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Candidate Forum and Upcoming Special Election for County Supervisor in District 4

Keeping Climate Change and Environmental Justice front and center in this key election

By Joshua Piedra, SD350 Board Member

When is the Special election and why is it happening? 

County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher resigned on May 15th due to a sexual harassment scandal. This has left a vacancy for District 4 and a politically divided Board of Supervisors. The Board of Supervisors discussed their options and decided to hold a special election to fill the vacancy. 

The special election to fill the vacancy in D4 is scheduled for Tuesday, August 15th. If no candidate receives a majority of the votes on August 15th, the top two candidates will advance to a run-off election on November 7th.

What does a County Supervisor do?

Let’s start with the important role the County Government plays in the region. San Diego County is huge – the 2nd most populous county in California and the 5th most populous in the U.S. The County is divided into 5 Supervisorial Districts, each with one County Supervisor representative, serving 675,829 people in the district. 

The County Supervisors decide how the County Government budget is distributed and set out  policies for the County. The day to day operations are handled by the county’s staff of over 20,000 employees. 

The County Government manages massive public resources – an $8.1 Billion budget – which it uses to administer many of the County’s social services, including health care, mental health and substance abuse services, and food and housing assistance. They run elections, oversee regional disaster response, collect child support, and provide health and safety monitoring. They also provide public services to smaller cities that can’t provide their own.  

The County Government also manages the County’s unincorporated area (essentially serving as the City Council for its 400,000 residents). The County provides parks and libraries, builds and maintains roads, oversees zoning and development. The sheriff’s department provides law enforcement services while County Fire provides firefighters and paramedics.

Most importantly, the County Government has historically had a large impact on local politics. The County Government covers all of the land and various cities that are within the region of San Diego County. It is huge, geographically diverse, and full of societal diversity. Having such a large stake, the County Government has been the broker between cities and governmental agencies for a very long time. When the County Government takes action, cities and governmental agencies tend to follow.

Why does this matter to SD350? 

It matters because of what we care about: climate action and environmental justice. The politics of the Board of Supervisors has changed drastically in the past few years, giving us an opportunity to push for climate actions and investment that centers those most impacted by climate change. 

Progress in the past few years has included creating and staffing up an Office of Sustainability and Environmental Justice at the County and development of a Regional Decarbonization Framework. Our work has focused on advocating for a Climate Action Plan for the unincorporated areas of the County that puts us on track to achieve state requirements, pushing to expand public transit and limit sprawl development, and investing the necessary funding to decarbonize our region. 

However, with Fletcher’s resignation, the most ethnically diverse district in the County is without representation, the County Government is politically divided, and key policies and programs have come to a standstill. 

Given what is at stake for the region and for District 4 constituents, it is critically important that District 4 residents learn about the candidates and turn out to vote in the special election. 

Where can I learn about the candidates and their positions on climate change? 

There are four candidates listed with the Registrar of Voters. These are: 

  • Janessa Goldbeck, Marine Corps veteran and CEO of Vet Voice Foundation
  • Paul McQuigg, Military veteran and speaker for disabled veterans
  • Monica Montgomery Steppe, San Diego City Council President Pro-Tem
  • Amy Reichert, small business owner and founder of ReOpen San Diego

To learn about the candidates’ positions on our core areas, SD350 is working with partner organizations to host a Candidate Forum for the District 4 Special Election that is completely focused on climate change and environmental justice. Here are all the details: 

What: D4 Candidate Forum on climate change and environmental justice
When: Friday, July 14th. The Forum is 6-7:30 pm with doors opening 5 pm and mingling with candidates / organization tabling 5-6 pm and 7:30-8:30 pm. 
Where: First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Diego in Hillcrest – in Bard Hall. 
Why: This is a great opportunity to learn more about the candidates, hear how they respond to both our allies and your questions, and be with the community! 

RSVP now to reserve your seat and use this form (will update soon) to sign up and if you’d like, submit a question for the candidates.

Who votes in this Special Election?

District 4 (see map) includes City of San Diego communities Bay Park, Bay Ho, Clairemont Mesa, North Clairemont, Hillcrest, Balboa Park, North Park, Bankers Hill, Old Town, Mission Hills, Normal Heights, University Heights, Oak Park, Webster, Valencia Park, Encanto, Bay Terrace, Paradise Hills, Skyline, Kearny Mesa, Linda Vista, Birdland, Serra Mesa, Civita, portions of Grantville, City Heights, Rolando, Azalea Park, Chollas Creek, Rolando Park, Kensington-Talmadge, Montezuma Mesa, Mid-City, and SDSU Mission Valley, as well as Lemon Grove, La Mesa and the unincorporated communities of Crest-Dehesa, Spring Valley, Casa de Oro, Mt Helix, and Rancho San Diego.

How do I vote?

If you live in District 4, expect to receive a Ballot by mail in the week of July 16th, with Ballot drop-off locations being available beginning July 18th. In-person voting centers will be available starting August 5th and through August 15th. If you’d like to vote in person be sure to bring your mailed ballot to the location. For more information, visit the Registrar of Voters website.