Two county supervisors originally elected four years ago will be seeking a second term in Tuesday’s election, with the District 4 incumbent facing a political newcomer, while the District 5 incumbent’s opponent is a water district official.
A Democrat representing District 4, Board of Supervisors Chairman Nathan Fletcher is being challenged by Amy Reichert, a Republican and state-licensed investigator who co-founded Re-Open San Diego, a group opposed to COVID-19 mandates.
Home to nearly 676,000 residents, District 4 includes the city of Lemon Grove and dozens of San Diego metropolitan neighborhoods, including Azalea Park, Bankers Hill, City Heights, Clairemont Mesa, Hillcrest, Linda Vista, Rolando, Skyline, Spring Valley, University Heights and Valencia Park.
It also contains three major tourist attractions: Balboa Park, Old Town and the San Diego Zoo.
A Marine who served during the Iraq war, Fletcher served in the state Assembly representing District 75 as a Republican from 2008 to 2012. Fletcher switched his registration to Independent in 2011, and to Democrat in 2013.
As the COVID-19 pandemic grew in 2020, Fletcher advocated for county mandates to keep the infection rate down, and became a target of criticism from anti-mandate activists.
On his campaign website, Fletcher said his focus is on mental health, climate change and child welfare, and he touts improved county behavioral health services and efforts to combat climate change.
According to the website, Fletcher “has taken meaningful legislative action to help immigrants by introducing bipartisan solutions to address the migrant crisis in San Diego and take on the Trump administration. His votes helped generate hundreds of millions of dollars for affordable housing, health care and community-based programs for seniors, low-income families and children.”
Fletcher “is also working to prepare our region for its continued growth and prosperity by championing the expansion of our regional transit system, as well as new initiatives that help to attract and retain talent,” according to his campaign.
Along with the San Diego County Democratic Party, Fletcher has endorsements from Gov. Gavin Newsom; several Democratic congressional representatives; San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria and eight City Council members; fellow Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer; numerous labor unions and Democratic political groups; and several law enforcement organizations, including the deputy Sheriff’s Association of San Diego.
On her campaign website, Reichert — a licensed pastor and a frequent critic of county policies, especially those related to COVID-19 — lists her priorities as lowering the cost of living, helping struggling businesses, fostering open government, prioritizing mental health care, solving the homeless crisis and increasing public safety.
Reichert said if elected, she will “plan to create Homeless Outreach Teams staffed with social workers, mental health care workers, and law enforcement to get people the help they need and clean up the streets of San Diego.”
Reichert “believes criminals should serve their time and not be eligible for early release when they still pose a threat to public safety,” according to the website.
According to Reichert’s campaign, she is against the “defund the police” movement, “and will work to protect San Diegans and local law enforcement through her position of leadership by promoting efforts to recruit more deputies and increase public safety.”
Reichert has endorsements from Desmond; Rep. Darrell Issa; state Sen. Brian Jones; the San Diego County and California Republican parties and several other Republican groups; the San Miguel Firefighters Association; and various political organizations including California Parents United, San Diego County Gun Owners and San Diego Asian Americans For Equality.
The county’s largest in terms of size, District 5 has 700,000 residents and is noted for agriculture and considerable forest land. The district includes four major North County cities: Escondido, Oceanside, San Marcos and Vista.
It’s also home to numerous unincorporated communities such Agua Caliente, Borrego Springs, Fallbrook, Lake Henshaw, Pauma Valley, Rainbow, Valley Center and Warner Springs. The district also includes tribal reservations, such as Los Coyotes, Pala, Pauma/Yuima, Rincon and Santa Ysabel.
A Navy veteran and former commercial airline pilot and entrepreneur, Desmond previously served as mayor of San Marcos from 2006 to 2018.
His campaign website lists top priorities such as public safety, stopping the placement of sexually violent predators in North County neighborhoods, more help for the homeless and enhanced wildfire protection.
“Whether it’s stopping the dangerous fentanyl crisis or protecting us from sexually violent predators, Jim Desmond is committed to keeping our families safe,” according to his website. “He supports law enforcement and will never allow the police to be defunded.”
Desmond said his office has pushed for better wildfire safety, including multi-day batteries on traffic signals for evacuation routes, additional helicopters, safer power lines and improving defensible space for home protection.
Desmond has criticized some federal and state COVID-19 mandates — and he questioned how cases were being reported. However, he has praised county medical officials for doing the best job they could, under difficult circumstances, to combat the pandemic.
During his State of the North County speech in April, Desmond called for construction of more housing.
Along with the Lincoln Club of San Diego County, Desmond’s endorsements including first responder groups such as Cal Fire Firefighters Local 2881 and Deputy Sheriff’s Association of San Diego County; San Diego County Farm Bureau; San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce; Latino American Political Association; and San Diegans Against Crime.
A neuroscientist, Boyd-Hodgson first became politically active when she ran for a school board seat in 2016. Boyd-Hodgson said she has volunteered to help domestic violence survivors and raise money for human trafficking victims.
According to her website, Boyd-Hodgson’s campaign priorities include the climate change crisis, water access and closing the information gap; economic development, focusing on green jobs and more affordable housing; and health care, including mental health resources and increased access.
The candidate “has proven time and again that she’s not one to sit around and wait for problems to solve themselves. When Tiffany sees a need in her community, she listens, rolls up her sleeves, and gets to work.”
Because North County has not been represented well, “we get fewer resources for our residents, and homelessness, unemployment, and crime are growing,” according to Boyd-Hodgson’s website.
“North County is ready for evidence-based and solution-driven progress that improves our lives … It’s time for responsive representation so all residents in (District 5) are heard, and can live well, work and thrive.”
Boyd-Hodgson has endorsements from Fletcher and fellow supervisors Lawson-Remer and Nora Vargas; several Democratic congressional representatives, including Sara Jacobs; the San Diego County Democratic Party and regional affiliates; and environmental advocacy groups and labor unions, including the Service Employees International Union, Local 221 and League of Conservation Voters.