District 5 City Council Race
By Terry L. Wilson
Attorney Joe Leventhal is campaigning for the San Diego City Council District 5 seat. His platform includes public safety, road repairs and reducing homelessness.
“I am a registered Republican, but this is a non-partisan race. With the current situation we are currently facing, my focus is on improving the economy in our city. We want people to have jobs so they can keep a roof over their heads and food on their tables. Keeping people employed during this era of COVID is a real challenge for our city budget, so another priority is to protect core city services like fire and police services,” Leventhal said.
“I’ve been living in the district for over 15-years and in the city more than 20 years of my adult life. During that time, I started and grew a business, and I think that’s important experience when it comes to managing a city’s finances,” he added. “I’m also married with three children. I’ve been very involved with the community and understand the challenges that everyday voters are dealing with today dealing with COVID.”
Leventhal explained more about his community involvement.
“Some of the community work I’ve done includes being a leader in organizations serving children with disabilities, and organizations focused on improving our justice system. I’ve been a common-sense conscience builder, bringing people with different backgrounds together and focus on moving our objective forward,” he said. “It’s that sort of leadership and proven experience that, I think, makes me exceptionally well qualified to be on the city council.”
Leventhal also described some items pertaining to the Scripps Ranch community.
“My issues specific to Scripps Ranch start with fire safety. I’m concerned about evacuation routes, not if, but when there is another large fire. I know there’s a concern about evacuations on Pomerado Road. I’ve spoken to the head of Miramar about the opportunity of opening up Miramar south of Pomerado in the event of an evacuation, and they are supportive of that concept – so that there would be a secondary evacuation route for the people in Scripps Ranch. And that is just one particular part of Scripps Ranch,” he said. “I know the folks in Stonebridge are also concerned about evacuation. So, fire season in particular has always been a topic of high concern.”
He also explained his thoughts about the care of trees in the area.
“Another concern of mine is how the city manages our eucalyptus trees here in Scripps Ranch. I don’t know that our city employees that are managing our trees really know what they’re doing all the time,” Leventhal said. “I’ve heard from a lot of folks that there is a lot of inconsistent management of those trees and I’d want to make sure that we do a better job than we’ve been doing.”
|<font-size=”+2″>Marni Von Wilpert</font-size=”+2″>
By Bella Ross
Marni Von Wilpert, Democratic candidate for San Diego City Council District 5, knows a thing or two about how things work in Scripps Ranch – and in public service in general.
She was born and raised in Scripps Ranch, and lives just a mile from her childhood home where her parents still reside. Von Wilpert has also worked in the public sphere for the majority of her career, eventually landing in her current position as a deputy city attorney for San Diego.
“I am one of the only council candidates city-wide that actually has experience in city government, so I’ll be able to serve the residents of District 5 because I can hit the ground running on day one,” Von Wilpert said. “My opponent will have to learn on the job.”
One of her earliest experiences in public politics was working for the Peace Corps in Botswana during the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, a background that will come in handy given the current situation with COVID-19, she said.
During her two-year Peace Corps deployment, her work included contact tracing, testing and treatment.
Regarding the fight against the current pandemic, Von Wilpert said she would like to see widespread enforcement of the mask mandate as well as a dedicated public health message.
“A lot of these rushed re-openings led to us closing back down again and increased cases of COVID,” Von Wilpert said.
She described that situation as having a significant adverse impact on Scripps Ranch’s small business owners.
Also among her top priorities is addressing climate change, an issue that hits home in a community where many people have either lost their house to wildfires or came close. The increasing severity of local fires, she said, can be attributed to a failed response to climate concerns.
“I want to also take care of our planet for the next generation and keep our air and water clean to help fight climate change,” said Von Wilpert, who has been endorsed by the San Diego City Firefighters Association, Local 145, as well as the Sierra Club of San Diego.
Homelessness is another issue toward the top of Von Wilpert’s priorities, despite beliefs from some that this issue is less pertinent in her district.
Although her role in city council could have impacts city-wide, she reminded constituents that many of the main causes of homelessness can still take root in suburban communities.
“People don’t think that homelessness affects Scripps Ranch, but there are quite a few people who are suffering from domestic violence or addiction or other issues that lead to homelessness, even up in our area of town,” Von Wilpert said.