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From the front of the room, Stephen Whitburn, candidate for District 4 county supervisor, introduced himself to the 30 residents sitting inside the Joyce Beers Community Center in Hillcrest during a May 11 county supervisor forum organized by the Hillcrest Town Council.

It was less of a forum and more of a one-man show. Whitburn was the only candidate present from district four, a territory that stretches from University City to Paradise Hills and from Interstate 5 to the College Area. His four opponents, school board member Shelia Jackson, affordable housing proponent Juan Del Rio, retired teacher Margaret Moody, and four-term incumbent Ron Roberts, were no-shows.

Whitburn, a former journalist and current community activist, took the opportunity to denounce Roberts, as well as the four other supervisors, for what Whitburn feels is a poor record dealing with the county's poorest citizens, for their support of large-scale development, and for lacking focus on public safety.

"The federal government recently cited San Diego County among the worst in the nation in providing food stamps to those eligible," said Whitburn before stating his opposition to the county's policy of fingerprinting "elderly, disabled, and blind" residents applying for food stamps and other welfare benefits.

After mentioning his opponents' support of the Merriam Mountain development proposed outside of Escondido, Whitburn attacked the current supervisors for what he considers a low level of public safety in San Diego County.

"The county does not have a fire department. San Diego County needs to step up to the plate and take responsibility for providing protection from fires in the backcountry."

While taking questions from the audience, Whitburn gave assurances that, if elected, he would not accept gifts nor would he allocate money from "slush funds" to outside organizations. As an example, he cited "six free trips" to China that the San Diego World Trade Center sent Ron Roberts on after the supervisor had donated $854,000 of taxpayer money to that organization.

"That just doesn't look right to me," said Whitburn.

The election will be held on June 8.

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Comments

campaigns May 12, 2010 @ 1:29 p.m.

Whitburn demonstrated complete ignorance by asserting that Roberts supported the Miriam Mountains development project on the I-15. Truth is Roberts was the deciding vote AGAINST this project, citing traffic congestion and urban sprawl as his reasons for opposing it. If Whitburn can't get that right, imagine what else he's misinformed about.

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Dorian Hargrove May 12, 2010 @ 2:38 p.m.

Campaigns,

Thanks for the comment. To clarify, Whitburn said it was Roberts support in bringing the project back to the board for reconsideration that he had an issue with. During the forum, Whitburn did say that Roberts eventually voted against the proposal.

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CuddleFish May 13, 2010 @ 12:40 p.m.

Hey, Dorian, thanks for another great and informative article. I like Whitburn based on what this article tells me, of course, I would have to know more, but your article got me interested and so I will definitely be checking him out, even though I am not in his district.

As to the Hillcrest Town Council, they did a poor job organizing the forum if only one candidate showed up. These deals take a lot of work but if done properly, all the candidates will be there. On the other hand, if only thirty people showed up, either the residents are apathetic, or have already made up their mind, in which case maybe that's why the candidates didn't bother themselves.

BTW, depending on what time the forum was held, Juan del Rio was at the School Board meeting that evening, I heard him speaking on the Barrera Resolution.

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monaghan May 13, 2010 @ 1:38 p.m.

Stephen Whitburn will make an excellent County Supervisor. Goodbye, Ron Roberts. No more junkets, no more slush fund, no more quid pro quos, no more public paycheck.

Whitburn rightly focuses on the failure of the present Gang of Five to provide adequate social services to poor and needy residents of our expensive community-- we qualify for the Hall of Shame with our near-lowest food stamp payment rate of any county in the nation.

In light of devastating wildfires that took lives and property in San Diego County several years ago, present supes shockingly still refuse to establish a County fire service. San Diego is the only County in all of California without a fire department. What kind of responsible representation is this?

Finally, on the matter of sprawling backcountry development permits for the Merriam Mountain project: the fact is that Supervisor Ron Roberts was strategically absent for the first vote on Merriam Mountain and, after spitting into the political wind to see which way it was blowing, he returned to the dais to vote No.

I'm grateful to have an opportunity to vote for Stephen Whitburn, a well-qualified and honorable new person for the County Board of Supervisors on June 8.

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CuddleFish May 13, 2010 @ 1:41 p.m.

Thanks for that further informative post, monaghan.

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Founder May 14, 2010 @ 8:47 a.m.

I look forward to Steven Whitburn speaking out more often and urged one of his phone supporters to suggest that he also take a stand on on how the County awards all the Big Money Social Service Contracts, which bye the way would make a great follow-on story.

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