Assemblyman Todd Gloria jumped to an early lead Tuesday evening in the primary race to replace Kevin Faulconer as San Diego mayor, grabbing 39.5% of the early vote.
City Council members Scott Sherman and Barbara Bry were following, virtually neck-and-neck with 25.95% and 24.4% of the vote, respectively.
Activist Tasha Williamson had 5.12%, Gita Appelbaum Singh has 2.71% while Rich Riel brought up the rear with 2.32%.
Gloria, 41, has lived in San Diego all his life. He has represented the 78th District in the Assembly since 2016, previously serving two terms on the city council, including as council president and interim mayor following Bob Filner’s resignation. Gloria identifies some of his biggest issues as homelessness, housing and climate change. He introduced the city’s Climate Action Plan as interim mayor.
Gloria says that as mayor he will set a housing production goal for the city along with “aggressive” investment in transit. He has pledged to focus on permanent housing for those experiencing homelessness.
Scott Sherman, 56, is also a lifelong San Diego resident. He has represented Council District 7 since 2012 and previously owned a small insurance business. Homelessness is also one of Sherman’s biggest issues, and he says the city needs to “provide services to those with mental health issues and treatment for those with substance abuse issues,” but also said enabling people to live on the street endangers those people and the community.
Sherman said the housing crisis will not be solved with government-subsidized housing; instead, the city needs to cut regulations and red tape to allow developers to build. For public safety, he said it is time for San Diego to “end the social experiments and political pet projects” and put more police on the streets.
Barbara Bry, 70, has lived in San Diego for 39 years. She has represented Council District 1 since 2016 and has been council president pro tempore and chair of the Budget and Government Efficiency Committee. Her campaign website highlights a wide range of issues, but paring down short-term rentals to allow for more housing is one of her most prominent issues.
Focusing on mental health and putting trained professionals on the street are how she plans to tackle homelessness. Her plan for more government transparency on projects like 101 Ash St. is another cornerstone of her campaign.
Gita Appelbaum Singh, 57, is a 27-year San Diego resident. She is a family nurse practitioner and CEO of La Jolla Integrative Health and Charter Academy. She has said affordable housing is high on her priority list. She believes the tiny home project would be a way of providing more housing.
Appelbaum Singh cites jobs training and other education as key to addressing homelessness. She is also an advocate for improved mass transit.
Rich Riel, 72, has lived in San Diego for 66 years. He is officially listed as a computer technician, but has also identified himself as a philosopher and claims to be the elected leader of the “Hogwash Party.” He previously worked for the San Diego Housing Commission. Riel has made keeping a balanced budget the most important part of his campaign.
Riel says developers should sell land to the city and the city can then lease it, bringing in income and providing more opportunities for housing. Homelessness is another major issue for Riel, and he believes providing good jobs to those who want them can stab at the heart of the problem.
Tasha Williamson, 48, has spent the last 20 years working for nonprofits advocating for racial and criminal justice. She has worked with the San Diego Compassion Project and other community advocacy groups, particularly those focused around gun, gang and police violence. Overhauling the San Diego Police Department is a major issue for Williamson, and she has openly called for the removal of Police Chief David Nisleit.
She says San Diego has a duty to become landlords to house homeless people, pointing to vacant and underutilized existing properties in the city. Williamson says certain council districts are underserved and she would seek to end so-called “food deserts” to create healthier environments.
The top two vote-getters will advance to the November general election.