District 5 City Councilman Mark Kersey joined IVN San Diego for our latest podcast to discuss the recent changes made by Council President Myrtle Cole to city council committees, the very public failure to pass a framework for Short Term Rentals, and a look ahead to 2018.
Kersey was critical of the moves to replace Republicans from several committee chair positions.
He also had pointed remarks of Councilman David Alvarez and the failure of the city council to reach a consensus on regulating Airbnb.
Listen to the podcast below:
CITY COUNCIL FAILURE ON SHORT TERM RENTALS
The failure to pass a workable framework for Short Term Rentals was an embarrassing way to end 2017. I asked Councilman Kersey what happened?
"we thought we had a framework together that was a reasonable compromise between some folks who wanted the wild west of no enforcement or no regulations at all and other folks who wanted an outright ban, and we thought we had a good compromise in place."
Kersey on Council member David Alvarez' sudden change of heart
"unfortunately, my colleague David Alvarez for whatever reason decided to go against the very proposal that had his name on it. He wound up voting no on ALL the proposals that were on the table that evening so I honestly can't articulate what his position is on the issue."
Mayor Kevin Faulconer has stated he is ready to solve this issue
"I'm guessing he plans to try to work off of the existing proposals that are out there and try to come up with something that satisfies the folks who are in a position to add some amendments to the existing proposal. Not sure if that will include David Alvarez, but certainly Barbara Bry and Scott Sherman."
COUNCIL PRESIDENT REMOVING KERSEY FROM PRO TEM STATUS
Council President Myrtle Cole removed Republicans from committee chair posts, including removing Kersey's Pro Tem status
"Myrtle and I get along really, really well, I supported her for Council President last year and again this year so, it was disappointing because it seemed unnecessary and frankly gratuitous but when they've (Democrats) got the five votes and organized labor gets involved that's how things come out I guess."
On whether organized labor is bringing a heavy hand to the council
"Yes, I think so because there was no real reason to take me out as Pro Tem and give it to Barbara Bry other than to just say that they can. It was gratuitous"
TRANSPORTATION AND 2018
On SANDAG selecting two Republicans as chair and vice-chair
"I think those guys (Terry Sinnott and Steve Vaus) will do a good job, Steve is a good friend and I was pleased to see him get elected vice chair. SANDAG is obviously a group that's going through a tremendous amount of transition right now between AB805 and the search for a new Executive Director to replace Gallegos so it's going to be an interesting year ahead for that group."
Kersey chairs the Transportation committee so I asked him if he thought San Diego ever be a strong transit-oriented city?
"For public transit to work in the cities where it does work, it has to be convenient and it has to be relatively inexpensive and unfortunately in San Diego given the way that the city has grown up over the last 75 or 100 years it's really hard to overlay a train system into a city that didn't begin with one."
How can we make the city more transit-oriented?
"It's a political will issue that comes down to money and just what the voter appetite is for spending a lot of money on projects like that."
What are Councilman Kersey's goals for 2018?
"I continue to lead and be focused on the city's infrastructure needs. Fortunately we've made good progress, with roads being repaved with fire station's being remodeled or in some cases opened brand new, parks being built, we've made good progress. We still have plenty of work to be done and deferred maintenance issues that have been festering for a long time."
A dominant issue in 2017, I asked Councilman Kersey about the challenges the community has faced with the Hep A outbreak
"We have to continue to make progress on the homelessness issue, we're all looking at that and part of the reason we haven't had as much success as we've needed is that there's been a lot of debate within the homeless provider communities and not enough action."
No issue impacts the lives of San Diegans more than Affordable Housing. Councilman Kersey says the council is poised to act in 2018
"It's a very expensive market in which to rent, a very expensive market in which to own and we're not going to solve all that at the local level but there is some red tape, there are some regulations that we can change and I predict that the council is going to be continuing to work on that."
Kersey joined the City Council in 2012 and would leave his second term early if elected to the Senate.
The 38th Senate District is made up of eastern and northern San Diego County and includes the communities of La Mesa, Poway, Escondido, Ramona and Fallbrook. The 38th is a Republican stronghold: 39.6 percent of voters there are registered as Republicans, 29.5 percent as Democrats and 25.3 percent as having no political party affiliation.
On his efforts to run for State Senate Kersey said: "On top of all this (city council duties) I'm running for the State Senate, so there is a lot going on right now."