Looking for Politifest 2022? Go to: voiceofsandiego.org/politifest-2022

What is Politifest?

It’s Voice of San Diego’s annual public affairs summit. Launched in 2011Politifest focuses on issues affecting San Diego communities. During election years, we focus on candidates and ballot measures. In non-election years, we highlight the most important topics that drive public policy and community conversation.

Politifest features a robust schedule of debates, panels and one-on-one interviews with experts, and provides a platform for residents to raise their voices, ask tough questions and delve into important issues.

Watch all of Politifest — Join VOSD today

Law & Justice

This year’s summit — which will take place virtually from Oct. 18 – 22 — will examine law enforcement and justice in San Diego through the lens of transparency, community, accountability and politics.

Looking for Politifest 2022? Go to: voiceofsandiego.org/politifest-2022

Schedule of Events

Monday, Oct. 18 5:30 – 6:45 p.m. PST


Moderated by Jesse Marx, VOSD associate editor


Smart Tech and Accountability

The San Diego region has seen an explosion in devices capable of watching and listening to the public. Bolstered by federal funds, these projects are typically pitched as environmentally friendly ways for cash-strapped governments to reshape the urban landscape or respond more efficiently to emergencies. But many of these technologies were developed as tools of counterinsurgency abroad and are experiencing mission creep at home. So what does that mean for the people who live, work and travel here? And what lessons can be learned from the community pushback?

  • Khalid Alexander, Pillars of the Community
  • Erik Caldwell, The Atlas for Cities
  • Graciela Zamudio, Alma Migrante

Tuesday, Oct. 19 • 5:30 – 6:45 p.m. PST


Moderated by Kelly Davis, San Diego journalist


Addressing Sentencing Disparities

A California Commission put out a series of recommendations in February to address extreme racial sentencing disparities in the state, some of which may become state law by the end of the year. Do these policies go far enough to address disparities caused by things like sentencing enhancements and incarceration over traffic offenses?

  • Laila Aziz, Pillars of the Community
  • Elsa Chen, Santa Clara University professor
  • Jay Jordan, Alliance for Safety and Justice vice president
  • Dwain Woodley, Assistant District Attorney

Wednesday, Oct. 20 5:30 – 6:45 p.m. PST


When Tough on Crime Goes Wrong: A Conversation with Aaron Harvey


Six years ago, San Diego prosecutors tested the limits of a relatively new state law by making a shocking argument: that if any person in a group committed a crime, other members of that group could be held responsible too – even if they had nothing to do with it. The case threatened to send Aaron Harvey to prison for life, and it had much bigger ramifications for the world of criminal justice in San Diego. In this discussion, former VOSD managing editor Sara Libby sits down with Harvey to revisit the case and how it’s affected his life and beyond.

  • Aaron Harvey
  • Sara Libby, Politics Editor, San Francisco Chronicle

Thursday, Oct. 21 5:30 – 6:45 p.m. PST


Debate: Who Should Be Sheriff?


Moderated by Scott Lewis, VOSD editor-in-chief/CEO

  • John C. Hemmerling, Assistant City Attorney
  • Kelly Martinez, San Diego Sheriff’s Department
  • Dave Myers, San Diego Sheriff’s Department

Friday, Oct. 22 5:30 – 6:45 p.m. PST


Policing Homelessness: What Role Should — or Shouldn’t — Police Play in Addressing Homelessness?


Moderated by Lisa Halverstadt, VOSD reporter

San Diego police officers have long played a leading role in the city’s homelessness response. In recent years, enforcement affecting homeless people has surged. Advocates and the city’s 2019 homelessness plan have urged the city to consider dialing back the police department’s role. We’ll talk to police and advocates about the current realities on the ground, changes in recent years and the role police can and should play in addressing homelessness.

  • John Brady, homeless advocate
  • Shawn Takeuchi, San Diego Police Department
  • Mitchelle Woodson, Think Dignity

Schedule subject to change.

Looking for Politifest 2022? Go to: voiceofsandiego.org/politifest-2022

Watch all of Politifest — Join VOSD today

Questions about Politifest?

General Inquiry
Julianne Markow: julianne.markow@voiceofsandiego.org | (619) 550-5664

Sponsorships & Partnerships
Ashley Rodriguez: ashley.rodriguez@voiceofsandiego.org | (619) 550-5670

Thank you to our sponsors

Satterberg Foundation

University of San Diego College of Arts and Sciences

The San Diego Foundation


City of San Diego Retired Employees’ Association

Iredale & Yoo APC