Mid-City CAN Attends D4 Candidates Forum

D4 Candidate Forum

Mid-City CAN was a sponsoring organization at the District 4 candidate forum held in Hillcrest on Friday, July 14.

The forum's theme was on climate change & environmental justice and focused on key issues including mobility and transportation, air pollution, renewable energy, land use and sprawl, and San Diego County’s commitment to achieving carbon zero and its Climate Action Plan and Regional Decarbonization Framework.

Three candidates attended the forum: Janessa Goldbeck, Marine Corps veteran and CEO of Vet Voice Foundation; Monica Montgomery Steppe, San Diego City Council President Pro-Tem; and Amy Reichert, small business owner and founder of ReOpen San Diego. (Paul McQuigg was unable to attend).

Mid-City CAN's Base Builder Lupe, members of our Improving Transportation in City Heights (ITCH), and interns Calista and Aida attended the forum. Calista asked the candidates the following question:

What is your vision for the role public transportation will play in San Diego's future? Where should the funds come from to pay for it?

NOTE: Click image and fast forward to 20:30 to view the video and hear our question and response.


Janessa: “Our trolley is very slow… we can build overpasses over trolley lines. Those are proven to be safer, they shave minutes off of a commute.” Janessa also wants a rapid express lane next to the heavily-used Blue Line and to expand the routes that we already have, increasing the frequency of the buses that we already have so they come more often and run later and earlier. Where will the funding come from: Bi-partisan infrastructure law and the inflation reduction act. "Billions and billions of dollars of infrastructure funding...We need to ensure that our county is set up to properly go after those funds and bring that home.”

Monica: “Frequency (of buses) is very important and I do believe that we build it people will come… right now there is a vicious cycle of cutting off certain routes when they are not as popular. They are not popular because they don’t have bus shelters or bus routes run every 30 minutes, they’re very infrequent. Funding: “We have been working on a ballot measure previously through MTS … In order to have a better transit line we need ongoing funding from the federal … and also from our locality. It’s about ongoing funding, not grant funding.”

Amy: “I do not believe that our public transportation is meeting the needs of San Diegans…it is not convenient, it is not working for people’s basic needs. I was a single mom with unreliable transportation. I’ve got a lot of experience using our buses and our trolleys. It was very difficult for a single mom to navigate. There’s a matter of feeling safe with your children.” Amy wants us to reimagine public transportation by using small shuttle buses that are clean energy that would "take people from their doorsteps to major transportation hubs and also to their work places. I think we can do that rather than putting money into a failed system." Funding: "Instead of subsiding a public transportation we would be making it convenient where people would want to use it…Public transportation that is actually profitable."

The candidates were also asked: Youth Opportunity passes provide free access to transit for youth. Do you support making this a permanent program benefiting youth ages 24 and under? (Yes or No). All 3 said YES.

The forum was moderated by environment reporters Erik Anderson (KPBS) and MacKenzie Elmer (Voice of San Diego).

Sponsoring organizations: Change Begins with Me, Climate Action Campaign, Climate Justice Team at First Unitarian Universalist Church, Environmental Health Coalition, Hammond Climate Solutions Foundation, Hillcrest Indivisible, Mid-City CAN, San Diego Building Electrification Coalition, SanDiego350, San Diego County Democrats for Environmental Action, Sunrise Movement San Diego, Take Action San Diego and Zeta Sigma Lambda (San Diego Alumni) Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.