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Ron Roberts and Stephen Whitburn have steered away from promises in their campaigns for county supervisor. We asked them to make some.

Here’s the final part of their answers, talking about traffic congestion, fire protection and a controversial grants program.

Do you believe traffic congestion needs to be improved in the district? If so, how? If not, why not?

Roberts: Yes. Improvements I worked for in bus routing will make for speedier trips on popular routes. Expanding the trolley to UCSD will allow residents to travel more easily to employment, medical, educational and recreational opportunities. I will aggressively pursue funding, such as the $15.8 million we collected this year after suing the state.

Whitburn: Traffic is definitely a problem and will only get worse as our population expands. I believe we can mitigate this issue through responsible community planning and investments in our mass transit system. Development should focus on the urban core where infrastructure is better able to handle it, and we must revisit our mass transit system to get people out of their cars.

Do you believe fire protection services need to be improved? If so, how? If not, why not?

Roberts: More dollars are being spent on county fire protection, the opposite of what is happening in most other local agencies. I remain disappointed in the failure two years ago of Proposition A, which would have raised $50 million annually for regional fire protection. Despite his recently expressed concern, my opponent couldn’t even remember if he voted for it.

Whitburn: A county fire department is necessary. Our current supervisors never seemed to learn from the devastating 2003 and 2007 wildfires that we need a real fire plan and we need it right away. I have called on the board to fully staff 18 existing stations that are currently staffed by volunteers at a cost of less than $10 million. It’s time for action.

What, if anything, would you change about the Neighborhood Reinvestment Program?

Roberts: We have made extensive changes to this program over the last 12 months and need time to digest their impact on our partnerships with nonprofits and neighborhood groups. With the tenuous economy and high-unemployment, the support this program provides recipients has never been more crucial.

Whitburn: The supervisors have turned the program into political slush funds. Ron Roberts has given $850,000 of our tax money to a China trade lobbyist group, which in turn has sent him on six all-expense paid junkets to China. A fair, transparent, and inclusive process could include a citizens’ commission to make grant funding recommendations to the supervisors.

Please contact Keegan Kyle directly at keegan.kyle@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.550.5668 and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/keegankyle.

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