Honoring people who lost their lives defending our country and defending Democracy is one of the most solemn traditions we have. Living in San Diego, we are all touched by those who serve – and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice – more than many other parts of the country by virtue of having the largest concentration of military personnel in the United States. They are our bosses and friends, our spouses and co-workers, our sons and daughters. On this Memorial Day, when I join fellow members of the Truman National Security Project at a sunrise ceremony to lay roses at the final resting places of over 30,000 veterans at Ft. Rosecrans National Cemetery I will be quietly paying respect to another important group as well. I will be paying respect to the wives and husbands and sons and daughters and mothers and fathers of those same veterans. Their sacrifice for our county also runs deep.
Like most regions, our San Diego community cares deeply about helping others. In any given week you can attend a dinner gala or a special breakfast reception to raise money for various causes and celebrate important aspects of our community. One of my favorites of these events is the Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast. This year’s breakfast was on Friday, May 19th, 2017, and this year I heard something wonderfully profound yet simple and I thought I’d share. Read More
editor’s note: the “pre-launch series” is a collection of posts I wrote while thinking about running for office and each post describes some of my thoughts/decisions along the way
I have been thinking a lot lately about the type of campaign I want to run and the impact on people and our government I intend to have. I want to open up government to make it more useful for people who want to be involved in what their government is doing. This includes using technology to make documents easily searchable by computer and a host of other important changes. Read More
Occasionally people will hear me talk about the importance of building a strong support system for children and youth in the San Diego region from birth to adulthood and promptly ask about my own children. While I don’t have kids of my own, what I usually tell people is that I believe all children should matter to all people. I want to focus on children and youth because I see the value to our society as a whole.
Our children really are our future. What I mean is that our economy only grows if we have talented people who are ready to work, innovate, and start businesses – not to mention purchase things. We can’t have new buildings if no one knows how to read a tape measure or sees the value of really hard work.
But there is a deeper reason I have given so much of my life to helping young people and it is not just that I grew up in San Diego’s foster care system. If we are serious as a society about the fundamental Democratic principle that we are all equal, wrapping our collective arms around every child is the best way to ensure that equality. We must start early, because as Nobel Prize-winning economist James Heckman notes, that’s where the biggest bang for the buck happens (a 13% return on investment). To have true equality, we must not simply throw our hands up and accept that not all kids have the same initial chance to thrive. We can move to change that with more strategic and targeted support.
While I don’t think a real policy plan can fit in a single blog post, I do think this framework would be a great start:
- Pre-natal to 5: Every child in our region should get great medical attention, a parent or guardian who speaks and reads to them, and high quality early learning and care.
- School-age support: We have a school system of course, but as a region we must also foster a healthy and safe environment outside of school, enriching experiences after school and on weekends, with academic and mental health support for all children.
- Teen attention: The transition from child to teen is stressful, and providing special attention and opportunity outside school will support growth.
- Pathway to college or career: Every job or entrepreneurship opportunity requires training after high school. There are thousands of paths to success and our system must help make these choices clear and attainable.
It will take the committed work of parents, guardians, educators, the business community, government and, of course, the voices of young people, to build the system we want. But every community in San Diego will be stronger for it.
Many people don’t really know what the County of San Diego does and how it’s different from a city government like the City of San Diego. If you are a business person who ever tried to get a food handler’s permit or a doggy day care license, you probably have some idea because the County handles both of these things. If you’ve ever applied for a marriage license or wanted to adopt a puppy, the County handles these things too.
Of course I’m most interested in what the County CAN do, and in what we can do together to make San Diego thrive, making it safer and more affordable for everyone.
But first let’s start with what the County does now:
- Social Safety Net/Health. The County administers most social programs like food stamps, cash assistance like welfare, health care for the poor, educational support for some children, and other safety net programs;
- Land Use/Building Outside Cities. The County reviews and approves permits for buildings and business, much like what city governments do within their borders;
- Regional Issues. The County takes leadership positions and provides money for regional issues like economic growth, transportation needs, air quality, and the quality and safety of our beaches and bays;
- Public Safety/Justice System. The County runs the court system, the probation system, and prosecutes and defends people involved in the criminal justice system for serious crimes. It also is largely responsible for regional responses to major emergencies like wildfires and earthquakes, and regional security.
That’s a broad scope – the way that County government works affects our lives every day. I’m running for Supervisor because we need real local leaders working for us, not Sacramento insiders.
But even more important than what San Diego County does is what it could do. More on that soon…