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June 5, 2018 — California Primary Election
Local

City of San DiegoCandidate for City Council, District 6

Photo of Jeremiah Blattler

Jeremiah Blattler

Small Business Owner
1,490 votes (4.8%)
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • My first priority is to attack the root of San Diego's problems: corruption, greed, and cronyism at the highest levels of San Diego politics, regardless of party affiliation.
  • My 10 point plan addresses the following: the housing crisis, inadequate infrastructure, limited mass transit, the homeless crisis, and our limited water supply (in addition to its costs).
  • My 10 point plan also addresses the following: further diversifying our local economy, public safety, environmental shortcomings, development and land use, and quality of life.

Experience

Experience

Profession:Small Business Owner/Volleyball Coach
Owner, Jungleman Naturals (2012–current)

Education

Florida International University Bachelor of Arts, Spanish (2006)
California State University, Long Beach Bachelor of Science, Business Administration (2004)

Community Activities

Boys Volleyball Coach, Clairemont High School (2018–current)

Biography

I grew up in a poor, working class household in Imperial Beach, graduating from Mar Vista High School. I graduated from California State University, Long Beach with a bachelor's degree in business administration and Florida International University with a bachelor's degree in Spanish, paying for my tuition through a combination of work, student loans, and financial aid.

Unlike the archetypical political candidate, I understand hard work and have actually held a real, everyday job. Over the years, I've worked a wide variety of jobs: liquor store clerk, food runner, retail sales associate, room service attendant, bartender, car rental agent, bank teller, model, film extra, public relations representative, event set-up personnel, buyer's assistant for the largest costume manufacturer in the world, contracts analyst in the pharmaceutical industry, and corporate buyer for one of the largest print firms in the world. 

I'm the owner of Jungleman Naturals, which manufactures best selling all-natural deodorants sold in several hundred stores across across the United States (several within San Diego County), Canada, and Iceland, in addition to being a bestseller in direct online retail. I built my business from scratch, while holding down a day job, with no outside help. No loans, no venture capital, no “mommy and daddy” money (like many a trust fund candidate have done). Just hard work, meticulous planning, and tireless execution.

Outside of my business, I coach boys volleyball at Clairemont High School and enjoy playing beach volleyball in my spare time at South Mission Beach.

 

Questions & Answers

Questions from KPBS and the League of Women Voters of San Diego (5)

Should the Community Review Board on Police Practices be given subpoena power when reviewing allegations of officer misconduct? Why or why not?    
Answer from Jeremiah Blattler:

Yes, the Community Review Board on Police Practices should be given subpoena power when reviewing allegations of officer misconduct. The entire reasoning behind creating such review boards is to present an independent and transparent investigation process (or at least the appearance of one). Having such powers prevents the appearance of a conflict of interest generated by a party merely investigating itself on its own terms. Furthermore, such independent powers are necessary to ensure the general public's faith and trust in our public institutions.

Should the city eliminate minimum parking requirements for new housing near public transit? Why or why not?
Answer from Jeremiah Blattler:

I believe that the city should eliminate minimum parking requirements for new housing near public transit only when ridership and accessibility numbers (with regard to daily work commutes) show that such a setup can be feasible. It's no secret that I view mass transit expansion for our region as a top priority. Creating high density housing without parking spaces has to go hand in hand with such expansion.

San Diego was once at the forefront of public transportation when it debuted the San Diego Trolley as a light rail line back in 1981. Since then, the pace has been excruciatingly slow, and unable to keep up with population, business, and infrastructure growth. There are too few lines, particularly with regard to light rail and rapid transit. The few lines that we do have tend to not adequately serve our population centers and central business districts, and do not alleviate our traffic clogged freeways.

If you look at any successful mass transit plan in a large city, the first thing you'll see are multiple mass transit lines carrying commuters from major population centers to the central business district (or even multiple central business districts for some cities). This is not the case in San Diego. There are no lines to the commercial center of the city and county, the Sorrento Valley region.

