Our endorsements for local seats

An editorial panel comprised of the publisher and editors from seven of this newspaper group’s eight Southern California publications recently met to vote on endorsements for the following races: San Diego City Council District One; 50th Congressional District; San Diego Mayor; San Diego County Board of Supervisors District Three. Below are the endorsements. (Note: These will be the only races this panel will endorse.)

• In the contest for

City Council District 1 representative

— our first-responder for Carmel Valley, Torrey Pines, Del Mar Mesa, la Jolla and community-wide issues — we’re choosing

Ray Ellis

over incumbent Sherri Lightner.

Though Lightner promised to take our neighborhoods to city hall — and has done so — she left our neighborhood issues on the steps of city hall.

Though Lightner is a hard-worker who is beloved and supported by many and has the best intentions for her community, she hasn’t built the coalitions in city hall that are needed to get things done.

Ellis, on the other hand, has built partnerships and coalitions through his business dealings and public service. His negotiation skills and business acumen will lead to the type of representation we need on the city council at this pivotal time in San Diego history.

In debate after debate, Ellis points to his work on the Balboa Park Conservancy, the San Diego City Employees’ Retirement System board, and his involvement with the passage of Prop B, the initiative to switch city new hires to 401(k)-style plans, as examples of how he has already helped the city.

Both candidates did incredible jobs during the debate hosted by this newspaper group on Sept. 19, but in the end, after watching their performance in repeated debates, Ellis had many plans and ideas that resonanted with us, while Lightner’s vision and plea for another four years came up short.

• For

U.S. Representative in District 52,

we support

Scott Peters

over incumbent Brian Bilbray. Though Bilbray has served in the House for 12 years, his career lacks luster. Bilbray is Chairman of the House Immigration Reform Caucus and a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. With these groups gridlocked over tempestuous issues, a consensus builder willing to “cross the aisle” with new ideas and no party agenda is needed.

Scott Peters promises to be that kind of representative and we believe him. We’ve watched Peters learn tough economic lessons on the city council and now as chair of the San Diego Port District’s Board of Commissioners. In an interview with this newspaper group, Peters said, “I will take San Diego with me to Washington in my heart and that’s what I really think I’m working for. I’m going to make sure that I’ll always be working for San Diego while I’m there. While I’m talking to everybody, I’ll remember why I came.”

We will hold Peters to his words and remain watchful.

•San Diego voters have a clear choice for


r: One candidate represents the city’s best chance for the city’s future, the other an opportunity to take several steps into the past.

Carl DeMaio

is, without a doubt, the best qualified to lead San Diego. We enthusiastically endorse him for office.

He has effectively represented District 5 on the City Council since 2008. He is a self-proclaimed watchdog intent on eliminating waste and fraud in the city and in reforming its pension fund. His guidelines for a better San Diego are included in his “Roadmap to Recovery,” a step-by-step plan for balancing the budget, reforming the pension system, fixing crumbling infrastructure and restoring ethics and accountability to every level of city government. He boils down his vision to three key words: “pensions, potholes and prosperity.”

Along the way DeMaio has picked up both supporters and critics. Many of the latter are connected to San Diego’s organized labor movement, who fear their members who work for the city will be hurt by pension plan reforms. These labor interests support DeMaio’s opponent in the contest for mayor.

The San Diego City Council, under the able leadership of Mayor Jerry Sanders, has made great strides toward restoring stability and trust in our municipal government. Sanders has endorsed DeMaio as the best candidate to continue moving forward. We wholeheartedly agree.

• The

3rd Supervisorial District

includes Carmel Valley, Solana Beach and Del Mar, and stretches inland to encompass Rancho Bernardo and Escondido.

For the first time in 16 years there is an open seat on the San Diego County Board of Supervisors and the good news is that the two candidates vying for the position — Dave Roberts and Steve Danon— are both very strong and voters will triumph no matter who wins.

However, in a close final tally, our editorial panel gave its backing to

Dave Roberts.

The current Deputy Mayor of Solana Beach, Roberts brings an invaluable mix of experience in local and national government — he was appointed by both the Obama and Bush Administrations to key advisory roles on a variety of healthcare issues and programs, including the development of the current military healthcare system.

A senior manager for an international nonprofit association, Roberts has worked with a number of philanthropies and environmental organizations — he is often applauded for his work with the San Dieguito River Valley and San Elijo Lagoon. Roberts also has a solid financial background, including previous work as an executive with defense contractor SAIC (he has a master of public administration degree in financial management).

While the supervisor seat is non-partisan, Roberts, a Democrat, would bring a fresh perspective to the board. All five of the current board members are Republican and graduates of San Diego State University. Even though he is a Democrat, Roberts has received endorsements from notable figures in both parties, including outgoing supervisor Pam Slater-Price.

Roberts has also been described by many who have worked with him as very likeable and able to work with people from a variety of backgrounds.

With the County Board of Supervisors now facing term limits and change after a long period of status quo, Roberts has the right background and public service record to help make that transition as smooth as possible.