After being elected to the City Council in 2016, it didn’t take long for Barbara to realize City administration lacked the leadership and management skills to deliver the services and facilities residents deserve.
“I’m not a politician. I had never run for office. Like my neighbors, I saw things in my neighborhood deteriorate despite a growing economy. It made no sense. I’ve had the good fortune to be successful in business. My kids are grown. I thought it was time I offer my background and experience to fix what’s wrong at City Hall.”
Barbara is supported by community leaders, not the partisan political establishment. That’s one big reason she is the only candidate who has the independence to clean up City Hall and protect our neighborhoods.
As a Councilmember, she got a closer look at City Hall. What she found was a disturbing culture of insider-influence, political gamesmanship and short-term fixes, with little attention to long-term plans based on data, best practices or the public interest.
The City was failing to competently perform even the most basic services such as road repair, water meter reading or managing its real estate assets, and it was failing to respond to emerging problems like homelessness, motorized scooters, a lack of affordable housing and the impacts of short-term vacation rentals.
“I made the decision to run for Mayor not to pursue a career in politics – I’ve already had one of those in business – but out of a realization that the City is in desperate need of competent leadership and management experience. In fact, the last thing this city needs right now is another ‘political’ leader.”
Barbara believes that our City’s strength derives from our diverse neighborhoods. She supports investments in infrastructure and planning to enhance the quality of life in every neighborhood.
She also believes that every San Diegan deserves a chance for a quality education and good-paying job. Her experience as a high-tech entrepreneur equips her to create an environment that will continue to grow high-quality job-producing companies and a skilled workforce to support them.
In 2012, while he represented downtown San Diego on the City Council, Barbara’s principle opponent promised he would "end homelessness in Downtown in the next four years."
We all know that did not happen. In fact, the problem got much worse, including a Hep A epidemic that made national headlines, and the impacts of homelessness spread to many other neighborhoods.
We need more permanent supportive housing for the homeless. But we can't just spend our way out of the problem by building more housing. We need to address the conditions that create homelessness in the first place.
Homelessness is not simply a housing problem. It’s also a mental health problem and a substance abuse problem and an income disparity problem. Simply placing troubled folks in a home, or a tent, does not solve their problems.
The State, the County and the City must all be part of a comprehensive plan involving public health, law enforcement, and job training and placement programs that focus on the causes of homelessness. If Sacramento politicians want to help, they can provide additional financial support for comprehensive local solutions.
Barbara Bry has taken start-up companies like ProFlowers.com from an idea to multi-million-dollar operations. And she’s run successful non-profits like Athena and Run Women Run, which have empowered hundreds of women and youth to be impactful leaders in the community.
Meanwhile, a lack of managerial experience at City Hall has put political operatives in charge of complex operations that fail to produce results and leave taxpayers holding the bag.
Truth is, we have complex problems that require competent leadership to fix. Ribbon cuttings, press conferences, and poll-tested talking points won’t solve problems.
Barbara’s principle opponent has never held a private-sector job. Barbara has already had a long and successful career. She is not running for Mayor to move up the political ladder. She will use her managerial experience to actually get things done.
San Diego strength derives from its diverse neighborhoods.
One of Barbara’s opponents, responding to industry lobbyists, co-authored legislation in Sacramento that stripped San Diego of its right to impose reasonable safety regulations on motorized scooters.
He also joined our current Mayor to support Sacramento legislation that would have permitted Wall Street financiers to build high-rise apartments with no parking requirements in single-family neighborhoods.
Elected officials have a responsibility to respect public votes. Part of the culture at City Hall is to treat voters as if they were adversaries rather than customers.
For example, when San Diegans overwhelming voted to transfer the Qualcomm stadium property to SDSU for the creation of a regional park and expanded college campus, that’s what they expect the Mayor, the City Attorney and the City Council to do.
Mayor Bry will end the foot dragging. SDSU and the City should be partners working together to provide the most value to our citizens. This land transfer should have been conditionally completed months ago. This process should be transparent and open to the public. Instead, it has been hidden behind closed doors. This is a symptom of the culture of City Hall. It can only be changed from the top.
Balboa Park is a national treasure. As a City Councilmember, her principle opponent presided over a period of neglect, wheel spinning and high-profile embarrassments that have left Balboa Park in serious need of attention.
"But just as the parties appeared to be making progress, the City Council ignored the mediation and approved the original plan. At that point, the mediation ended,” wrote mediator Cary Lowe in an op-ed for Voice of San Diego.
“Too much time, money and resources were spent to just walk away without all parties exhausting every option. As Mayor, I will work to build consensus, rather than resorting to political power plays."
“Balboa Park is critical to our identity as a city. Neglect is not an option.”