Opinion: I’m on the Board of Supervisors, and I won’t let the Nathan Fletcher scandal set us back

News Date

Commentary piece written by Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer. Click here to read this article on The San Diego Union Tribune website.

Lawson-Remer is vice chair of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors where she represents District 3.
She lives in Encinitas.

Nathan Fletcher has submitted his intention to resign from the county Board of Supervisors and I welcome his swift departure — which my colleagues and I have urged to be immediate — following the accusations of sexual harassment and assault in his role as a chair at the Metropolitan Transit System. So many of us are shocked, saddened, appalled and angry. But the trajectory of our work transforming the San Diego County government to serve our community and tackle our region’s most pressing challenges will not slow down.

Our Board of Supervisors will not be derailed by the scandals of one man, and instead remains focused on addressing our region’s structural scandals, systemic crises decades in the making. We’re focused on the scandal of gun violence plaguing our communities by holding gun manufacturers accountable for profiteering off the lives of our children. We’re focused on the existential climate crisis that threatens us all with wildfires, droughts, and rising sea levels, by stopping sprawl and accelerating to 100 percent renewable energy for our region.

We’re focused on the scandal of homelessness and human suffering on our streets by investing in behavioral health care and expanding shelters and rent subsidies and housing. We’re focused on skyrocketing housing costs that force our children to move away and our seniors onto our sidewalks, by building affordable homes on vacant county land. We’re focused on the scandals of poverty and inequality and fixing an economy that’s squeezing middle-class and working families, by fighting for workers, fair wages, access to child care, and better opportunities in the green economy sector and the caring economy.

We’re focused on the scandal of toxic ocean pollution that contaminates our beaches and coastlines by fixing our aging stormwater and sewage infrastructure. We’re focused on the scandal of a dire lack of mental health and substance abuse services for people in crisis throughout our region, by building new medical facilities and training thousands of new behavioral health care workers. And we’re focused on stopping radical politicians taking away control over our own bodies, by protecting our rights to reproductive freedom here in San Diego County. For decades, we suffered from a tremendous scandal of complacency and underinvestment by the old San Diego County Board of Supervisors, and those decades of failed leadership left us with vast work to do.

I am so proud of the tremendous progress we’ve made since my colleague Supervisor Nora Vargas and I were elected in 2020 and flipped control of the Board of Supervisors to a Democratic majority. The next representative for District 4 will certainly be a vital partner in continuing this work. If anything, Fletcher’s departure may accelerate our efforts by creating a space for new community leaders deeply rooted in the values of District 4 to step forward.

The Fourth District is the most politically progressive supervisorial district in San Diego County, with more than twice as many registered Democrats as Republicans: 49 percent and 20 percent, respectively. It is the most ethnically diverse cross-section of our region — 13 percent Asian/Pacific Islander, 10 percent Black and 33 percent Latinx — and is home to the communities that represent the heart of Black political power in our region. The District 4 communities have also historically been the hotbed of pro-LGBTQIA+ organizing and advocacy, electing a slew of LGBTQ “firsts,” beginning with Chris Kehoe. The next District 4 supervisor, rooted in the values of this community, can and will join us in leading a transformative agenda for San Diego County. On May 2, our board will decide whether to fill the District 4 seat by appointment or special election. I strongly hope that my colleagues and I can agree on an appointment, so we can get back to business as quickly as possible in tackling the systemic scandals facing our region. But whether by appointment or by special election, there is little doubt that the next District 4 supervisor will be a Democrat rooted in the values of this diverse and historically progressive community.

We have so many residents ready to step up and provide the leadership our region deserves. We will not let one salacious scandal distract our focus from tackling the structural scandals, and advancing our substantive work serving the county of San Diego.