Omar Passons and Ken Malbrough may not be household names in San Diego, but they’re not letting that stop them in their campaigns for County Supervisor, District 4. Republican Ron Roberts is terming out after serving in the position for two decades, and now five candidates, some familiar faces, some less so, want your vote.
Former San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis and State Assembly Members Nathan Fletcher and Lori Saldana are three familiar names, but Passons and Malbrough, neither of whom have held public office, believe their records will stand for themselves in the primary election.
Passons grew up in Clairemont and Encanto and says he plans to keep it local.
"I have more support from individual San Diegans within the fourth district than any of the candidates, including the ones that are career politicians,” he told NBC 7 while stumping at Cardamom Bakery in North Park just two weeks before the election.
A private sector lawyer by trade, Passons credits his ability to work with people to his upbringing.
"Children and seniors top my list,” he said. “I'm living proof of what happens when we better support our young people"
Having lived in the foster system as a child, he says he’ll use his life and work experience to help those around him.
"I just really believe there's an opportunity to make a substantial difference and with a background in public health and land use, given how big those are in the county and important they are, this is a big opportunity,” he commented.
Opportunity also knocks for 63-year-old Ken Malbrough. Born and raised and still living in Southeast San Diego, he plans to make access to health and human services his number one priority.
"We can do better, we can do better by making changes and getting these folks some housing with supportive services so they can get back on their feet,” he told NBC 7.
Malbrough served 31 years with the San Diego Fire Department with his last ten as deputy fire chief. Since retiring in 2012 he's only gotten busier, diving into local planning groups and advisory boards.
“I sit on a city board, a lot of our money goes to transitional housing. I’ve been doing it for six years and the problem is only getting worse. We need to put people in permanent housing with supportive services though,” he explained. "I really want to see communities like this improve and communities that are doing well to stay at that level. That's why I'm here.”
The Other Three Candidates
Lori Saldana served six years in the California Assembly but points out her 30 plus years as an educator as a qualification for the job.
Nathan Fletcher, also a former state legislator, who worked to pass Chelsea's Law, will look to get back into local politics after running for mayor in 2012.
Dumanis, San Diego County's longtime District Attorney, benefits from being the only Republican in the running - although it's technically a nonpartisan race.
The three other county Board of Supervisor districts won't be on the ballot until 2020.
The Fourth District stretches from Encanto, Emerald Hills and downtown in the south all the way north to La Jolla.