Zeigler wants to see ‘new young blood’ on the county supervisor board

By Claire Harlin

Brian Ziegler never got to meet his grandfather, Theodore Roosevelt McKeldin, but he’s heard stories of how the former Maryland governor and vocal civil rights activist had bricks thrown through his window for advocating desegregation of African Americans in the 1950s.

“I look up to him and he’s part of the reason I’ve always wanted to get into politics,” said Ziegler, 32, who is running for District 3 County Supervisor. “I share his strong moral values and, like him, I believe we are all created equal.”

A North County native who attended Santa Fe Christian in Solana Beach, Zeigler, who works as senior deputy counsel for San Diego County, saw this local race as the perfect time to get into politics. He’s running against Del Mar Mayor Carl Hilliard, Escondido resident Stephen Pate, Solana Beach Deputy Mayor Dave Roberts and Steve Danon, Rep. Brian Bilbray’s Chief of Staff.

“I represent the people of San Diego in court, so when this position opened up I thought it would be a key time to get my feet wet and jump in,” said Zeigler, who works specifically in code enforcement prosecution and environmental cases for the county. Two years ago, Zeigler helped District 2 Supervisor Dianne Jacob in pioneering a crime-free multi-housing ordinance, which holds slum lords accountable for apartment complexes that are nuisances and produce an excess of criminal activity. He became involved with this issue while on the East County Public Safety Task Force, which works to clean up the community and decrease service calls.

He is also proud of his 100-percent success rate in prosecuting and getting shut down nearly a dozen marijuana dispensaries last year in the unincorporated area of San Diego.

Zeigler, an Encinitas resident and father of four boys (ages three months to six years), said it’s been a juggle working full-time and campaigning, but he’s made somewhat of a family affair out of the experience. He’s gone out with his family in the district to pass out postcards and street signs, and his wife, Michelle, has taken on the role of his unofficial campaign manager.

“She’s been making phone calls, making signs and making postcards,” said Zeigler, who coaches for his kids’ soccer teams. “When I’m not working I’m busy campaigning and spending time with the kids. It will be nice when it’s all over so I have more family time.”

Zeigler is a devout Christian and Tea Party Republican, and he said it’s because of his faith that he sees himself as a selfless servant to the people.

“It’s not about me,” he said. “I want to make the community better because I care about it. My kids go to school here and play sports here. This is our life.”

Having grown up in North County, Zeigler said his “ears are close to the street.”

“I’ve been here my whole life and my friends are born and raised here, just middle class people like me,” said Zeigler, adding that he is not a career politician.

He said there is a cycle of power in our county in which “rich people who are out of touch but have lots of money get people to vote for them.”

“Then they get into office and establish their kingdoms and lose sight of what’s going on in the community,” he said.

Zeigler and his wife have headed and served as volunteer mentors for a marriage mentoring group at their local church for more than 10 years. In the group, the Zeiglers connect new couples and discuss subjects, such as interpersonal communication, that are important to those thinking about marriage. He said the experience has made him accustomed to having an open door to the community, and being a person that people can come to and share what’s important to them.

“We are active in the community and involved in the YMCA and in church. We care about what’s going on in the schools, and I think that makes us relatable,” Zeigler said, adding that he’d like to bring “younger new blood instead of other career politicians” to the Board of Supervisors. “We are a family that other young families can relate to, and we want to see change in government leadership.”