As many of you know, San Diego County District 2 Supervisor Dianne Jacob’s term will end in January and two candidates are running for her seat. The Casa de Oro Alliance government affairs committee invited Candidates Joel Anderson and Steve Vaus to send us their responses to three questions. We asked for responses by October 16. Here are the responses we received.
Casa de Oro Alliance: The Casa de Oro Alliance has worked closely with Supervisor Dianne Jacob, meeting quarterly with the Supervisor and her staff to address issues such as code enforcement, an over concentration of alcohol retail outlets, and a large number of high-risk businesses along the Campo Road business corridor. If elected, how do you plan to actively work with the Casa de Oro Alliance to address ongoing community concerns?
Steve Vaus: As Mayor, my approach has always been to stay as close as possible to the people that I serve. That is one of the numerous reasons Supervisor Jacob has endorsed me. Accessibility is the key to understanding the concerns and needs in each community, and that will only continue as a County Supervisor. Groups like the Casa de Oro Alliance make a huge difference in the push to get additional resources and bring lasting improvements to a community. I would regularly meet with the Alliance and ensure that County staff follows through on issues that come up. Meaningful progress has already been made by the Alliance, but the work isn’t done. The transformation of Casa de Oro isn’t going to happen overnight, and I’m ready to join you for the long-haul effort it’s going to take. The library is the perfect example. The land has been secured, but now we need to get it built as soon as possible and to the standards that the community deserves. The library will hopefully have a ripple effect on the area.
Joel Anderson: While I was in the legislature, I would host “Power Friday” breakfasts with members of associations or community groups in my district to hear how current legislation was impacting their industry, advocacy issue or business. This proactive open-door policy would continue as Supervisor. I believe it is important to ask those who are closest to the problem their opinion on how to proceed with decisions that impact them.
Casa de Oro Alliance: The county received a $500,000 grant from SANDAG in late 2018 to write a specific plan for the Casa de Oro Campo Road area. The Casa de Oro Alliance communicates regularly with county staff to monitor and bring attention to important community issues and opportunities related to the project. If elected, how will you ensure this important project will bring much needed infrastructure renewal, land use revitalization and rezoning, and rational public policy to address the density and locations of high-risk businesses and preserve the health and safety of this East County community?
Steve Vaus: A community needs a vision and a sound plan as steps are taken to transform the area. However, the plan is only valuable when actions are taken to carry it out. The County has a responsibility to Casa de Oro to follow through on the specific plan when it has been completed, and having an advocate on the Board will help ensure that actions are taken. This effort is incredibly important, and I will make certain that staff stays on task and on time, and works with the Alliance. Once completed, we need to secure the necessary funding to make infrastructure changes, and carry out other Board actions at the planning level, including possible zoning changes. My job will be to deliver on what the community wants for their area.
Joel Anderson: I grew up in Casa de Oro and in high school I worked at the old KFC on Campo Road. So, the work you are doing to improve our community hits close to home for me. I want government to be effective, efficient and accountable. I believe that for any project to be successful you have to set benchmarks and standards for progress and community input is essential. Per my answer to question one I have always had an open-door policy to receive input on quality of life issues and that wouldn’t change as your Supervisor.
Casa de Oro Alliance: In East County, and specifically in Casa de Oro, what would your approach be to address the proliferation and closure of illegal cannabis dispensaries?
Steve Vaus:Marijuana dispensaries are illegal in the unincorporated area and shouldn’t be tolerated. The Sheriff’s Department, the District Attorney’s Office and other law enforcement agencies would have the lead on the criminal side, and I would work closely with the Sheriff and the District Attorney to crack down on illegal dispensaries. Code enforcement and the office of County Counsel must also send a strong message to the operators and the property owners. In particular, the County must be more forceful in its pursuit of property owners who permit these illegal operations. They cannot be allowed to profit while the community suffers. We have employed this approach in my city with great success.
Joel Anderson: I believe illegal pot shops are one of the greatest threats to our communities. Everywhere illegal pot shops are brought up, people complain about how Dianne Jacob has done nothing to stop them. I’ve been told it frequently takes weeks even months to get the Sheriff to shut them down. As County Supervisor, I’ll work to create a zero-tolerance policy that shuts them down in days. I’ll explore with County Code Enforcement and the Sheriff new ordinances to stop them before they start. I get Dianne lives in a secure gated community. Most people, like me, don’t so I understand how damaging illegal pot shops are to a neighborhood.