The end of a dynasty in San Diego County politics is here. Thursday, Supervisor Pam Slater-Price announced she would not seek re-election in 2012, meaning the county will have a new supervisor for the first time since 1995. From the Union-Tribune:

Slater-Price, who will have spent two decades on the board, said she has been planning to step down since her re-election in 2008.

“I am proud of what I have accomplished,” Slater-Price, 67, said in an interview Thursday with The San Diego Union-Tribune. “Quality of life for my district and the region has always been my first concern and I stuck to that principle my entire time on the board.

“Of course, I am pleased to have been part of a board that maintained a financially sound county government. We worked hard as a team to balance our budget and pay for capital projects in cash.”

The staying power of Slater-Price and her four colleagues on the county board has been an anomaly in an era of term limits and changing demographics. All five supervisors are white, Republican, San Diego State University graduates. They used the power of incumbency, large districts and a lack of drama over county issues to overcome political missteps and, in some regions, party registration that favored Democrats.

“Asking you to run against [East County Supervisor] Dianne Jacob is like asking you to jam bamboo shoots under your fingernails,” Jerry Butkiewicz, then-secretary-treasurer of the San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council, told us in 2006. “You’ll have to dedicate the next year and have to raise a ton of money, and for what? You’re still going to lose.”

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Seeds of change to the county board were planted last June. Voters overwhelmingly passed a term-limit initiative, which would have guaranteed new board members by 2018. Also, Supervisors Bill Horn and Ron Roberts were pushed to runoff elections. Only once before had a current supervisor faced a runoff as an incumbent. Horn and Roberts still trounced their opponents in November’s general election.

More recently, the supervisors approved a new redistricting map that created a majority-minority district for the first time. South Bay Supervisor Greg Cox now holds that seat and he’s up for re-election in 2012.

The early favorite to replace Slater-Price is Steve Danon, the chief of staff to Republican Congressman Brian Bilbray. Danon announced he was challenging Slater-Price more than two years ago and has racked up cash and endorsements ever since.

But in a sign of the more things change, the more they stay the same, Danon also is a white, Republican, San Diego State graduate.

Liam Dillon is a news reporter for He covers San Diego City Hall, the 2012 mayor’s race and big building projects. What should he write about next?

Please contact him directly at or 619.550.5663.

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Liam Dillon

Liam Dillon was formerly a senior reporter and assistant editor for Voice of San Diego. He led VOSD’s investigations and wrote about how regular people...

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