Progressive and business friendly are not contradictions

My passion to run for the County Board of Supervisors is driven by my values: everyone should have opportunity, our environment deserves our protection, our economy must work for everyone, our youth and our seniors deserve our support for all they will give and have given to our community.  Not one of these values is in opposition to my belief in the role of the private sector to grow the economy.  Neither are these values contradicted by my having spent most of my professional life representing companies and public entities in the private sector. The truth is we need to care about our community and the economy that makes it go. Let me explain.

I worked in public health program evaluation after graduate school because I wanted to help make sure the supports we have in society were well-run and achieving their ends to help people. Almost immediately, the entrepreneur in me kicked in and I started looking at a business opportunity related to software applications. My progressive desire to help people did not stand in contrast to my private sector interest.  I left public health after a few years, attended law school and became a construction and land use attorney. My job ranged from reviewing and drafting purchase and sale agreements, litigating construction and injury cases, to helping property owners understand what they could do with their property.

Throughout my legal career I found ways to support my community and especially our young people. I served as a volunteer leader on issues ranging from neighborhood quality of life like graffiti and litter removal to more regional issues like addressing homelessness and supporting our regional workforce growth. The point is that I have always cared about helping people thrive and so have many of my legal clients. In fact, a group called Business for Good San Diego has emerged and is an example of an entire community of private, for-profit businesses whose owners are dedicated to things like ensuring quality health care and support for their employees.  You can find the same ethos in Ponce's in Kensington, Bean Bar in East Village, Blind Lady Ale House in Normal Heights and a host of other businesses across the 4th Supervisor's District. Now that I am running for office, I intend to bring the same compassion and concern for the people in our neighborhoods and the same understanding of the role of our business community to moving our San Diego region forward. These experiences are complementary, not contradictory, and they will strengthen my ability to listen to diverse voices and shape policy that serves everyone.

Omar Passons