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June 5, 2018 — California Primary Election
County

San Diego CountyCandidate for Supervisor, District 4

Photo of Lori Saldaña

Lori Saldaña

Community College Teacher
27,038 votes (19.5%)
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Housing security and ending homelessness
  • Establishing a County Office of Cannabis Education, Health & Economic Development
  • Addressing climate change & protecting our environment for future generations

Experience

Experience

Profession:Professor of Business Information Technology
Professor, Business Information Technology, San Diego Community College District (2000–current)
Member, California Assembly — Elected position (2004–2010)
Speaker pro Tempore, California Assembly — Elected position (2008–2010)
Chair of the Legislative Womens Caucus, California Assembly — Elected position (2008–2010)
Chair of the Housing and Community Development Committee, California State Assembly — Elected position (2008–2010)
Environmental Policy Research Fellow, University of California San Diego Center for US/Mexico Research (2002–2003)
Chapter Chair, San Diego Chapter of the Sierra Club — Elected position (1995–1997)

Education

San Diego State University BA (1980) and MA (1990) from San Diego State University, Exercise Science & Nutrition (1990)

Community Activities

Legislator of the Year, Californians Against Waste (2007–2007)
Legislator of the Year, California Association of County Veterans Service Officers (2006–2006)
President Clinton’s appointee, Border Environmental Cooperation Commission (BECC) (1999–2003)
Chair, Wetlands Advisory Board (1992–1994)
Communications Director, San Diego Earth Day Coalition (1989–1991)

Biography

Lori Saldaña has been a consistent and long-time advocate for progressive values. She has an outstanding record of working to improve and strengthen environmental protection laws, social justice, human rights, and women’s reproductive rights at the local, state and binational level.

She has done this work as a college professor and university researcher, as a Presidential appointee, as a volunteer for nonprofit organizations, and while serving for 6 years as a California Assemblymember, representing the 76th District from 2004-2010.

Retired Assemblywoman Lori Saldaña is a native San Diegan. She grew up in Clairemont, and attended Whitman Elementary School, Einstein Jr. High and graduated from Madison High School in 1976. She attended Mesa College before transferring to San Diego State University, where she earned undergraduate and graduate degrees. She currently lives in the North Clairemont home that’s been in her family for 50 years.

Lori and her sisters grew up in a Marine Corps family, living in and visiting many states before their father, Frank Saldaña, retired after 20 years in the Marine Corps and returned to San Diego in 1965.

VOLUNTEER & COMMUNITY ACTIVISM: After graduating from SDSU, Lori volunteered with various environmental organizations. In 1990 she served on the original board of directors for San Diego Earth Day, to help create the EarthFair in Balboa Park- one of the largest free environmental events in the United States. As a member of the San Diego Chapter of the Sierra Club she served as Chapter Chair from 1995-97.

POLICY WORK & APPOINTMENTS: Lori served as a Mayoral and Presidential appointee, working on water quality issues and infrastructure development. In 1992 she was appointed by San Diego Mayor Maureen O’Connor to serve on the Wetlands Advisory Board. From 1999-2003 she was President Clinton’s appointee on the Border Environmental Cooperation Commission (BECC), which has invested billions in water, air quality and transportation infrastructure along the US-Mexico border.

This policy work lead to an interest in political campaigns. Lori volunteered for several candidates before deciding to run for State Assembly in 2004.

POLITICAL CAREER: After a surprising “come from behind” grassroots victory in 2004, Lori was elected to the California Assembly and served three terms, from 2004-2010

Assemblymember Saldaña served as Speaker pro Tempore, and presided over Assembly floor sessions. She served on the Ethics Committee, to review complaints filed against members of the legislature that were investigated by the Assembly Rules Committee.

FAMILY: Lori and her three sisters were the first in their family to attend college. Her father, Frank Saldana, was a career Marine (1944-64) and a respected journalist who retired from the San Diego Evening Tribune (1965-1992). Her mother, Virginia Saldana, had an early career in banking, before focussing on raising 4 daughters and enjoying 8 grandchildren.

EDUCATION: Lori earned her BA and MA from San Diego State University and is currently a Professor of Business Information Technology for the San Diego Community College District. She has managed US Department of Labor grants to develop technical/vocational programs for low-income students, and help bridge the digital divide.

Lori has taught at the University of California San Diego, and was a Research Fellow in Environmental Policy at the UCSD Center for US-Mexico Studies; her research article- “From Litigation to Legislation: Challenges to Binational Water Infrastructure Development in the San Diego-Tijuana Border Region” – was accepted for publication in the 2003 Journal of Environment and Development. She has also taught at San Diego State University, and was a Dean of Service Learning at San Diego Mesa College.

 

Who supports this candidate?

Organizations (2)

  • San Diego Working Families Council
  • Planned Parenthood Action Fund of the Pacific Southwest

Individuals (4)

  • Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers
  • Delaine Eastin, Former Superintendent of Public Instruction
  • Olivia Puente-Reynolds, former Chairwoman of the San Diego County Commission on the Status of Women and Girls
  • Estela de los Rios, Executive Director of Center for Social Advocates (CSA) of San Diego County

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 Lori Saldaña:

YES: San Diego has seen an unprecendented increase in housing and food insecurity in recent years. It's time to use more of the County's budget to address homelessness, hunger and the illnesses that result from people lacking basic shelter and healthy nutrition.

As Chair of Assembly Housing and Community Development, I visited many counties where  redevelopment funds were being put to use to buid affordable housing, then include counseling, mental health treatment and other services to people living on site. The County has funds available from Prop. 63 (the 2004 Mental Health Initiative) that they need to spend on these services, rather than leave in reserves. 

