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The Tower

The Student News Site of The Bishop's School

The Tower

The Student News Site of The Bishop's School

The Tower

San Diego 2024 Election: Analyzing Four Different Candidates For Various Positions

Disclaimer: The Tower does not necessarily support the candidates mentioned over others
Flickr Photographer Phil Roeder
With the San Diego election coming right around the corner, there will be many voting centers set up all around San Diego. In-person voting is not the only option as one can send it in by mail, deliver the ballot to a ballot drop-off location, or drop it off at the closest voting center according to the Registrar of Voters website.

Elections in San Diego are set to take place in 2024, and once elected, politicians will tackle major issues plaguing San Diego. As a local citizen, student, and reporter, I was inspired to hear straight from the candidates. At the time, I found that only the Democratic Party had listed its candidates for the 2024 San Diego election on its website. I reached out to all the candidates I could through email. After some back and forth with their scheduler or themselves, I was able to interview two Democratic candidates. Later, I was also recommended to interview my third candidate, who is running as an independent. Additionally, I interviewed my fourth candidate, who is running for city attorney.

This article illustrates their respective viewpoints on the problems of homelessness and housing and their perspective on why they believe they are the standout candidate for the position they are running for. 

The candidates that I was able to interview were current District Five city council member Ms. Marni Von Wilpert, Mr. Fernando Garcia, current District Nine city council member and council president Mr. Sean Elo-Rivera, and current Chief Deputy City Attorney Ms. Heather Ferbert.

Ms. Von Wilpert is running for reelection, both Mr. Fernando Garcia and Mr. Elo-Rivera are running for the District Nine city council position, and Ms. Ferbert is running for the San Diego City Attorney’s position. 


Homelessness and Housing:


According to an article published by the University of San Diego, homelessness and the housing crisis are the two biggest problems plaguing San Diego. In light of this, Mr. Garcia says the city needs to enforce laws that say, “We the city are not going to enable homeless people to go to the bathroom, defecate, sleep, and urinate on the sidewalk.” He said, “In regards to where we are going to place them, for some people, short-term housing or safe camp spaces. Cost will be an issue so if we have money we need to spend wisely.”

Ms. Wilpert, on the other hand, strongly opposed homeless encampments on the streets, expressing that they would be unsafe for the surrounding community. “The county [has] the mental health counselors, the employees, and the budget to do all the human services. We need them to come onsite and provide substance abuse and mental health treatment onsite,” she said.

Connecting both problems of homelessness and housing, Mr. Elo-Rivera stated that more permanent, affordable, and supportive housing needs to be created. “We need to utilize models that were used in the past that have gone by the wayside like small studios and shared kitchens,” he said.

Ms. Ferbert also mentioned high housing costs as the cause of homelessness, and pushed the creation of a housing protection unit to address the rising costs of housing.“We are seeing people amongst our homeless population who are seniors who are now priced out of apartments that they used to be able to afford on their fixed incomes,” she said. “I worked on the eviction moratorium when the pandemic hit to make sure workers who couldn’t pay rent wouldn’t find themselves homeless,” Ms. Ferbert later said.

Regarding the housing crisis, Ms. Wilpert proposed repurposing hotels in the city that went out of business during the pandemic. “We are trying to build more housing in locations that make sense as fast as we can,” Ms. Wilpert later said.

Similarly, Mr. Elo-Rivera noted, “We are going to continue to push for the creation of more housing across the board, especially housing that’s affordable to folks who are making middle income or less. We have a supply issue in San Diego, it’s a fact and some people don’t like to recognize that, they think that there are plenty of homes or we just stop letting people move here: but that’s not consistent with reality.”

Adding to the idea of a supply and demand issue in the housing crisis, Mr. Garcia stated, “If you don’t work on the supply side and just work on the demand side, what that’s gonna do is create expensive housing and unaffordable housing.” He stated, “I’m going to do everything I can to make building a lot easier.” 


What makes these candidates unique for the position they are running for? 


Discussing what makes her a standout candidate, Ms. Wilpert explained: “I wrote the first law in the state of California to ban illegal ghost guns and the unregulated parts people were buying to make them at home, called ‘Eliminate Non-traceable Unserialized Firearms Ordinance’.” The bill requires that if anyone sells the part to make ghost weapons in San Diego, each part needs to have a registration or serial number on it. “Ghost guns are usually used in crimes and we really need to get them off our street, one reason why I would like to earn people’s support,” said Ms. Von Wilpert.

Another city council member, Mr. Elo-Rivera, who is running for re-election, asserted that he has the ability to get things done – seen in his tenure as a city council member so far. “I have demonstrated an ability to effectively move policy and influence the budget in a way that’s beneficial to District Nine to secure important funding for roads, staffing, street lights, and major investments in infrastructure like parks, to do that in a way that’s equitable that recognizes the needs of communities that have been underserved,” Mr. Elo-Rivera said. He also mentioned that he has ensured San Diego and District Nine’s interests in the transportation and mobility sectors of the community. 

Mr. Garcia, who is running against Mr. Elo-Rivera explained, “One of the main advantages I have is I come from a small business background, so I understand what it takes for an individual to come up with an idea and actually turn it into something.” He added, “Being a registered independent, I can look at things with an open mind and just use common sense to solve the problems that we have and that’s what separates me from the other candidates.”


City Attorney


The job of a city attorney is to “serve as chief legal advisor to the Mayor, City Council, and all City departments, and as the City’s prosecutor. She defends City taxpayers in lawsuits, and protects residents and the quality of life in our neighborhoods,” according to San Diego.gov.

As the city attorney’s office has a budget constraint, Ms. Ferbert said, “I think it’s really making sure that we are aligning our work with the policy direction of the mayor and the council, and that’s done through the budget. It’s really important that we have a strong city attorney who will lobby for the budget that they need to run the office efficiently and effectively.”

On the topic of equality and a fair justice system, she commented, “Working together collaboratively to improve community trust and keep our community safe is critically important.” Ms. Ferbert identified that the mayor and the San Diego Police Department must work hand in hand to implement changes that make the process of pretext stops smoother. Pretext stops are “initiated by law enforcement for a minor traffic violation, with the actual purpose of investigating or searching for evidence of another, unrelated crime,” according to Law Office Of Jordan Marsh. For instance, an officer pulls you over for speeding, but their true intention is to search your vehicle for drugs or other illegal things. She identified that the mayor and the San Diego Police Department must work hand in hand to implement changes that make the process pretext stops smoother. 

Looking at her future plans if elected, Ms. Ferbert mentioned making lasting improvements on housing, homelessness, the way the city develops land, the process to develop new housing and new buildings, and our environment.  She also wanted to provide high-quality legal work quickly and have good relationships with not only the community but also clients, departments, and elected officials.  

With many internal problems, and numerous possible solutions to address homelessness, the stakes of this election couldn’t be much higher. Whether you are a Republican, Democrat, Independent, or supporter of another party, get your popcorn and TV ready for an action-packed San Diego and nationwide 2024 Election.

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About the Contributor
David Lai, Staff Writer
David Lai, the only returning staff writer, is a junior who loves playing soccer. No matter if he sleeps one hour or 10 hours, he always has a full tank of energy.  He loves MUN, speech and debate, and knows how to speak four languages. Whether he is hanging out with friends, talking to his siblings, doing homework, playing video games or soccer, David is always energetic. He loves writing about sports, politics, MUN, Nobel Peace Prize winners, and more. 

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