooms this year. And in 2020, they’ll open 1,500 more. Some experts are now saying that hotel growth is going to outpace demand between now and 2023.
Tourism is great for San Diego. It brings in massive revenue streams and fills the City’s coffers with tax dollars we can use to maintain streets and fund schools.
But San Diego is in a housing crisis. And we can’t allow hotel expansions—especially ones that might outpace actual demand—to take precedence over developing affordable housing for our residents. Nor can we allow high-priced houses to fill every inch of free land.
Some politicians—from both major parties—oppose affordable housing. They go so far as to imply that affordable housing makes their neighborhoods worse. They’re known as NIMBYs – “Not in My Back Yard.”
But I’m a YIMBY—Yes, in My Back Yard. The reason is simple: I’m a YIMBY because I believe in freedom.
And let’s be real: you’re not free if you don’t have a roof over your head. You may not be free to get a job, because you don’t have a mailing address. Or if you do have a job, you might lose it because you don’t have a reliable, safe place to sleep.
In other words, you’re under the control of your misfortune.
And you’re not free if you live in unaffordable housing, either. If you’re paying upwards of fifty percent, or more, of your monthly income in rent, you don’t have a dime left to spare, let alone save. And when you can’t save, you’re not free to start your own business, put a down payment on a mortgage, go back to school, send your kids to college, or even have a rainy day fund.
Affordable housing is a human right—and a cornerstone of individual freedom.
And I’ve got a plan to make affordable housing a reality in San Diego.
First, I’ll fight to open a public bank. That bank will finance housing developments by the City of San Diego, using low- or no-interest loans. Then, we’ll competitively price the City’s housing developments, making them accessible to everyone. That will also drive down the price of commercial real estate.