San Diego Decides is Voice of San Diego’s elections podcast. Hosts Sara Libby and Ry Rivard break down individual races and ballot measures San Diegans will weigh in on this year, as well bigger issues like the mechanics of voting, state-level drama and more.


In this week’s episode, hosts Sara Libby and Ry Rivard talked about three big races: the race for mayor, the race for city attorney and the race for the District 9 City Council seat.

Sara and Andrew Keatts interviewed mayoral candidate Ed Harris, and share some excerpts of that conversation. Harris addresses why he decided to get in the race, and what separates him from Mayor Kevin Faulconer even though they seemingly have a lot in common.

Next up: the race for city attorney saw some verbal sparring between Rafael Castellanos and Gil Cabrera, as Voice of San Diego’s Andrew Keats wrote about recently. Both candidates have been preparing to run for several years, so they both have a lot invested in winning. A third candidate, Mara Elliott, has not received as much attention or money, but she may have a built-in advantage with her title, “chief deputy city attorney.”

The race for City Council’s District 9 is also starting to heat up, with three main candidates contending for the position: Ricardo Flores, chief of staff for outgoing Councilwoman Marti Emerald, Georgette Gomez, associate director at the Environmental Health Coalition, and Sarah Saez, program director for the United Taxi Workers.

KPBS reporter Megan Burks, who’s covered City Heights and surrounding communities for years, stopped by to talk about the unusual dynamics at work in D9. Two neighborhoods separated essentially by just a roadway are actually a world apart: Kensington has a 60-70 percent voter turnout and its median income is about $90K a year. By contrast, City Heights’ voter turnout can be as low as 14 percent, its median income is $21K a year.

Crazy Ballot Initiatives

Sara plans to highlight a few of the strangest measures vying to make the November ballot in each episode. First up: A measure that would require candidates and lawmakers to take regular lie detector tests, and another that would restrict any speech that has to do with Holocaust denial.

Our Favorite Things This Week

Sara: Acting as VOSD’s pop culture ambassador, Sara selected Rihanna’s new album, Anti.

Ry: Bruce Lightner, who’s running to replace his wife, Sherri Lightner, as the City Council rep for District 1, compared their combined power to one of the great American political dynasties. Asked if he’ll get a name-recognition boost, he told the Union-Tribune:  “It won’t be the first time. Look at the Kennedy dynasty.”

Megan: A city in New York has created a Hamsterdam to address the heroin epidemic: a part of town where you can use safely and freely. Former KPBS reporter Tarryn Mento pointed out that this is basically “The Wire” come to life.

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