After serving four years in the California State Assembly and eight years in the State Senate, Joel Anderson is running for the County Board of Supervisors District 2 seat.
An Alpine resident for 32 years, Anderson said East County has been good to him, giving him many career opportunities and he believes that families deserve the same opportunities that he had growing up in the region.
“When I look around, all of my friends have to visit their grandkids and kids outside of San Diego County,” he said. “We failed to deliver on housing so there is no obtainable work where young families can move in. We failed to give career paths and we have not fixed our infrastructure. Our roads have declined, not improved. I look at this and think that we deserve better.”
Anderson said he is not prepared to give up and has a plan to fix these problems.
“I didn’t do anything that anyone else could not do, I chose to do it because I put people first,” he said. “This is the kind of things that builds our community, allows us to come together and overcome difficult problems. When people are talking and communicating, then they are not pointing fingers and polarizing. As a supervisor, I will be able to do 10 times more than I was able to do as a legislator.
Anderson said he is not quick to pick on people without being in their shoes, but with COVID-19, as a supervisor he would be asking many questions because he believes it has a much to do with the attitude that you come into it with.
“We should work with an attitude of opening as soon as possible, while protecting and preserving people at risk their lives,” he said. “I was reading that almost half of Tijuana has COVID and a lot of our hospitals are full of people from our neighbors from the south. I’m not saying we should not help our neighbors in distress. That is not my point. My point is are we using those numbers to determine whether we are keeping businesses closed that are doing everything correctly and are not an epicenter of spreading the virus. We have SDSU, that is another one.”
Anderson said he believes people trust a government that does not lie. He said initially the point was to reach herd immunity and somewhere along the line it shifted to nobody can get sick. He said now, it is not about the hospital system being overloaded, but that nobody should get COVID at all. He said COVID is never going to go ways and we could be doing this for the next five years.
“We should be encouraging healthy people who can recover from COVID to get the herd immunity,” he said. “That is going to help all of us. But I think sometimes politicians get sidetracked and they have lost their way.”
Andersons said businesses in East County that have shut down and done nothing wrong, the County should not be using COVID numbers to hurt businesses. He said many families are not going to survive the pandemic. He said Parkway Plaza going belly-up is an example of what hurts the community as people will drive to other cities to shop and that does not make sense.
“If COVID points that they are not masking and doing high risk behaviors, that would be a different story,” he said. “This is not right that we are destroying our economy and hurting families by denying them the opportunity to provide form themselves. We have to take a much stronger view of challenging the governor. He is not looking at our backyard and what we live with.”
Anderson said using SDSU COVID numbers and trying to shut down the entire county is wrong, and he will stand against it.
“That is where we need to be drawing a line,” he said. “I would be consistent that the goal is to get to herd immunity, not to shut everything down. The goal is not to keep people from getting sick, it is to make sure that people do not die from COVID. But we have to move forward. All of the flyby politicians have cutesy answers but that does not solve the problem.”
Anderson said the county has had issues with homelessness for a very long time, but the county did not really get involved until people started dying form hepatitis.
“Do we have to wait until we take it in the cheek every time, or can we start doing our job and show up at work making things happen? People would trust government if they would follow medical science instead of political science to solve COVID,” he said.
In economic redevelopment, Anderson said the potential of Gillespie Field is ripe for new businesses and local jobs, but so far its expansion has been nothing but broken promises.
“Right next to Gillespie Field we have 70 acres. They tore down the racetrack that as a kid it was a $5 date to watch racing,” he said. “That was two decades ago with promises of building and they haven’t built anything. The airport generates more than $20 million in taxes. If that area was built out that tax base would quadruple.”
Anderson said this money could be used for public safety, roads and infrastructures that benefits everyone. He said the longer it goes undeveloped means higher taxes for residents to keep these services running.
“Are we just going to keep reacting or are we going to have a plan, move forward and my goal is to make sure there are career opportunities? Housing is more obtainable when you have a good paying job. As long as people are kept unemployed, they are never going to be able to live here,” he said.
Anderson said there is a problem with California State Route 52 being jammed and problems with CA State Route 67. He said creating 5,000 to 10,000 more jobs in the area means more cars off the highways and is well in the realm of possibilities.
“It is a double-edge sword all for good,” he said. “Their families are improved because they are able to get home and watch their child play soccer and at the same time, it is good for us. Having people commute for an hour each day hurts families and everything that we do.”
In 2018 Anderson lost his bid for a seat on the state’s Board of Equalization. This loss came after Anderson was accused of being drunk and threatening to “bitch slap” California Nurses Association Government Relations Director Stephanie Roberson during a fundraiser at a bar in Sacramento in August, prior to the election. Anderson was kicked out of the bar after the incident. Roberson filed a complaint with the senate.
In September that year Anderson received a letter of reprimand from the California Senate. Senate Pro Tem Toni Atkins described the substantiated allegations as “completely unacceptable” and wrote to Anderson, “The Rules Committee instructs you to interact in a professional manner going forward,” according to NBC 7 San Diego.
Anderson had already apologized for his behavior on Aug. 13, 2018.