Candidates’ responses mixed to Slater-Price’s endorsement of Roberts for supervisor seat

Dave Roberts and Pam Slater-Price

By Kathy Day

One candidate for the Third District County Supervisor’s seat is pleased that he received the incumbent’s endorsement, one isn’t surprised, one wishes he had been the one getting the veteran politician’s backing and another is happy for his opponent, but has reservations.

Pam Slater-Price, a Republican who has held the seat for 20 years, announced on March 15 that she would support Dave Roberts, a Democrat who has been a Solana Beach City Councilman for two terms. Local political watchers say her vote of confidence could go either way with voters.

In announcing the endorsement with a crowd of Roberts’ supporters on hand at the county building, Slater-Price said the move came not because they are friends but because he’s the best candidate for the job. Noting that he shares her interest in arts and environmental causes, she praised him for his experience and trustworthiness.

She joins a long list of politicians and other officials who are backing him, including State Sen. Christine Kehoe, Oceanside Mayor Jim Woods, Carlsbad Mayor Pro Tem Ann Kulchin and Rear Adm. Connie Mariano, USN Retired, who was the White House physicain to three presidents.

Roberts, in an interview on March 16, said, “I am honored to have her endorsement… I believe it shows she understands and shares my values.”

During the press conference, he emphasized his credentials as a leader and businessman. Citing his desire to preserve the region’s quality of life and its fiscal soundness and to create jobs, he said he will work “in a bi-partisan approach to reach excellence and consensus.”

The father of five children, ages 3 to 16, also stressed his plans to address children’s health and obesity programs and to find ways to get cities involved in programs at schools, recreation centers and parks.

Following Slater-Price’s announcement, two-term Del Mar Mayor Carl Hilliard said, “I wish it had been me. I have worked with her quite a bit in the past and we agreed on some things and some things we haven’t seen eye to eye on.”

He pointed to the list of his own endorsements on his website, which include retired Sheriff Bill Kolender, Del Mar Councilman Mark Filanc and Augie Ghio, past president of the County Fire Chiefs Association.

Meanwhile, Steve Danon of Carmel Valley, who announced in 2009 that he would seek the seat, said he knew he wouldn’t be the one to get Slater-Price’s endorsement.

He said he’s not particularly concerned because he has a lengthy list of his own supporters, including San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, Father Joe Carroll, the Deputy Sheriff’s and San Diego Police Officers Associations and Pete Wilson, former San Diego mayor and California governor.

Giving her credit for efforts early in her term to help stabilize county finances, he said more recently “she has “lost touch with residents of her district.”

He called her endorsement of his opponent “a mixed bag. For those voters who have continued to support Slater-Price, it will obviously be a plus.”

But those who want change, he added, will want to know if Roberts will defend her in the issues regarding “gifts, slush funds and ethics” raised in the more recent past. They will also want to know whether he will “back tax increases as the solution to balancing government budgets as he has in Solana Beach.”

Bryan McKeldin Ziegler of Encinitas , a deputy county counsel also seeking to replace Slater-Price, said via e-mail he is “happy for Dave Roberts. Pam Slater-Price did a lot of good for the community and her endorsement has meaning.”

He added: “However, I think the public is tired of career politicians running for office on their own agenda. I am a Tea Party Republican and I support the people of our community. I want to put the people’s agenda to the forefront, cut overspending and get rid of government bureaucracy.”