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San Diego's top Democratic mayoral candidates square off in debate

Posted at 9:40 AM, Aug 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-10 12:40:34-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — San Diego's top Democratic candidates for mayor squared off on the debate stage Friday.

The big theme of the night was housing and homelessness, and Assemblymember Todd Gloria, Councilmember Barbara Bry, and community activist Tasha Williamson came prepared with answers.

"I will move homeless services to the offices of the mayor, currently it's outsourced to the housing administration, it sends a message its not a priority for this mayor or this City Hall," Gloria said.

Gloria put the onus on himself if elected to solve homelessness, while Bry had a more collaborative approach, wanting to pressure the county for more help.

"I believe it is much more effective to send social workers out with iPads to talk to homeless individuals where they are, to send out social workers, not police officers," Bry said.

But the biggest applause lines of the night came from political outsider Williamson, who pushed her platform for police oversight.

"We have been criminalized all our lives and the time is up, the time is now, we are going to stop it, we are going to be a sweeping sea of change when we talk about police accountability, rogue officers do not belong here, they will have too look for another job somewhere else," Williamson said.

But it was the scooter issue that brought out the biggest punches.

"A few days ago I talked to [the San Diegan] who's wife is in critical condition at UCSD with skull fractures and severe bleeding after falling off a scooter, I was in tears after talking with him," Bry started. She went on to blame Gloria for sponsoring state legislation that made it legal for adults to ride scooters without requiring helmets.

He fired back.

"You shouldn't politicize someones tragedy to win a mayors race," Gloria said. "I want to be very clear I support the regulation of scooters."