SAN DIEGO – The four candidates running for the County Board of Supervisors vacant District 4 seat geared up for a public forum Monday night, answering any questions and issues top of mind for San Diegans in the Hillcrest area.
Marine Corps Veteran and LGBTQ+ advocate Janessa Goldbeck, San Diego City Councilmember Monica Montgomery Steppe, retired Marine Paul McQuigg, along with small business owner and founder of “Reopen San Diego” Amy Reichert took the stage to vie for the District 4 seat.
The seat falls under the most ethnically diverse district in the county which represents roughly 700,000 San Diegans.
“In the County of San Diego…we are tired of elected officials who aren’t straight up with us. Good government means being honest, being open, putting everything out there, letting the public weigh in…,” said resident and community leader Benny Cartwright.
Candidates discussed their stances on homelessness, mental and public health, law enforcement, jails and transparency following Nathan Fletcher’s resignation after being accused of sexual assault and harassment.
“We need to know what’s going on in our local governments, we need to know what’s going on with our elected officials,” shared District 4 resident and founder of “San Diego Rise Up” Melissa Grace.
Goldbeck promised a better push for transparency if she were to be elected with goals of building a bridge over the political divide, and rebuilding trust between members of the community.
“For too long we’ve let the status quo and a small-town mentality dictate what we can and can’t do,” she said.
Michael Luongo has lived in Hillcrest for the past 20 years and is a father of two under the age of two. He told FOX 5 a walk in his neighborhood is no place for his children.
“I shouldn’t have to cross the street to get back to the side I was already on to avoid the homeless,” Luongo said.
Luongo says the homeless issue has plagued his town for the past five years, spurring one of the main topics on Monday’s docket.
“We have to do better taking care of our domestic violence victims, our veterans, our elderly or disabled,” shared Amy Reichert who also ran against Fletcher last November.
“I see homelessness as a refugee issue. They’re all refugees from something,” Mcquigg said.
Mental and public health were also up for debate with discussion on County Jails and law enforcement brewing throughout San Diego County.
“I want to hire more deputy sheriffs, but I’m also going to hold you accountable, and that will not change, I’m going to continue to do that,” Montgomery-Steppe said.
The county will host a special election to replace Fletcher on Aug. 15 with a potential runoff set for November. Mail-in ballots could arrive as early as July 16.
The League of Women Voters will also hold a public forum at the City Heights Recreation Center on Saturday, July 8, from 11:00 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.