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Public Policy Newsletter Article

Biocom San Diego Mayoral Candidates Address Future Industry Developments, Housing, Infrastructure

  • 2020-09-24T14:30:00.000+0000
  • Author: Melanie Cohn

On September 17th, member executives from Biocom’s Board of Directors and Public Policy Oversight Committee joined us for a virtual candidates’ forum with San Diego mayoral hopefuls Todd Gloria and Barbara Bry.

This is the first time in the city’s history that voters will choose between two Democratic mayoral candidates, who agree on several policy issues but differ on others. Policy Committee chairman Larry Stambaugh moderated our conversation with the candidates and began with questions about future physical development of our industry in San Diego. Especially during the pandemic, developers are facing delays and inconsistencies with the city’s Development Services Department and other government offices. Both candidates vowed to boost operations in the departments that handle permitting.

They also promised to address infrastructure issues related to storm channel maintenance and flooding in Sorrento Valley, which has been an issue for our members there for many years. Gloria and Bry both say they plan to work across city departments to address roadblocks with permitting and funding associated with the restoration of the Los Peñasquitos Lagoon.

The candidates diverged on hot button issues such as policies on short-term rentals and micro mobility options in the city. The controversial Ash Street development came up briefly, but the candidates avoided getting too deep into this niche subject.

Housing is one area that the candidates’ plans diverge. Bry says that addressing short-term rental policies will free up housing for residents in units that are currently being occupied by AirBNB and other booking programs. Gloria would address the housing shortage, specifically middle-income housing, by creating a middle-income housing trust fund and an expedite program for these units that can house our continuously growing life science workforce in the city.

We thank both candidates for joining us for this informational forum, and our members for asking thoughtful questions.