City Councilman Mark Kersey: “June Primary Meaningless, City Needs Ranked Choice Voting”

City Councilman Mark Kersey joined the IVN Podcast and had much to say on a number of important issues facing voters, workers and our beach communities.

Kersey spoke at length on the efforts he and Councilman Chris Cate have made to change the City of San Diego’s voting system to Ranked Choice.

Kersey spoke about his and Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s efforts to change the city charter to streamline the city’s hiring practices.

The Councilman had important comments on Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s Airbnb solution, but thinks a modification of the Mission Beach piece might be in order.

Ranked Choice Voting For City of San Diego

Under the current system in the City of San Diego, the top-two from the June primary advance to the November General election. Kersey thinks giving the public more than two options in November would not only be a good thing, but the right thing, “If Measure K was really about bringing the decisions to the elections when you have the most voters participating then those voters should be able to choose from ALL the candidates. And whether you go to a ranked choice system or just a top voter situation, which is what most cities in the county do, either way having that whole list of candidates in November is really going to be the best way to ensure that the most amount of voters have the biggest amount of choices.”

It seemed to me that if we were going to support Measure K, which the voters did, the June primary frankly was going to be rendered meaningless and so we've talked about implementing Ranked Choice Voting.
Mark Kersey, San Diego City Councilman

“This was something that Chris and I had talked about when the Measure K debate was happening two years ago. It seemed to me that if we were going to support Measure K, which the voters did, the June primary frankly was going to be rendered meaningless and so we’ve talked about implementing Ranked Choice Voting. We had that discussion at Rules Committee this week as part of a large package of charter amendments  that we debated for four hours and unfortunately it didn’t get the support. It was kind of unusual because the cities that have gone to RCV are regarded as fairly liberal/progressive places. And here we had the two Republicans supporting RCV and the three Democrats not.”

Kersey says he and Councilmember Chris Cate have met and will continue to meet with election reformers on the best way to hold City of San Diego elections. Kersey says he and Election Reform Attorney Chad Peace who authored Measure K had a productive discussion and those discussions are ongoing.

Kersey notes that voter education is a necessary and important component of Ranked Choice Voting, but that shouldn’t be a disqualifier for what could be the best system for the City of San Diego.

 Reforming City Hiring Practices

This has been a big issue for Councilman Kersey. Coming from the private sector, which tends to be more nimble than the certainly government hiring practices, Kersey and Mayor Kevin Faulconer are pushing to streamline the City of San Diego’s hiring processes and amending the city charter to ensure quality candidates can be hired.

We're losing quality police officer candidates because it takes too long for us to give them a job offer, which is just preposterous.
Mark Kersey, San Diego City Councilman

“In the six years I’ve been on the council we’ve had a huge number of vacancies from our police department, engineers, and it’s been for a variety of reasons, but what we’ve discovered is our own bureaucracy and a process put in place by the city charter for hiring folks is just antiquated. There’s so much process in what prospective employees have to go through that it just becomes barriers and hurdles for bringing quality people into the city.” Kersey says it’s time to bring the City of San Diego in line with other governments, “So what the mayor and I have proposed is taking some of those antiquated practices out of the charter and having a normal system of how most governments including the county and others do it. We’re losing quality police officer candidates because it takes too long for us to give them a job offer, which is just preposterous.”

Mayor Faulconer’s Proposal on Airbnb Rentals

Earlier this week Mayor Kevin Faulconer proposed his solution for the Airbnb issue that has been a source of frustration for the San Diego City Council.

Under Faulconer’s plan, short-term rentals would be restricted to no more than two per host citywide, except in Mission Beach, where there would be no limits. Also, Vacation rental hosts could rent out their primary residence for up to six months a year, plus one additional home with no limitation on the number of days annually.

I think the mayor's proposal builds on that debate and I think on the surface it looks like something with maybe a few modifications will get the necessary votes from the City Council.
Mark Kersey, San Diego City Councilman

“This has been a vexing issues for us for years. We almost got to a solution last December but just couldn’t reach a compromise. I think the mayor’s proposal builds on that debate and I think on the surface it looks like something with maybe a few modifications will get the necessary votes from the City Council.”

I asked Kersey if one of the modifications to the mayor’s plan would be removing the no limitations for the community of Mission Beach. Kersey said, “I certainly want to hear the public testimony on that side of it because I do think having a carve out for Mission Beach, which historically has been a huge vacation rental community is a good thing, but whether it’s exactly what the mayor offered or a modification on that I think is a good discussion to have.”