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June 5, 2018 — California Primary Election
County

San Diego CountyCandidate for Supervisor, District 4

Photo of Bonnie Dumanis

Bonnie Dumanis

Retired District Attorney
32,554 votes (23.5%)Winning
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • San Diego’s homeless problem needs to be the #1 priority of the County. Addressing mental health, veterans suffering from PTSD, job training, and affordable housing are all critical to solving this problem.
  • Affordable housing, wage disparities, high taxes, fuel prices and the cost of living are all making it harder for working families to make ends meet. Bonnie will work to reduce these burdens and help working people move up the economic ladder.
  • San Diego County needs to do more to address our mental health crisis. We have the resources and Bonnie will work to help those suffering get the care they need and deserve so they can be a productive part of our community.

Experience

Experience

Profession:Retired District Attorney
District Attorney, San Diego County — Elected position (2003–2017)
San Diego Superior Court Judge, San Diego County — Elected position (1998–2004)
San Diego Municipal Court Judge, San Diego County — Elected position (1994–1998)
Deputy District Attorney, San Diego County (1977–1994)
Junior clerk typist, San Diego County District Attorney (1976–1977)

Education

Western State University College of Law (now Thomas Jefferson School of Law) Juris Doctor (J.D.), Law (1977)
University of Massachusetts Amherst Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Sociology (1975)

Biography

Bonnie Dumanis has been a trailblazing woman throughout her life. Rising from a tough working class neighborhood south of Boston, to typist, to prosecutor, to judge, to District Attorney, she’s worked hard to break barriers.

For 25 years, her father was a truck driver and a proud member of the Teamsters. Her mother worked for the government’s WIC program (Women, Infants and Children), providing nutritional support to low-income families. She knows the struggles of working families because she’s a product of America’s working class.

Bonnie put herself through college and then law school, while working as a junior clerk typist in the District Attorney’s Office. During this time, she also volunteered with Legal Aid and the Women’s Legal Center. Along the way, she faced doubters and discrimination but her hard work and commitment paid off as she rose up the ranks to Deputy District Attorney.

In 1994, she was elected Judge on the San Diego Municipal Court and, in 1998, Judge on the Superior Court where she pioneered the “Domestic Violence Court” to reduce recurrences of abuse. She also created one of the first Drug Courts in San Diego County, which was recognized as a national model.

In 2003, Bonnie challenged the sitting DA, winning a race no one thought she could, while making history as the first openly gay prosecutor in the country, and the first female DA in San Diego history.

As District Attorney for nearly 15 years, Bonnie built a remarkable partnership with other law enforcement agencies and community groups to help make San Diego one of the safest big cities in America. When she left office in 2017, crime was at a 47-year low.

She was innovative in transforming the office, and her leadership of one of the largest law enforcement organizations in California earned her national recognition. She pushed new commitments to diversity throughout her department ensuring the office reflects the communities it serves and won awards for these efforts. And working with organizations like the Innocence Project, she implemented programs to help protect against wrongful convictions.

A “Victim’s DA,” Bonnie’s office maintained a 94% conviction rate and was a state leader in the passage of “Jessica’s Law” and “Chelsea’s Law,” which strengthens punishment for sex offenders. She also worked to implement innovative justice programs, such as prisoner reform, which provides non-violent offenders with job training, treatment, and wrap-around services to keep them from returning to a life of crime.

Bonnie has lived in District 4 for more than 40 years, now residing in Little Italy with her spouse, Denise, a licensed clinical social worker and expert in the issues of aging. For 18 years, Denise wrote a column (“Seniority”) on aging for the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Bonnie served on the Advisory Boards for Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and Second Chance. She also volunteered with hospice, Big Sisters, and the Golden Hills Mediation Center. She’s been honored by the YWCA with the Tribute to Women Award, and is the recipient of many awards including the California Women in Government Law and Justice Award, the Salvation Army Women`s Auxiliary Women of Dedication Award, and the Lambda Archives Trailblazer Award. She was also inducted into the Women’s Hall of Fame. 

Throughout her career, Bonnie has been an innovator, recognized as being on the cutting edge with solutions to community issues. She has a long history of action and results.

Who supports this candidate?

Featured Endorsements

  • All the San Diego County Board of Supervisors
  • San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer
  • Congresswoman Lynn Schenk (Ret.)

Organizations (10)

  • Deputy Sheriffs Association of San Diego County
  • District Attorney Investigators' Association
  • Lincoln Club of San Diego
  • National Latino Peace Officers Association
  • San Diego Deputy District Attorneys Association
  • San Diego Regional Chamber
  • Associated General Contractors
  • Latino American Political Association
  • San Diego Police Officers Association

Individuals (3)

  • Reverend Gerald R. Brown
  • Senator Dede Alpert (Ret.)
  • Chula Vista Police Chief David Bejarano (Ret.)

Questions & Answers

Questions from KPBS and the League of Women Voters (San Diego and North County San Diego chapters) (6)

Should the county spend more of its budget reserves on increasing social services? Why or why not?
Answer from Bonnie Dumanis:

The county should make a huge investment from unencumbered reserves on tackling the homeless problem, veterans, mental health and addiction services. The spending on programs should be done in a fiscally responsible way, monitoring outcomes and use of evidence based programs. We need action now!

Should the county invest more of its budget reserves in its affordable housing trust fund? Why or why not?
Answer from Bonnie Dumanis:

Yes. The County should take the lead in a regional approach to create sufficient afffordable housing so that our commitment to the Housing First model becomes a reality. It can do so by using unencombered reserves to leverage federal, state and private money as the local match required to make this happen. This can be accomplished by loaning a significant portion of the unencumbered reserves.

Do you support measures to stop the criminalization of homelessness? The basic human behaviors of many homeless people (like sitting, sleeping and bathing in public) are against the law. Please provide specific examples of measures you would support.
Answer from Bonnie Dumanis:

The homeless should be treated with dignity, respect and compassion. There would be no need for them to be on the streets if there were a shelter bed with services in the short term and affordable housing with permanent supportive services when necessary in the long term. This requires more affordable housing in an expedited manner now! There should be outreach to each person where they are to help navigate shelter and services to keep them safe and off the streets.

Do you support increasing housing density in unincorporated San Diego County? Why or why not?
Answer from Bonnie Dumanis:

Density around transit is very important. Everyone needs to do their fair share in creating new housing to meet the needs of the entire county. Building in the unincorporated area of the county needs to be balanced and fit the community.

Do you support permitting, regulating and taxing marijuana in unincorporated San Diego County? Why or why not?
Answer from Bonnie Dumanis:

I am open to meeting with all stakeholders to determine what is needed and where. San Diego has authorized regulated, permitted and are taxing marijuana dispensaries, about 40 dispensaries. I would like to see how this is working and make an informed decision. I recognize and respect the law making marijuana legal.

Question 6

Do you support the county’s Climate Action Plan? Why or why not?                                                          

No answer provided.

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