San Diego Decides by Voice of San Diego

San Diego Decides is Voice of San Diego’s elections podcast. Hosts Sara Libby and Ry Rivard break down individual races and ballot measures San Diegans will weigh in on this year, as well bigger issues like the mechanics of voting, state-level drama and more.
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San Diego Decides by Voice of San Diego

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Now displaying: March, 2016
Mar 21, 2016

San Diego Decides is Voice of San Diego’s elections podcast. Hosts Sara Libby and Ry Rivard break down individual races and ballot measures San Diegans will weigh in on this year, as well bigger issues like the mechanics of voting, state-level drama and more.


In this week's episode, hosts Sara Libby and Ry Rivard talked about three big races this week: the race for mayor, the race for city attorney and the race for the District 9 City Council seat.

Sara and Andrew Keatts interviewed mayoral candidate Ed Harris, and share some excerpts of that conversation. Harris addresses why he decided to get in the race, and what separates him from Mayor Kevin Faulconer even though they seemingly have a lot in common.

Next up: the race for city attorney saw some verbal sparring between Rafael Castellanos and Gil Cabrera, as Voice of San Diego’s Andrew Keats wrote about recently. Both candidates have been preparing to run for several years, so they both have a lot invested in winning. A third candidate, Mara Elliott, has not received as much attention or money, but she may have a built-in advantage with her title, “chief deputy city attorney.”

The race for City Council's District 9 is also starting to heat up, with three main candidates contending for the position: Ricardo Flores, chief of staff for outgoing Councilwoman Marti Emerald, Georgette Gomez, associate director at the Environmental Health Coalition, and Sarah Saez, program director for the United Taxi Workers.

KPBS reporter Megan Burks, who's covered City Heights and surrounding communities for years, stopped by to talk about the unusual dynamics at work in D9. Two neighborhoods separated essentially by just a roadway are actually a world apart: Kensington has a 60-70 percent voter turnout and its median income is about $90K a year. By contrast, City Heights’ voter turnout can be as low as 14 percent, its median income is $21K a year.

Crazy Ballot Initiatives

Sara plans to highlight a few of the strangest measures vying to make the November ballot in each episode. First up: A measure that would require candidates and lawmakers to take regular lie detector tests, and another that would restrict any speech that has to do with Holocaust denial.

Our Favorite Things This Week

Sara: Acting as VOSD's pop culture ambassador, Sara selected Rihanna's new album, Anti.

Ry: Bruce Lightner, who's running to replace his wife, Sherri Lightner, as the City Council rep for District 1, compared their combined power to one of the great American political dynasties. Asked if he'll get a name-recognition boost, he told the Union-Tribune:  “It won’t be the first time. Look at the Kennedy dynasty.”

Megan: A city in New York has created a Hamsterdam to address the heroin epidemic: a part of town where you can use safely and freely. Former KPBS reporter Tarryn Mento pointed out that this is basically "The Wire" come to life.


Show Notes Page


Mar 3, 2016

What role do endorsements play in politics? Is it just a lot of back-slapping among friends and political influencers? Do they really sway voters in any meaningful way? And what is the process that goes on in the background that leads to an organization or individual endorsing a political candidate?

These are just some of the questions that we’re exploring on this, the first episode of Voice of San Diego’s new podcast, San Diego Decides. Throughout this podcast, we’ll be digging into all kinds of different aspects of the 2016 San Diego election. This episode is bringing you everything you’ve ever wanted to know about endorsements in a political election.

There are certain times when an endorsement is, in fact, an overwhelming factor, particularly when the general voting population is not especially up to date on the issues or the candidates, or when candidates have very similar voting records. Other times, endorsements are little more than announcements that go straight into trash folder of your email inbox.

Sara and Ry also reveal whose endorsements they’d seek out if they were running for office in San Diego, and Brian Pepin, the new president of the Lincoln Club of San Diego County, comes on to discuss his group’s process for deciding whom to endorse.

This Week’s Favorite Things

Sara Libby: The state of Oregon passed a “Motor Voter” law, and has signed up more than 10,000 new voters since the start of the year.

Ry Rivard: “Sometimes a Great Notion,” a novel by Ken Kesey.


Bullet Points

  • People will tend to rely more on endorsements when they don’t especially know what’s going on
  • When you really understand what’s going on, endorsements are less important
  • When two people with very similar voting records are running against each other, it’s one of the only ways to differentiate
  • Tony Atkins and Marty Block are a recent example of endorsements playing an important role
  • Lori Saldana, who is running for mayor as an independent, endorsed Bob Filner for mayor a few years ago, but has since revealed that she was aware of his issues with his treatment of women at the time, and had actually warned party leaders about it. She since stated that she didn’t want to bring up the harassment while her father was still alive
  • Endorsements are important to candidates both for the resources that come with them, and in the way that endorsements can sway voters