Last Thursday, the three leading candidates running for Mayor of San Diego participated in a forum hosted by the Little Italy Residents Association to discuss their respective visions and policy platforms. The featured candidates were San Diego City Councilman Scott Sherman, Assemblyman Todd Gloria, and San Diego City Councilwoman Barbara Bry. Sherman is the only Republican in the race, while Gloria and Bry are both Democrats.
Each candidate touted their political experience, making their own cases for being the most qualified individual on the stage. While each has the experience voters would like to see for a position as important as San Diego Mayor, only Sherman has the consistency and fiscal restraint to address the biggest problems facing San Diego. The debate forum was a clear indication of that fact.
All three candidates understand that homelessness remains the biggest issue in San Diego, but there’s a striking difference between the solutions forwarded by Scott Sherman and those presented by Gloria and Bry. The latter two think that simply growing bureaucratic oversight and throwing money at the problem will make it go away. If this were true, homelessness in California would’ve ended years ago. The reality is that government action has often made the issue much worse.
Sherman noted that extreme increases in housing costs are a key reason why the homeless population in San Diego remains so large. While Democrats like Gloria and Bry think endless taxes, spending, and regulation are the key to ameliorating any problem, Sherman recognizes that it’s precisely these policies that are the problem.
“Forty-seven percent of the cost to build a home in San Diego is from rules and red tape,” Sherman explained. He added that San Diego “could’ve built 21 more affordable housing units without the minimum wage hike and red tape.”
Interestingly, Bry spent much of the discussion directly attacking Gloria. She criticized his failure to come through on promises to end chronic homelessness while he served on the San Diego City Council. She also took issue with Gloria having two separate campaign committees: one for Mayor and one for State Assembly. She even credited Sherman for his consistency in opposing things like increased taxes, electric scooter bans, and bureaucratic growth. It was clear from the beginning that Bry felt the need to target Gloria if she has any hope of advancing past the primary election on March 3.
Both Gloria and Bry expressed their support for banning electric scooters and short term vacation rentals. It’s unclear why these are key issues for both candidates, especially given the inherent contradictions for their respective platforms. The scooters have played a crucial role in San Diego’s “Climate Action Plan,” as they provide a clean and efficient way for individuals to matriculate around the city.
Gloria voiced his adamant support for SANDAG’s “Five Big Moves,” which is an incredibly costly plan that essentially seeks to force drivers out of their cars and into public transportation. One of the issues with public transportation, of course, is that it usually doesn’t get passengers to their final destination. It may take you to the city you work in, but you’re left with another mile or two to talk to actually get to work. For this reason, SANDAG has emphasized “last mile options.” The scooters were one of the few things that were actually reasonable in terms of cost and efficiency, but leave it to Democrats to reject their only policies that actually make sense. The Democratic playbook of subsidies, taxes, regulations, and bans is reliably self-defeating—and this is yet another example.
Even more concerning was the insistence from Gloria and Bry that short term rentals in San Diego must be banned outright. They argued that there is no excuse for homeowners to rent out their homes through short term services like Airbnb while homelessness remains an epidemic. This simply makes no sense. Is the idea to force homeowners to allow homeless people to live in their homes? Or that tourists are degrading the quality of life in San Diego? Both notions are completely delusional, and reveal a deeper insight into the ideology of Gloria, Bry, and many other Democrats.
Sherman encapsulated this mentality perfectly, explaining that “too often, elected officials think it’s their money and their property, but it’s your money and your property.” This sentence highlights the fundamental difference between Sherman and the Democratic candidates. Whether it’s the proposed scooter ban or the short term rental ban, it’s simply not their call to make. A mayor who has the power to tell people what transportation they’re allowed to use and whether they’re allowed to rent out their home is no mayor at all—he’s a dictator.
If you want more wasteful spending and government intrusion, then take your pick between Gloria and Bry—they’re sure to provide plenty of both. But if you want more freedom, less financial waste and abuse, and to keep more of your hard-earned money, then Scott Sherman needs to be the next Mayor of San Diego.