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

YES: The County needs to take on more  of the responsiblity for housing San Diegans. A Trust Fund could be used to build housing for the neediest San Diegans, such as foster youth, older adults on fixed incomes, people with disabilities, and people recovering from serious medical conditions who need a safe place to recuperate and cannot afford, or don't qualify, for other skilled nursing facilities.

Currently the County's Housing & Community Development Services website states that "It may take 10 or more years to receive a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher." Waiting up to 10 years for affordable housing is unrealistic and often results in people becoming homeless before ever receiving the housing assistance they need. 

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 Lori Saldaña:

YES: For the past two years I have written and testified about this issue. We will never arrest our way out of homelessness. In fact, using "encroachment" laws to cite and arrest people simply for being in public places is a heartless abuse of a law intended to prevent dumpsters,trash cans and other objects from being left in the public right of way. In recent months, as dockless bikes have been left in public right of way all over the County without issue, it has become clear that these laws are selectively enforced without clear guidelines

Criminalizing poverty, and requiring cash bail for minor offenses, often results in people missing work, losing jobs, and falling farther behind in meeting their financial responsibilities. This in turn harms their ability to financially qualify for housing, even if it becomes available in this very restricted market. 

The County needs to work with the Legislator to end cash bail requirements for non-violent offenses, conduct financial assistance clinics to help people restore their credit rating, clear old citations and expunge arrest records when possible, establish eligibility for enrollment in social service programs, and assist people in getting back on track for employment, housing and self-sufficiency. 

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

I would support this only if additional transit service is also provided, to allow people the option to commute and travel throughout San Diego efficiently and at reasonable cost, without relying on cars, and avoid adding more vehicles to our already congested highways.

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

Absolutely YES- and this is why I am proposing that the County establish an Office of Cannabis Education, Healthcare and Economic Development to begin researching how to develop this resource for the benefit of all San Diegans. Related: we need to expunge the convictions of people with drug records, as allowed under Prop. 64

The cities and counties that are already investing in cannabis education, research, business permitting, and medical research, are benefitting from the creation of new jobs directly and indirectly related to the cannabis industry. There is promising medical research suggesting that cannabinoids (CBD) can be safe and effective substitutes for opiates without the addictive qualities and related side effects that claim lives and cost the county millions in substance abuse treatment. CBD is also being used to manage for neurological disorders, from epilepsy and Parkinson's to PTSD and TBI therapy.

The County needs to explore partnerships with UCSD, SDSU, the biotech research community and others, to establish a regional approach to educating San Diegans about how to safely use cannabis for both recreational and medical applications, to support the creation of new business opportunities, and benefit from the tax revenues that will result from this new industry.

Do you support the county’s Climate Action Plan? Why or why not?                                                          
Answer from Lori Saldaña:

I support the creation of a legally enforceable and effective Climate Action Plan (CAP) for San Diego County that conforms to the goals set forward by the state of California under AB 32 (The Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act of 2006) and subsequent legislation. 

As Chair of the San Diego Sierra Club Chapter, in 2013, I was part of efforts to negotiate a settlement to the lawsuit that the Club  filed against the County, for failing to approve a legally binding Climate Action Plan in 2012. The County lost, then appealed the local court ruling, and lost agaiin at the State Supreme Court. These appeals cost taxpayers both money and time as the County delayed implementation of an effective plan for several years.

The County's latest CAP has once again been challenged in court, in part for relying too heavily on carbon offsets in other regions vs. reductions to locally generated greenhouse gas emissions.

At this rate, it is unlikely they will approve a plan and implement it by the state's 2020 deadline. As Supervisor, I will work to  accelerate  completion of a CAP.

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

Lori’s own family and educational experience influenced much of her legislation: She championed policies to improve educational and housing opportunities to support veterans and military families. She honored Angela Salinas, the first female Commanding Officer of the Marine Corps Recruit Depot-San Diego, as her “Woman of the Year.” She helped increase housing opportunities, and expand home loan programs for veterans in California.

As an educator, Lori understood the challenges facing children in families who often moved during the school year. She authored legislation to expand access to free preschool, and improve counseling and support services for children in military families. She made sure California joined a national compact to improve educational opportunities for students from military families, who often dropped out of school due to lost academic credits as they moved state to state.This work earned her the “Legislator of the Year” Award from the California Association of County Veterans Service Officers.

LEADERSHIP: Lori was Chair of the Legislative Womens Caucus (2008-2010). She convened hearings on military sexual assault and its impact on women in the military, and after they separated from active duty service.

Lori chaired the Housing and Community Development Committee. She served as a member of Elections and Redistricting, Rules, Veterans Affairs, Judiciary and the Water, Parks & Wildlife Committees and was appointed to the Assembly Ethics Committee, to investigate complaints within the legislature.

PUBLIC SAFETY: Lori authored AB 1934  to improve gun safety and end “Open Carry” in California. She also authored bills on establishing a state-wide hate crimes reporting registry, and increasing penalties for sexual assault.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION: During her 6 years in the California Assembly, Lori earned a 100% Lifetime Voting Record from the California League of Conservation Voters. She was named Legislator of the Year by Californians Against Waste for working to reduce toxics in our food, air, and water.

She coauthored AB 32, the California Global Warming Solutions Act-  a historic step towards global greenhouse gas reduction. She continued to work on ways to reduce the impacts of climate change via energy efficiency and conservation.

 

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