Raging debates about changing the way city elections work, intense talks about the future of downtown, brutally honest conversations about race and the gaping political divide – Politifest happened two weeks ago, but can you blame Scott Lewis and Andrew Keatts for bringing it up again?
In this week’s podcast, the hosts piece together some interesting moments from Voice of San Diego’s all-day political affairs festival that went down at San Diego State University on Sept. 24.
Measure K was by far the most fiery debate of all. The proposal would change the way the city of San Diego’s elections work by requiring races to go to runoffs in the November general election. Far fewer voters show up to June primaries than to the November general.
Those opposing it say they’re not against changing elections, but they’re against the process used to put K on the ballot — officials should have studied the options more, they argue.
“We should have had a public discussion to talk about whether this is the right system for San Diego,” said Councilman Chris Cate.
Labor leader Mickey Kasparian, who’s in favor of Measure K, said arguing about the process misses the point.
“First and foremost it should be about democracy and full voter participation,” Kasparian said. “Why would we want the smallest amount of voters to decide the people who lead us? It makes no sense at all.”
You can watch the full debate here.
The debate over Measure C was, of course, popular and packed. Measure C is the Chargers-backed initiative that would raise the hotel-room tax in the city of San Diego to pay for the construction of a joint stadium and convention center in San Diego’s East Village.
San Diego architect Rob Quigley opposes Measure C. He lives in the East Village and he said the convadium would kill the character it’s in the middle of developing.
“The East Village area is on fire, there are 3,260 … living units, homes under construction, within two blocks of the stadium site and not many people want to live next to a football stadium,” he said. “Football stadiums are not the same as baseball stadiums.”
On the other side of the great stadium debate was Chargers adviser and land-use expert Marcela Escobar-Eck. She said that the argument that the stadium and convention center annex will create blight in the East Village isn’t factual.
“To say that somehow building the stadium downtown brings blight but building it in Mission Valley does not just doesn’t make sense from a land-use perspective,” she said.
Watch the full Measure C debate here.
Lewis and Keatts also dug up clips from both keynote speakers, activist DeRay Mckesson and conservative political commentator Reihan Salam.
If you’re wondering about the Politifest debate about Measure A, a proposal from the San Diego Association of Governments that would levy a half-cent sales tax to fund transportation and infrastructure projects throughout the county, don’t worry: Lewis and Keatts are working on something for a future episode.
Big news, ya’ll: It’s over. Faulconer Watch is donesies. Mayor Kevin Faulconer has ended his silence endorsed the Chargers’ bid to build a convadium in the East Village and fund it with a hotel-room tax. He said what won him over were the promises he was able to get from the team.
Lewis put Faulconer’s decision into context by digging up some of the mayor’s past thoughts on promises related to tax hikes.