While downtown San Diego is a shell commercial center, mostly based in tourism, hospitality, and some city government, the Sorrento Valley region is the true commercial center and economic engine of San Diego. More citizens commute to this region for work than any other region in San Diego. A simple glance at a Google map or on Sigalert.com will show that all traffic goes into this region during morning commutes, and all traffic heads out of this region during evening commutes.

We have to bear in mind that public transportation, even on the level that I advocate us to expand to, is there to minimize the need to drive, not eliminate it outright. Even major world cities with some of the best designed transportation systems have a large flow of automobiles. This is particularly the case in cities designed post World War II. Therefore, we need to make sure that developments lacking parking spaces are only built near transit stops with proven long term ridership and accessibility. Not doing so could potentially leave a new wave of cars piling up in our urban and suburban streets, particularly in District 6.

Would you support a tax increase that would fund housing and services to the homeless? Why or why not?
Answer from Jeremiah Blattler:

If elected, I would support a hotel tax increase that would fund permanent homeless services and housing to alleviate the issue. For decades, San Diego's homeless problem has been an issue that has never truly been addressed head on by either our government or our local businesses (particularly developers and hoteliers).  Unlike several prominent San Diego politicians, such as Mayor Kevin Faulconer, I will never attach riders to the bill to funnel money towards costly private projects such as convention center expansion or a downtown stadium. The citizens of this city have repeatedly expressed a desire to address the homelessness crisis we face, but they do not want the potential solution to such a crisis bundled with corporate welfare via publicly funded private projects.

San Diego needs permanent housing for the homeless, instead of just temporary tents, which are more costly. Temporary tents, operated by private organizations, cost the taxpayer more than permanent housing does. They are often hastily implemented and placed into neighborhoods with little feedback from the local community beforehand. While they can function well as a very short term solution, they are inadequate and costly when used as a makeshift long term substitute for the actual long term housing this city truly lacks.

San Diego is a major tourist draw due to its mild climate and many attractions. San Diego hotels, particularly in and around downtown, earn millions of dollars a year through tourism. A small proportion of that financial windfall needs to be pumped back into the city to address our homelessness issue. Such a tax would benefit not only the homeless, but it would benefit the very hotels we would tax, by providing a safer, more sanitary environment for citizen and tourist alike.

The Hepatitis A outbreak that made national headlines last year was merely a symptom of this city's failure to deal with its homelessness crisis. We cannot have makeshift Hoovervilles dominating our major tourist areas as we do in many areas in and around downtown. To have people living in such conditions is unsanitary and negatively affects tourism. Most importantly, it is unethical. These people living in the streets deserve better, as do the growing homeless populations in our residential parks, open spaces, and canyons.

Do you support increasing housing density in your council district? Why or why not?
Answer from Jeremiah Blattler:

Yes, I support increased housing density in District 6.  However, it must be done the right way.  High density housing needs to be situated along high use transit corridors, public transportation stops, and near our core central business districts. It cannot be forced into far flung suburban tracts or created in a manner or in locations that degrade our environment.

The city currently charges developers by the unit for land use and development fees. This discourages affordable, high density housing, such as micro apartments. If elected, I will change the fee structure so that it is based on square footage, so that developers are rewarded for building affordable, high density housing, instead of being punished. I will also decrease the amount of bureaucratic fees that developers have to pay to build high density, affordable housing.

San Diego has pre-existing laws on the books that require developers to set aside 10 percent of new rental housing units as affordable housing. Due to cronyism between local developers and our city government, this rule hasn't been enforced since 2009, and in 2011, it was amended so that developers can comply by merely paying an opt-out fee. If elected, I will ban such opt-out fees, and replace them with mandatory compliance to ensure that affordable housing is built, as originally intended.

For decades, dating back to when I was child, San Diego politicians have dealt with the growth of our population by sticking their fingers in their ears or their head in the sand. They've shot down any major changes to the status quo by irrationally threatening that San Diego would somehow become some variant of Blade Runner's Los Angeles. These problems will not go away with irrational fear mongering, and must be addressed.

