SAN DIEGO — Democratic candidates for San Diego mayor faced off in front of beach and bay area voters Wednesday night. The candidates worked to convey where each stand on issues impacting the coastal neighborhoods.
The Pacific Beach Town Council co-moderated the debate with Assemblyman Todd Gloria, San Diego City Councilmember Barbara Bry and activist Tasha Williamson who gave differing answers on the issues of mental health and drug addiction among the homeless.
"I will meet regularly with the county. I will meet regularly with mayors across the county,” said Bry. “This is a countywide issue.”
Gloria took a different approach to the issue.
"The true answer to this problem is more housing,” he said.
Williamson who is far behind the other candidates in fundraising says she is focused on the people.
"Your voice matters,” she told attendees of the debate.
As residents in the beach communities have said that e-scooters have taken over boardwalks and crashes have injured and killed riders, candidates talked about enforcement, a ban, and more restrictions. One of the most sticking coastal issues is short-term vacation rentals which Councilmember Bry passed restrictions on but was later overturned.
"If I am the mayor, I will enforce the existing law - our existing law is that short-term vacation rentals are illegal,” she said.
Gloria also spoke about the issue of STVRs.
“It is a shame that this mayor and city council have been incapable of dealing with this issue, if it is not resolved by 2021 you can count on me - your next mayor,” he said.
Many attendees left the debate saying they feel like they know where the candidates stand.
"I think Todd Gloria was a little slippery on some issues, especially with short-term vacation rentals,” said Bill Vail. “Hopefully Barbara Bry will enforce existing code.”
Another attendee Garrett Cookson said he left with a better impression of Gloria.
"I was really impressed with Todd,” he said. “I think we can do it a lot better if we have someone who is a futurist. Let’s build up and become the big city we are supposed to be."
Editor's note: A quote in this article was previously attributed to the incorrect candidate. This version has been corrected to reflect that the statement starting with "It is a shame" was said by Todd Gloria.