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Meet the candidates for City Council, District 4

Created: 15 March, 2013
Updated: 26 July, 2022
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10 min read

On March 26, voters in San Diego, City Council’s District 4, will choose the successor to Tony Young, who resigned his seat at the end of December. There are nine candidates running to serve the remaining two years left of the term, with a twist.

The nine candidates are: Dwayne Crenshaw, Myrtle Cole, Barry Pollard, Bruce Williams, Blanca Lopez-Brown, Monica Montgomery, Ray L. Smith, Sandy Spackman, and Tony Villafranca.

Due to the short time frame between the official ballot announcement of qualified candidates and Election Day, plus the number of candidates, we felt that the best way to introduce the candidates would be with the assistance of a questioner.

There is one interesting twist to this election that should be explained.

When Tony Young was elected there were only eight districts in the City. Due to redistricting and the creation of a new district, Council District 4 today is different than Council District 4 of two years ago. Because of this, the election to fill the remaining two years of the term some current residents in District 4 will not be afforded the opportunity to vote. Due to the fact that Young was elected under the old district boundaries, the old district boundaries will determine who gets to vote. This means that some folks who now do not live in the new District 9 get to vote and some residents in the new District 4 will not be able to vote, because they were not residents of the old district. If you are still confused, all we can say is call the Registrar of Voters.

While there are a whole host of questions we could ask, in order to keep the form and this story managable, we limited the number of questions to four, with a short bio.

This week we introduce Sandy Spackman, Barry Pollard, Myrtle Cole, and Bruce Williams:

candidates

Sandy Spackman

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Sandy Spackman came as a refugee immigrant to America from Laos in 1976 when she was just 10 years old. Her family fled Laos to escape persecution and possible death at the hands of the communist government that took over Laos at the end of the Vietnam war.

After a couple of years, her family settled in San Diego, where she has lived ever since. She grew up in a modest home near Market Street and attended Chollas Elementary, Pershing Junior High, and Crawford High. She married in 1987 and has raised a wonderful family of 4 children. She re-enrolled at San Diego State University and graduated with a degree in education in 2008. She currently works as an administrative coordinator at SPAWAR Systems Center. She also currently serves as President of the Lao American Coalition (LAC), a dynamic local non-profit.

Question 1: What would be your priority issue as a councilperson?

My main priority is to bring jobs and business to the 4th district. I will continue to support the Jacobs Center and Diamond Business District efforts. I also want to implement my economic development plan.

Question 2: What is your perspective on the immigration issue?

I support comprehensive immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship.

Question 3: What would you do to support education in District 4? Or Should the city allow the school district the freedom to govern?

The city should have some role in improving education. I will work to strengthen tutoring and after school programs and inform parents on how to be more involved.

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Question 4: Who do you think is the frontrunner and what are the greatest differences between yourself and that person?

There are many strong candidates. The greatest differences between me and the others are that I bring a fresh perspective, I am an independent voice, and I have the leadership skills to reach out to all the community to solve the district challenges.

Brian “Barry” Pollard

Pollard is a San Diego native having attending St. Rita’s Elementary School and Morse High School. Barry received a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and has owned and operated a recruiting firm specializing in the Electronics industry for more than 15 years.

He is a single parent of three daughters and has worked at the grassroots level to establish a Neighborhood Watch Program in his community. For more than 5 years, Barry has spearheaded a volunteer project that feeds 700 homeless San Diegans at Thanksgiving and Christmas. He is also involved in efforts to mentor youth and prepare them for a productive future.

Question 1: What would be your priority issue as a councilperson?

Recognizing that the term is approximately 18 months. My top is priority is to fund and complete the amendment to the Southeastern Community Plan and the corresponding environmental document. Without this economic development and revitalization of the community is stifled.

Question 2: What is your perspective on the immigration issue?

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A recent quote by President Barack Obama during a speech given in Las Vegas says it best. “The time has come for common-sense, comprehensive immigration reform. The time is now. Now is the time. Now is the time. Now is the time.”

Question 3: What would you do to support education in District 4? Or should the city allow the school district the freedom to govern?