Sustainable development is a buzzword that has become a euphemism for not building vertically like other major cities successfully have, but instead horizontally into our open space and rural communities. This only leads to a longer commute and makes housing more expensive in more areas, even in rural exurbs as far away as Ramona. This doesn't address the issue, it merely exports it further away, while commuters suffer, housing costs continue to balloon, and our environment degrades.

As your city council representative, I will act to encourage development that is closer to our core central business districts, transit lines, and free ways, so that local communities thrive off of a symbiotic relationship between local businesses and residents. The Sorrento Valley region is the economic engine of San Diego. More citizens commute to this region for work than any other region in San Diego, (in fact, far more than downtown) and it shows in our daily traffic patterns. If elected, I will act to improve the housing supplying in and around this economically vital region.

Do you support either of the plans on the November ballot that would sell the Mission Valley stadium site? Why or why not?
Answer from Jeremiah Blattler:

I do not support either of the plans on the November ballot that would sell the Mission Valley stadium site. Beyond the propaganda war being waged between FS Investors and Friends of SDSU, neither proposal looks particularly enticing for the city of San Diego.

I'm opposed to the Soccer City proposal because it lacks clarity regarding what fair value the city will make versus the amount of revenue FS Investors will take in. Just merely not being subsidized by taxpayers does not guarantee a sound, utilitarian deal for the city of San Diego. The Soccer City proposal doesn’t guarantee San Diego a professional soccer stadium or a river park. It could also leave taxpayers paying for a costly environmental clean-up of the proposed site, in addition to not exempting the city from any liability (unlike most city leases with the private sector). That's a tremendous amount of red flags.

The SDSU West proposal makes me similarly apprehensive with regard to what value the city will get from SDSU for a high value piece of property, in addition to CSU having power over any local authority regarding land. From a utility standpoint, I'm not certain that SDSU needs another campus. My Alma Mater, Long Beach State, has a larger population, with a slightly lower acceptance rate, and a finite area, and has addressed population concerns over the years by building vertically within the campus. This would seem like a much less costly option. There are also environmental concerns, in addition to concerns regarding traffic and flooding.

The bigger issue at hand regarding the two competing proposals is that there are only two proposals in the first place, and not far more. Any competent business or government should have multiple competitive proposals to get the best quality and value. It is the job of the city to get vendors to outbid and outperform one another regarding what goods and services they'll offer, and the price they're willing to pay for public land. We shouldn't be begging one or two developers to take a valuable piece of land off of our hands because we don't know what to do with it.

The city of San Diego shouldn't be outsourcing its entire evaluation of land usage to outside interests. It must do a better job of independently examining all potential proposals, no matter how long it takes. It took us forever and a day to get this land back from the Chargers. The sky isn't falling and we don't need to accept rushed proposals with fake deadlines for a Mission Valley development.

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

As a citizen, I understand that we have to take better care of our constituents. A prime example of our city council not following the demands of its constituents is the controversial water rate increase decision that took place in November 2015. Even after I, along with countless other constituents, spoke out against the massive water rate increase (with empirical evidence to back it up), seven of nine city council members voted against the wishes of their constituents.

If voted to city council, I will ensure that the demands of our constituents are not only heard, but acted upon. I believe in direct democracy whenever possible. Whenever an unpopular or contentious vote of significant impact is on the horizon, the issue should be brought to popular vote via referendum or as a proposition, wherever possible. When not possible, I will explain all of the details of the proposed legislation to my constituents and analyze their feedback to represent them as best possible.

Many of the issues facing our city are symptoms of a greater disease: the mismanagement of this city by a chosen, privileged few, who have always been and will always be beholden to special interests. If you vote for me, I will not only address these symptoms (such as our housing crisis, inadequate infrastructure, limited mass transit, homeless crisis, inability to diversify our economy, public safety, environmental shortcomings, and many other issues), I will rid this city of the disease itself and ensure that this great city is mismanaged no longer.

If you're sick and tired of the way things have been run around here, and want a new era of San Diego politics ushered in, vote for me, and together we will demand more and accomplish more.

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