District One City Councilmember Barbara Bry was elected last November to replace termed out Council President Sherri Lightner. Early in her first term, Bry has proven to be a leading voice on key city issues including: what to do with the Mission Valley site, how to handle the growing concerns of short-term vacation rentals, and working to pass comprehensive marijuana legislation.
Bry took time to chat with IVN San Diego about the many important subjects facing the community.
The San Diego City Council will take up the very important discussion of Short-Term rentals in San Diego on October 23rd at Golden Hall.
At that time, the city council will vote on this issue and whether to adopt a proposal put forward by Barbara Bry or a proposal put forward by 4 other council members.
It should be noted, many of the vacation rentals being discussed fall in Councilmember Bry's beach dominated district.
As it relates to her plan, Bry told IVN San Diego, "I'm fine if someone rents out their house, as long as they're on site to supervise. In San Diego, which is an expensive place to live, this helps people make ends meet." Bry continued, "What I'm against, is investors buying up homes in single family neighborhoods and turning them into mini hotels."
As it relates to another proposal put forward by 4 council members, Bry says her plan is the only plan that preserves housing for San Diego. Her plan is endorsed by Assemblyman Todd Gloria and Speaker Toni Atkins.
TYING A HOTEL TOT INCREASE FOR HOMELESS AND HOUSING
The issue of Homelessness and steep housing costs are two of the more pressing and important issues for the city council to consider. Indeed, Councilmember Barbara Bry called it the crisis that needs the most attention.
There has been an effort to tie the expansion of the convention center on the waterfront to Homelessness and affordable housing, something that would no doubt face legal challenges.
I asked Councilmember Bry about the push to raise the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) to address those two issues and would she be willing to support a measure that ties those concerns together. Bry said, "There are various citizens initiatives being drawn up to address both the convention center and housing and homeless issues and I'm waiting to see them. After I read them, then I will decide what I am going to support."
As it relates specifically to the contiguous expansion of the convention center, Bry noted, "As you know most people want a contiguous expansion of the convention center, but at this point, we don't control the land, it's controlled by another entity at this moment."
Barbara Bry has been an outspoken proponent for having a second option for voters to consider for Mission Valley. Bry spoke about this last June when the council voted to not spend $5 million taxpayer dollars for a special election for Soccer City.
She has taken the position that higher education should be the focal point for the 166-acre site, and sports, a complimentary piece.
Bry told IVN San Diego, "The day that the Chargers announced they were leaving San Diego, I walked into my office and I was really excited because I said, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for this community to do something meaningful with this enormous piece of land."
Bry said UCSD in La Jolla began as a gift from the city in the 50's and 60's and she would like to see the same thing happen for presumably SDSU in Mission Valley. "I was thinking about my district which includes UCSD and the fact that the voters in the 50's and 60's gave UCSD over a thousand acres of land. It's been crucial for our economic development, the innovation economy owes its genesis to UCSD and it's now 1/4th of our growth domestic product that creates really good, high-paying jobs."