North County Report: Roberts, Gaspar — Not Abed — advance to D3 runoff

Escondido Mayor Sam Abed finished third out of three San Diego Supervisor District 3 candidates, in case local voters were wondering. (Ken Stone)

The Gist:

Darrell Issa might have a real race on his hands, North County voters less interested in local race than the presidential contest, New York Times drops in on Carlsbad and more in our weekly roundup of North County news.

Perhaps the biggest news for North County in Tuesday’s primary election was the District 3 race for county supervisor.

Encinitas Mayor Kristin Gaspar knocked Escondido Mayor Sam Abed out of the race, and will advance to the general election in November, where she’ll face off against incumbent Democratic Supervisor Dave Roberts.

Roberts earned the most votes, with 39 percent of the ballots cast, and while it was expected he would advance to a November runoff, the question was how close last year’s scandal was in the rearview mirror.

Pretty damn, apparently.

Gaspar pulled in roughly 34 percent of the vote, about 4,600 ballots short of Roberts’ total.

District 3 is a moderately conservative district, where voters tend to be supportive of environmental regulations, and among the two Republicans, Gaspar and Abed, Gaspar was seen as the better fit for the district that spans from Encinitas to Escondido. Abed was too much of a “fire-breathing candidate” who was going to have to fight to earn the support of coastal Republicans.

If Gaspar is able to pick up any of Abed’s supporters, she stands a shot at ousting Roberts in November.

Meanwhile, Rep. Darrell Issa’s less-than-resounding win was turning some heads at the national level.

Issa pulled in 51 percent of the vote to Democrat Doug Applegate’s 45 percent. The margin was razor thin in San Diego County – 48.8 percent for Issa and 47.8 percent for Applegate – but the 49th District also includes solidly conservative areas of Orange County.

Here’s how Cook Political Report’s Dave Wasserman broke down the future of that race:

In just the past four years, Democrats have cut the GOP’s voter registration advantage by almost half in Issa’s district, California’s 49th. It’s one of the best-educated districts in the state. So far tonight, Issa is taking just 51 percent in early returns in the all-party top-two primary to 45 percent for Democratic attorney and Iraq veteran Doug Applegate.

Even though turnout for the Democratic presidential primary could be driving that closeness, Issa’s showing is below that of several other GOP incumbents considered vulnerable.

What North County Said

While voters headed to the polls, VOSD’s Maya Srikrishnan went out in North County to find out what they were saying – for better or worse – about the election.

What she found was that most people came out to vote solely in the presidential primary, even though there was a hot local race for District 3 county supervisor.

Srikrishnan talked to a few Gaspar supporters, and one Roberts supporter, but many others simply left that bubble empty.

“I like to be on top of local politics, but it’s hard to figure out what the county does and what Encinitas does and how they adjoin,” one woman said.

Then there was the Trump-supporter who questioned Srikrishnan’s own preference, drawing conclusions based on her race and gender.

Hoo-boy …

Using the Ballot to Leapfrog Environmental Rules …

The New York Times this week examined the trend that’s been playing out across California: Developers who don’t want to jump through the costly, time-consuming hoops of the state’s environmental law, CEQA, instead gather signatures to maneuver around those laws by placing them before voters.

Sometimes, the projects don’t even make it to voters, the Times notes, pointing specifically to Caruso Affiliated’s proposed mall project in Carlsbad.

In Carlsbad, the plan to build a shopping complex was certain to prompt a lawsuit until the developer, Caruso Affiliated, circulated a petition to put it on the ballot. The City Council approved the measure outright in a unanimous vote.

A former lawyer in the state attorney general’s office told the Times “this use of the ballot initiative system ‘smacks of a collusive process.’”

… Speaking of Which: Signatures Submitted for Lilac Hills

The developer behind Lilac Hills turned in about 110,000 signatures to the county Registrar of Voters late last week to put the project to a countywide vote in November.

The project calls for 1,700 homes to be built in a master-planned community near rural Valley Center and would require an amendment to the county’s general plan, which was adopted to promote the growth of urban communities and protect undeveloped land.

Accretive Investments sought to run around the standard development approval process last fall after Supervisor Bill Horn was told by a state watchdog to recuse himself from the vote, and after the state Supreme Court issued a ruling that complicates how large projects should measure their greenhouse gas emissions.

Also in the News

• Oceanside approved its annual budget, adding new positions to the police and fire departments and community centers. (Union-Tribune)

 The ballot is getting crowded in the Carlsbad City Council race, and blogger/columnist Richard Riehl provides some analysis of the situation. (Union-Tribune, The Riehl World)

 Osiders who use payday loan services are worried about new federal rules intended to keep them from being trapped in a cycle of debt. (Union-Tribune)

 Oceanside is updating its General Plan, to add an economic development element and an energy-climate action plan. (Union-Tribune)

• The owners of the “Cardiff Kook” say another Encinitas nonprofit dropped in on their rights to the imageof the famous statue. (Seaside Courier)

Ruarri Serpa is a freelance writer in Oceanside. Email him at and find him on Twitter at @RuarriS.  (By arrangement, The Grapevine reprints selected stories from the non-profit Voice of San Diego.)

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