Notes from the Politifest team:
You can find more Politifest 2022 content here.
Some transcripts may contain errors.

Leases, Lounges and Laws: The State of Cannabis Legalization in San Diego

In 2018, Prop 64 became the law of the land, as far as cannabis is concerned. Four years later, questions still exist about the access and availability to legal cannabis for many Californians, as well as the equitable allocation of commercial cannabis licenses and leases in jurisdictions that allow cannabis businesses to operate. In our own backyard, all of these questions are immediately pertinent. With a new county ordinance legalizing cannabis expected, a measure on November’s ballot asking voters to authorize a cannabis tax in the county’s unincorporated are ask, a recently lessened city manufacturing tax passed, and the advent of cannabis consumption lounges opening on the horizon, this panel checks in on the current state of cannabis legalization in San Diego.

Moderator: Jackie Bryant, Freelance Journalist/Managing Editor at San Diego Magazine

Lance Rogers, Attorney
Marcus Bush, National City City Councilmember
Laura Wilkinson Sinton, Cannabis Entrepeneur

Transcript: The State of Cannabis Legalization in San Diego

Midway Height Limit, Redux

In 2020, San Diego voters repealed the 30-foot height Coast limit for new buildings in the Midway community, but a judge later ruled the city failed to follow state environmental law when it put the measure on the ballot. Now the city is trying again. Panelists will debate whether the change is necessary to spur development and revitalize the community, including the city’s Sports Arena redevelopment project.

Moderator: Andrew Keatts, Voice of San Diego managing editor

Dike Anyiwo, Chair, Midway-Pacific Highway Community Planning Group
Chris Cate, San Diego City Councilmember
Linda Lukacs, San Diego City Council Candidate
Lori Saldaña, Former Assembly Speaker Pro Tempore & Chair of Housing & Community Development

Transcript: Midway Height Limit Redux

Debate: County Assessor/Recorder/Clerk

When people think of intense political campaigns, they don’t usually think of the contest for county assessor/recorder/clerk. But in 2022 they do. It is one of the few elected offices that cover the entire county and Republicans have controlled all of them for decades. The assessor oversees a staff of more than 400 employees tasked with managing the most vital records in the county along with the crucial task of making sure property is assessed correctly for tax purposes. Current Assessor Ernest Dronenburg, a Republican, is not running for re-election. One of his top deputies, Jordan Marks, the assessor taxpayer advocate, has raised a significant amount of money for the race and would be well positioned to win except that the job has attracted another high-profile applicant: former City Councilwoman Barbara Bry, a Democrat. She’s also raised enough funds to compete and could put more in herself. They both are not shy about the bad direction they feel the other one would take the office. This will be a moderated debate about the future of the role and its place in the public affairs of the region.

Moderator: Scott Lewis, Voice of San Diego CEO and editor-in-chief

Barbara Bry, Candidate for County Assessor
Jordan Marks, Candidate for County Assessor

Transcript: County Assessor/Recorder/Clerk

Fast Buses: Making San Diego Move Faster

This panel is organized and hosted by community members.

For most trips, riding a bus takes much longer than taking a car. That time disparity deters ridership and is unfair to bus riders. This fall, Circulate San Diego will release a report, Fast Bus, laying out cost-effective options for San Diego regional transit agencies to improve the travel times for their bus networks.

This aligns with transit rider priorities: transit riders prioritize faster and more reliable service. Quality service also increases ridership. New rail lines often dominate the conversation, but improved bus service is achievable at a small fraction of the cost. Improving bus service deserves more attention.

Moderator: Andrew Keatts, Voice of San Diego managing editor

Jesse O’Sullivan, Policy Counsel, Circulate San Diego
Denis Desmond, Director of Planning & Scheduling, San Diego Metropolitan Transit System
Manu Agni, Board member, Our Time to Act United
Clarissa Reyes Falcon, Commissioner, California Transportation Commission

Transcript: Fast Buses

Ranked Choice Voting

A community-led conversation on ranked choice voting.

Amy Tobia, Chapter Leader, Principal Represent.Us San Diego, FS Design Group
Chad Peace, Legal Advisor, Independent Voter Project
Rey Lopez-Calderón, Strategic Advisor, More Equitable Democracy
Thad Kousser, Professor of Political Science and Co-Director, Yankelovich Center, UC San Diego

Transcript: Ranked Choice Voting

Youth Political Engagement in San Diego: Past, Present & Future

Young San Diegans active in their local community discuss why youth engagement matters. Panelists will share lessons learned, ways to get involved, and how to stay informed.

Arianna Alvarado, Student, Lincoln High School
Damian Danemann, Student, University City High School
Diana Frias, Student, UC San Diego
Sanjana Ganguly-Fitzgerald, Student, San Diego High School
Michael Kozma, Student, University City High School
Boni Musa, Student, UC San Diego
Matthew Quitoriano, Student, San Diego High School
Max Allen, Student, Point Loma High School
Abraham Jarvis, Student, Lincoln High School

Transcript: Youth Political Engagement