Schools are very important to the growth or disintegration of our neighborhoods. I can support collaborations that improve the quality of education but I believe the overall governance should remain with the Board of Education elected to govern the schools.

Question 4: Who do you think is the frontrunner and what are the greatest differences between yourself and that person?

There are a few things that differentiate me from my opponents. First I was born and raised in the area known as southeastern San Diego. Upon graduation from college and immediately following I spend time gaining experience in my area of expertise I returned to our family home to raise my three daughters as a single dad and have been there ever since. I am a lifelong centrist democrat who understands that the needs of the residents and businesses in the neighborhoods that make up the 4th District are too important to be dictated by any one special interest no matter who or what it is.

I will always lead with the interest of the 4th District first.

Myrtle Cole

Myrle Cole is a former police lieutenant Myrtle Cole has lived in Rolando for more than 20 years. She grew up in Tucson, attended the University of Arizona and served on the Tucson Police Department.

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Moving to San Diego, she continued her career in policing, rising to the rank of lieutenant with the SDCCD Police Department. After 11 years as a police officer, Myrtle went to work for the San Diego City Council to help implement ‘Community Oriented Policing’.

In the 1990s, Myrtle attended National University and earned an MBA. Currently, Myrtle works for the United Domestic Workers (UDW), who provide in-home services to thousands of low- income seniors, children and people living with disabilities.

Question 1: What would be your priority issue as a councilperson?

As a former police officer, my number one priority is public safety. I helped the city implement Community-Oriented Policing, a program that includes outreach to people of color to build trust with the police to decrease crime. I organized Neighborhood Watch programs and, as a Councilmember, I will do so again. I will also fight for funding to put more cops on the street so that people can feel safe in their homes and businesses.

Question 2: What is your perspective on the immigration issue?

I will join Mayor Bob Filner, Councilmember David Alvarez, and other local leaders to push for much-needed federal immigration reform. Our broken system needs to be fixed to include pathways to citizenship. I also strongly believe that the SDPD should not be involved in enforcing federal laws.

Question 3: What would you do to support education in District 4? Or Should the city allow the school district the freedom to govern?

I will meet with Marne Foster on a regular basis to discuss ways we can work together, including after-school programs, joint-use facilities, and school-safety measures so that our children feel safe in their schools. I believe our school district has the freedom to govern.

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Question 4: Who do you think is the frontrunner and what are the greatest differences between yourself and that person?

I can hit the ground running after being elected District 4 City Councilmember because I have more than 20 years of experience working in both our community and in City Hall. As a former police officer who also holds an MBA, I have the skills to improve public safety and to work with small businesses to bring jobs to our community.

Bruce Williams

Bruce Williams was born and raised in District 4. Bruce attended Knox Elementary School, Morse High School, and the University of California San Diego.

After graduating college, Bruce went to work with County Supervisor Leon Williams. Then later, Bruce served as the District 4 community’s advocate for two San Diego Mayors and served with the first African-American City Council President, Tony Young.

Question 1: What would be your priority issue as a councilperson?

My priority issue is and will continue to be the health and vibrancy of the District 4 community. Every day I work to make our community a better place to live and as a councilmember I will continue to advocate for what will best benefit our families and neighborhoods.

Question 2: What is your perspective on the immigration issue?

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Immigration is not just an issue to debate – it is about families, children, safety, and jobs. It is a policy discussion that has real impact on people’s lives. I believe we need a comprehensive immigration reform that provides more certainty for people and their families benefiting our entire community.

Question 3: What would you do to support education in District 4? Or Should the city allow the school district the freedom to govern?

The quality of our schools directly impacts the future of our community. I believe in an integrated approach where all levels of government work together to support our schools. The city does not need a formal role but as representatives, we must prioritize that the best education available is provided to every child.

Question 4: Who do you think is the frontrunner and what are the greatest differences between yourself and that person?

I do not believe there is a frontrunner.

I do believe I am best prepared to lead and effectively advocate for our neighborhoods. I was born and raised here, and spent my entire adult life fighting for safer neighborhoods, better schools, more jobs. And I have a proven history of bringing people together to find solutions that benefit our community.

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