I’m a few hours into my assignment to cover the City Council election in District 7.

I started the day at 8 a.m., on a chilly Starbucks patio in Mission Valley, where I met with Scott Sherman, the soft-spoken Republican Party-backed candidate for the seat, which is being vacated by Marti Emerald. Emerald’s running instead for the newly created District 9, and four candidates have lined up to compete for her seat.

Next, I met with amiable Rik Hauptfeld, who I sat down with at another Starbucks a few miles north in Tierrasanta. By this time, the sun had heated up enough to drive us indoors, and I talked with Hauptfeld and a couple of his volunteer team members for almost 90 minutes about his campaign and the issues facing the neighborhoods that surrounded us. I’m also planning on meeting with the other two candidates, Mat Kostrinsky and Nathan Johnson.

I’ll be posting more details about those meetings in a later post.

I’m still gathering information on the district, which includes Tierrasanta, San Carlos, Allied Gardens and Mission Valley (see this map for the boundaries). Help me out: Who should I talk to? Where should I go?

By this point, I have a good idea of the initial issues I want to look into. Thanks to these initial meetings and input from some readers who have sent me ideas and concerns (thank you so much for all your help, Caren Dufour), I’ve narrowed down some topics to look into. What am I missing from my list below?

Here’s a quick shortlist:

Growth and new development: This is a big concern, especially along Grantville’s Mission Gorge corridor, which is slated for thousands of new condo units. Residents want to make sure this development is managed carefully and smartly, and I think I’ll be spending much of the day down in that area tomorrow.

Public safety: Particularly brush abatement and adequate fire protection are a particular concern in canyon-riddled neighborhoods like Tierrasanta. Residents want to make sure they’re covered if there’s a repeat of 2007’s wildfires. On a hot, dry day like this, it’s clear to coastal dwellers like myself just how much of a worry this is to our inland neighbors.

New military housing: Apparently, the Navy has plans for thousands of new military homes on Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. Residents want to know how that growth will be managed, and how local infrastructure will be adapted and improved to make sure new homes and residents are accommodated.

Potholes: Ah! The old favorite. I’ve been given the names of some streets to drive down to see the potholes. I’m thinking of taking some short videos with my iPad and posting them online. Any suggestions for where I should go?

These are just a few initial ideas.

Now, where should I eat? I’m starving!

Send me an email at will.carless@voiceofsandiego.org or send me a text on my cell phone: 760.576.8615. Or you can get in touch via Twitter or Facebook on the links below.

District 7, I look forward to hearing from you.

Will Carless is an investigative reporter at voiceofsandiego.org. You can reach him at will.carless@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.550.5670.

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Will Carless was formerly the head of investigations at Voice of San Diego.

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