San Diego District 1 city council candidates meet in Torrey Pines forum

San Diego City Council District 1
San Diego City Council District 1 candidates Will Moore and Joe LaCava participated in a forum Sept. 16 hosted by the Torrey Pines Community Planning Board and moderated by the League of Women voters.

The two candidates vying to replace Barbara Bry on the San Diego City Council discussed infrastructure, housing, going greener, police reform and COVID-19 during a forum hosted by the Torrey Pines Community Planning Board on Sept. 16.

The forum was moderated by the League of Women Voters and livestreamed on Zoom and Facebook.

Bry is running for San Diego mayor. The candidates for her District 1 seat, Will Moore and Joe LaCava, also shared how they would help businesses that are struggling because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which will continue to be one of the most pressing issues government leaders face.

“We’re really looking to grab as many state and federal resources as we can to help them out, and continue to work with the landlords,” said LaCava, a civil engineer and La Jolla resident, noting the city’s own economic constraints.

Moore, a small business attorney and Carmel Valley resident, added that there should be more consistency in the guidance given to businesses. As state directives have shifted over the last several months, many businesses, such as gyms and restaurants, have reopened only to be told shortly thereafter that they have to close again.

“As long as we’re bouncing up and down like that, that costs a lot more to those small businesses than just staying closed or staying partially open,” Moore said.

The future of policing has been another pressing issue since May, when viral videos showed Minneapolis police killing George Floyd.

“The challenge I think we have is the leadership in the mayor’s office, because he direct’s what the police chief does and how the department operates,” said LaCava, who served on the city’s Citizens Advisory Board on Police and Community Relations.

Moore said that armed police officers are not necessary for every call.

“We need to have options that we can choose from when we face different kinds of policing problems,” he said, referring to how social services can better respond to certain situations.

The candidates also talked about how the pandemic will inhibit the city from addressing its infrastructure needs.

“We’re not going to be able to tackle our infrastructure deficit until we start identifying new revenue sources,” LaCava said. “And those are just not going to be available right now.”

“We’re definitely going to have problems with funding,” Moore said. But he also said that there are contracting procedures and other reforms that can be addressed in the meantime.

How to add more housing to address the homelessness and affordability crises has been another divisive issue for many communities.

LaCava said the solutions should include using publicly-owned land, motels, and reducing construction costs.

“Everyone has to come to the table and work on this together,” he said.

Moore said the city can make room for the next generation without obtrusive new development.

“We need to have every neighborhood recognize that we’ve got to have someplace for our own kids to live,” he said.

Both candidates also said they would take advice from the Torrey Pines Community Planning Board. Moore said the members on the board should be “a little more representative” of the whole community.

“They tend to skew a little older, a little whiter,” he said, echoing a common criticism of community planning boards throughout the city. “We need to figure out ways to bring in people like renters, younger people, people with kids.”

Both candidates also said they would make sure Del Mar Heights is well-represented on the City Council.

“With their diverse neighborhoods, there’s a lot of variability in there that needs to be respected,” LaCava said.

“This is one of the most valuable communities in our city, one of the oldest communities in our city,” Moore said.