Where do the 38th District Senate candidates stand on homelessness, housing and the environment – NBC 7 San Diego
With about a month to go until the June 7 California primary, NBC7 takes a closer look at the major races to watch, including the 38 Seat of the state senate for the district, which has three candidates vying for office representing voters living near the San Clemente beaches to Mission Bay.
Among the priority issues are concerns about the environment, water supplies, California’s skyrocketing housing prices and widespread homelessness.
The hopefuls include a businessman, a former fire captain and the mayor of a North County town.
Environmental issues like climate change and its effects are easy to see on local beaches.
Republican candidate Matt Gunderson, a former businessman and Orange County resident, said the recent bluff collapse at Beacon’s Beach in Encinitas was self-explanatory.
“This is proof that we are not doing enough to maintain security and access to our beaches,” Gunderson said.
As for the drought, Gunderson referred to California’s excess funding.
“To them not allocating some of that to serious infrastructure improvements that would solve the problem of access to water, or to building reservoirs…that allow us to maintain water levels, is glaring. “, said Gunderson.
Democratic candidate Catherine Blakespear, who is currently mayor of Encinitas and president of SANDAG, told NBC7 that her city is already reducing emissions with new transportation infrastructure plans through 2050, such as creating bike lanes. Encinitas is currently transitioning to a 100% renewable energy system called Community Choice Energy (CCE).
“People can basically go for dirty energy, but the default is clean energy,” Blakespear said.
The mayor believes that a major gesture is necessary to have an impact on climate change.
“We’re not going to be able to protect bluffs and prevent that from happening,” Blakespear said. “What we need to do is collectively wean ourselves off oil and gas and take a more sustainable approach to living on this planet.”
Orange County resident and Democrat Joe Kerr, a former fire captain, said a priority should be reducing or controlling wildfires. He sits on a regional water quality monitoring board and said the drought conditions were further fueling wildfires. In addition, he believes, there is a need to improve reservoirs and stormwater capacity, which have not kept pace with the state’s population growth.
“As a complement to our firefighters,” Kerr said. “By providing them with the tools and resources they need. California State staffing will be at the top of the priority list.”
Another objective of the candidate: the lack of affordable housing in California.
Blakespear said there is a need to build more housing for all income levels because it creates a vital community. She has been a strong proponent of accessory living units or granny flats.
“We have the ability to sprinkle in density and add more housing, and also allow value to go to the landlord,” Blakespear said.
Kerr approaches the housing issue from a public safety perspective, saying density can create problems.
“It will negatively impact the water system which was pre-designed, the sewage system which was pre-designed, the electrical system, wi-fi and parking,” Kerr said.
Gunderson said adding density in single-family neighborhoods is disruptive.
“The government can’t promise you can afford to live wherever you want,” Gunderson said. “And we have to accept that some of these communities are built and they exist.”
A lack of affordable housing has contributed to a growing homeless population across the state.
Kerr suggested the state could hire NGOs and their own agencies to help with services such as rides to job fairs, temporary housing and California ID applications to help someone get back on your feet.
“Sometimes mental health and addiction go hand in hand, so increasing that support to manage addiction funding, mental health, and getting those people the services they need is really important,” Kerr said. .
Gunderson said just building shelters is not enough.
“We’re going to fight homelessness by really getting to the heart of the issues, which is mental health and addiction,” Gunderson said.
Blakespear said a mechanism — like a power of attorney, a judge, or someone stepping in — is needed.
“I support the idea of CAL Court, which basically says that people are literally dying and killing themselves on our streets, and we need to be able to get them into treatment, even if it’s against their will,” said Blakespear.
The two candidates who receive the most votes in the primary elections, regardless of political affiliation, will advance to the November general election.