Richard Bailey is running for something.
Over the last couple months, Bailey has sent mailers to homes across the county touting a “San Diego Comeback.” The latest features a picture of Bailey, the mayor of Coronado, a Republican, gazing out over the ocean while he rolls his sleeve up. He says he has “the solution” to homelessness. It recommends a website where a video, very much like a campaign ad, is the first thing you see.
“Our local government is failing the San Diego region and they’re ignoring us. It doesn’t have to be this way. I’m Coronado Mayor Richard Bailey and I’m committed to helping the San Diego region make a comeback,” he says in the video.
Richard Bailey is running for something. But what?
Until this week, the obvious answer was District 3 on the County Board of Supervisors. The district shifted. Where it once stretched from the North County coast to Escondido and down to La Jolla, now it no longer includes Escondido and instead covers the whole coast from Carlsbad to the Imperial Beach border. Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer represents the district and is running for re-election.
Though the district has a 12-point Democratic advantage and both President Biden and Gov. Gavin Newsom won it by almost double that, a lot of Republicans don’t like Lawson-Remer and Bailey clearly senses an opportunity. He filed to run in the district.
Not so fast: Bailey tried to climb Mt. Everest and when he returned, he had company in the race. Former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer now is interested in running.
Faulconer had wanted to be mayor again. While he had been termed out, Mayor Todd Gloria has now served a full term in office. That means Faulconer is eligible again. But the polling for Faulconer’s great return to City Hall wasn’t ideal. It showed Gloria was vulnerable. But ousting an incumbent mayor, a Democrat, on Election Day with Biden running for re-election against perhaps former President Donald Trump, didn’t look very appealing.
The Lincoln Club, a conservative political action committee, commissioned a poll with Competitive Edge asking voters for their preferences in a hypothetical Faulconer versus Lawson-Remer contest instead. John Nienstedt, the pollster, told me that results looked good for Faulconer including after voters heard a litany of negative messages about Faulconer.
Faulconer, we hear, is in. His team declined to comment.
And the pressure is on Bailey to back off. Coronado represents a much smaller part of the new district than the city of San Diego where Faulconer served as City Councilman and mayor for many years. Voters know Faulconer’s name far better (despite the nice new mailers Bailey has sent out).
Bailey is not backing off. He didn’t address Faulconer directly when I talked to him but he threw some implied shade.
“It’s clear to me that the regional problems we face — from homelessness to crime to the unaffordability of housing — is due to years of bad policy making. I don’t have confidence that current or former regional leaders are up to the task of addressing these issues in a meaningful way. I haven’t made a decision, but I am strongly considering running for county board of supervisors,” he said.
“… or former regional leaders…” just a savage attack on Faulconer.
Lawson-Remer is amused: The incumbent feels very confident that she can run for re-election on her record and the partisan makeup and demographics of the district are to her great advantage.
“We’ve done transformative work at the county to ensure it actually serves people,” she said.
On Bailey, she said she would love to compare and contrast their approaches to housing and guns. She said his prominent position as a leader on gun rights would not sell well to the moms in her district.
A debate between Bailey and Lawson-Remer on housing and where it should be built would be great.
But she was gleeful at the chance to face Faulconer.
“It’s shocking to me anyone would think he was a viable candidate. As mayor, he made a deal at 101 Ash Street where his friend made off with almost $10 million while the city got stuck with millions in losses and had to borrow to pay it off,” she said.
Just How Many Tax Hikes Are Too Many on a Ballot?
This week, a coalition of labor leaders and climate activists launched a new campaign to gather signatures to put a half-cent sales tax increase on the ballot next year to support SANDAG’s transit and road plans. The main leaders seem to be the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, IBEW 569, the laborers, LiUNA 89 and Carpenters 619.
The last effort to do this, you may remember, ended after the Registrar of Voters determined that the campaign had come up short on signatures wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars of donations from mostly labor unions.
But that’s just one measure: We reported in February that San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria and Councilman Raul Campillo were working on their own half-cent sales tax increase for the city of San Diego. The plan is for the City Council to put it on the ballot as a general tax increase.
As such, it would only need a majority of voters to support, not two-thirds. But the city would also have to refrain from promising exactly where the money would go.
Gloria and Campillo and their allies are still pushing it.
So, yes, there are two separate efforts to put two separate half-cent sales tax increases on the ballot. One for the whole county for transit and one for just the city of San Diego for city of San Diego needs.
There’s an assumption in local politics that if you have multiple tax increases on a ballot, they will confuse and concern voters and cannibalize each other. But even if you don’t accept that assumption, two competing sales tax increases would certainly be a problem for proponents.
“I don’t see a lot of reason for concern in the data that having multiple measures on a ballot is super problematic,” said Michael Zucchet, the general manager of the largest union of city employees, the Municipal Employees’ Association. “However, having two sales tax measures on the ballot is not ideal. I’m hopeful it doesn’t materialize this cycle but there’s not much I can do about it.”
The supporters of the transit measure aren’t concerned at all.
“These are completely separate issues and we’re focused on our measure. It benefits the entire county, including the city of San Diego. We are well on our way to meeting our deadline and it polls pretty well. We’ve received nothing but positive support,” said Gretchen Newsom, the political director for IBEW’s ninth district.
More: We have been following also the Housing Federation’s push for a transaction tax on sales of high-value properties to funnel money into affordable housing projects. They would also like to get this on the ballot. We reported last week that the group has the support of San Diego Council President Sean Elo-Rivera.
A clarification on that. We reported last week that the tax would start on sales of homes at $1.5 million but federation representatives want us to make clear that, while they have polled residents on that threshold, the actual ballot measure will probably put the transaction tax only on sales of properties above $2.5 million.
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