Editor’s note: This is the third article in a weekly series profiling the candidates in the District 3 County Supervisor race. The candidates for the District 3 seat include Dave Roberts, Carl Hilliard, Steve Danon, Stephen Pate and Bryan Ziegler.
By Claire Harlin
Under California state law, paid public office holders must collect their salaries, and Solana Beach City Council members are paid $600 per month for the hours of service they dedicate to the city. But being employed full-time in addition to his role as deputy mayor, Dave Roberts saw charitable donations as a better use of that money.
“My mom and dad taught me that it was better to give than to receive and I want to set the example for our five young children,” said Roberts, who has donated more than $50,000 in salary pay to local and regional charities such as the Boys and Girls Clubs of San Dieguito and Casa de Amistad.
Being a leader, not only to his family and community, but on the political front is a driving force behind Roberts’ campaign to become the next District 3 County Supervisor.
Voters are waking up to how critical this race is, Roberts said, not only because the winner will be the first new member on the Board of Supervisors in 15 years — and in District 3 in 20 years — but because, due to a recent change in term limits, the entire board will turn over within the next decade.
Even though the supervisor seat is non-partisan, Roberts, the only Democratic candidate, could bring a different perspective to the all-Republican board. This could change the climate of the board as it turns over, and Roberts, who would also be the first ever openly gay man elected to the board, could be a leader in that change.
“I’ll be the first one there starting this dialogue and talking to potential board colleagues,” Roberts said, adding that he has already gotten started in the job by meeting with current supervisors to discuss and learn about the issues facing District 3.
Despite his more liberal political affiliation, Roberts said one of his assets is that he gets along with everyone and unites people from across political spectrums. He’s received endorsements from former San Diego City Councilwoman Donna Frye on the left to former Bush Administration U.S. Secretary for Veterans Affairs James Peake on the right.
“When [Peake] endorsed me, he said ‘I’ve never endorsed a Democrat in my life, but Dave, if you’re a Democrat then I must be a Democrat too because this isn’t about being Democrat or Republican, it’s about serving veterans in San Diego County,’” Roberts said of Peake, who is also a former Army surgeon general.
Possibly his most valuable blessing, Roberts has also garnered the endorsement of current District 3 Supervisor Pam Slater-Price, who will leave her seat at the end of the year.
“People don’t see me as a political person; they see me as a community leader,” said Roberts. “This is a non-partisan race … San Diego is a majority Democratic county, but there’s no Republican or Democratic way to fill a pothole or solve a problem in San Diego County.”