You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

2020 election: Q&A with Joe LaCava candidate for San Diego City Council District 1

San Diego Union Tribune logo San Diego Union Tribune 10/17/2020
Joe LaCava wearing a suit and tie: Joe LaCava is a candidate for San Diego City Council District 1. (Howard Lipin/The San Diego Union-Tribune) © (Howard Lipin/The San Diego Union-Tribune) Joe LaCava is a candidate for San Diego City Council District 1. (Howard Lipin/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

The San Diego Union-Tribune Editorial Board recently emailed a series of questions to Democrat Joe LaCava, who is running for San Diego City Council District 1 against Democrat Will Moore.

Combined with flu season, the pandemic may pose even greater problems for San Diegans this winter. How will you balance public health and the economy if shutdowns are needed?

I will push for the city to continue to follow the recommendations issued by the county’s public health officer while seeking regulatory relief for small businesses trying desperately to keep their businesses afloat. The health of our local economy is directly tied with how well we keep infection and hospitalization rates under control. The public health and safety of residents should continue to be the city’s number one priority.

How satisfied are you with the progress the city has made on its Climate Action Plan and how will you ensure its legally binding goals are met?

Largely due to state and federal mandates and policies, the city was able to easily meet most of its climate action targets for 2020, but we have a long way to go in meeting the next round of goals. Having a Climate Action Plan is one thing but putting together a road map on how we will achieve our climate targets is another, which is why I have been promoting the need for a Climate Implementation Plan. Tough conversations lie ahead on the mechanisms the city will need to implement, and I am ready to take the lead on those talks when taking office. Local efforts alone will not stop the impacts of climate change, so we must also craft an adaptation plan to inform us on future land use and infrastructure decisions, especially along our coastline.

Neighborhoods south of Interstate 8, including communities of color, don’t always get the funding or consideration wealthier communities to the north get. How will you address that?

I have been working with social justice organizations and understand the very real challenges those communities face. Despite some well-intentioned efforts, we have not realized the changes needed to create a more equitable city. One of my priorities is to lend my support and partner with council offices in District 4, 8 and 9 to advocate for their needed funding of services and infrastructure. As San Diegans, we must ensure that all residents and business have the opportunity to thrive. The investment we make will yield great benefits to those residents and our city as a whole. I also look forward to the re-start of the Barrio Logan Community Plan Update. As a frontline community, we have not done enough to address air pollution and the high asthma rates experienced in that neighborhood; adopting the plan update is a good place to start.

How, specifically, will you address the high cost of housing in San Diego?

Market-rate housing is important for our economy to thrive; income-restricted housing is our social obligation. There is no more important question for San Diegans. And yet we face few options. The old solution of just pushing out to cheap land in the grassy fields of San Diego and Riverside County is no longer available. We must continue updating community plans to maximize opportunities for additional housing where we have good infrastructure and existing high-quality transit. We also must not ignore our perennial failure to deliver housing affordable to our moderate- and low-income families. To that end, we must pursue every option, such as leveraging publicly owned land, considering alternative construction, building homes on religious facilities (YIGBY) and on parking lots in “clean industry” areas, and continuing to leverage state and federal funds to meet our responsibility.

What will homelessness in San Diego look like at the end of your four-year term?

My hope is that we are well underway in implementing the Community Action Plan on Homelessness. I hope we build on the strategy employed during the pandemic, which brought individuals and families together with on-site social providers. While not a perfect system, it demonstrated that when we bring compassion and a concentrated effort, we can move individuals and families into housing more efficiently. My hope is we will sustain that momentum in the years to come, which must include more investment in rapid rehousing programs to prevent individuals suffering from temporary financial setbacks from becoming chronically homeless. In four years, I would also like to see increased permanent supportive housing opportunities with wrap-around services to help the chronically homeless suffering from drug addiction and mental health issues, while offering recovering individuals the assistance they need to find jobs. I am hopeful the county will continue to step up in using their state and federal grants to provide health and human services.

Will — and how will — you accept and evaluate Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s proposal to redevelop the sports arena site?

The handling of this prime opportunity continues to demonstrate the failed handling of real estate by the outgoing administration. The request for proposal (RFP) should not have been issued in the first place. The triple negative of COVID-19, uncertainty regarding the height limit and the reality that negotiations would occur under a different administration placed the opportunity in the poorest light. It was no surprise that there were only two responsive bidders for a golden opportunity near the heart of the city, close to transit, and with little constraint to redevelopment. On top of that, the RFP failed to recognize the importance of leveraging this city-owned land for more affordable housing options. The two proposers participated in a fair and responsive manner, and I respect their effort. I look to the next mayor to lead on this conversation.

Read our Q&A with the other candidate in this race:

Read our interview from the primary:

Watch our video interview with the candidates in this race:

This story originally appeared in San Diego Union-Tribune.

AdChoices
AdChoices

More From San Diego Union Tribune

San Diego Union Tribune
San Diego Union Tribune
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon