San Diego City Council members have not gotten raises since 2003. They earn about $75,000 a year.
Some have argued that the pay is too low and that it could deter talented people from running for office. By comparison, Los Angeles City Council members make $189,041 a year.
Well, we just had an election in which three City Council seats were open and up for grabs, two of which are now settled. (The other two seats had incumbents in place, both of whom won handily.)
Let’s check out the candidates’ credentials.
All have college degrees. Several have advanced degrees. Chris Ward, who won the District 3 council seat, has a master’s degree in public policy and urban planning from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. His undergrad was from Johns Hopkins.
Barbara Bry - who's all but assured of winning the District 1 council seat now that her opponent Ray Ellis dropped out - is another Harvard grad. Her master’s is in business administration. Her undergrad study was at University of Pennsylvania.
Yep. Two Ivy League schools.
Ellis, who's name will still be on the ballot even though he's not actively running, has an advanced sheepskin, too. He got his MBA from Pepperdine University.
Ricardo Flores, who’s running for the District 9 council seat, has a degree from UCLA. His opponent, Georgette Gomez, the daughter of working-class immigrants, graduated from San Diego State.
OK, so they all went to school. Big whoop. Maybe they seriously slack employment-wise.
Bry appears to have put her education to use. She helped found ProFlowers.com, among other high-tech companies. Ellis started a marketing firm in his garage, which grew to employ 150.
Ward’s current job is chief of staff for state Sen. Marty Block. However, he’s not exactly a longtime political insider. He worked in the private sector as an environmental planner and then as a researcher at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research at UC San Diego.
Flores is chief of staff for City Council member Marti Emerald, who currently represents District 9. Before working in government, he worked in film and TV production. He also taught English overseas.
Gomez is associate director of the Environmental Health Coalition, where she works for children’s health and environmental causes.
Nope. Not a one is a barista.
Additionally, they all have served on boards and committees. They’ve helped the homeless, under-privileged children, the elderly, the hungry …
Bry is a two-time Bobby Sox team manager for her daughters. A few of them have dogs.
It appears that pay might not be an issue when it comes to fielding qualified candidates, after all. Maybe, just maybe, they simply want to do good.
Otherwise, we’re stumped.