Louis Rodolico, San Diego City Council candidate in District 1. Photo courtesy Louis Rodolico
Louis Rodolico, San Diego City Council candidate in District 1. Photo courtesy Louis Rodolico

Updated at 7 p.m. March 4, 2016

A retired hospital architect has joined the District 1 race for San Diego City Council with the aim of “making the community a safer place and better optimize taxpayer dollars.”

Democrat Louis Rodolico pulled nomination papers Feb. 29 and has until March 10 to gather at least 100 signatures (and pay $200) to join fellow Democrat Barbara Bry and Republican Ray Ellis in the race. Or he could submit 1,000 signatures and pay no fee.*

Philadelphia-born Rodolico, who has voted in every local election but one in the past 14 years, is a political novice who moved to University City in 2001.

His main concerns?

“In University City, I believe that we need to build the Regents Road Bridge,” he told Times of San Diego. “Taking the bridge out of the [University City Community Plan] is not a solution — it is a transfer of wealth. Also believe we need one central fire station, not two at the periphery.”

The long-sought $40 million bridge over Rose Canyon is opposed by environmental groups, and the Union-Tribune reported last August: “After public input is gathered, a new community plan and companion EIR is expected to be presented in fall 2016 to the Planning Commission and in November 2016 to the council.”

Ellis did not respond to a request for comment. But Bry said: “I welcome Mr. Rodolico, and any other interested residents, into the race. More points of view contribute to a more diverse and constructive debate.”

Rodolico said Wednesday via email that “fellow citizens” influenced his decision to enter the race, hoping to succeed Councilwoman Sherri Lightner in the seat representing the mainly coastal district from Del Mar Heights and Pacific Highlands Ranch on the north through Carmel Valley and La Jolla on the south.

He hasn’t decided who he supports for president, he said, and hasn’t launched a social media campaign.

Any candidate who wins more than 50 percent of the vote in the June 7 primary is automatically elected to council. Otherwise, the top two finishers go to a November runoff.

Married with two children (in middle and high school), Rodolico gained brief notoriety in December 2008 when he channeled community anger over a F/A-18D Hornet residential crash that killed four people.

At a packed meeting at University City High School, Rodolico asked why the Marines “sent a doomed machine over a highly populated zone.”

“This is unacceptable and I would like to see a little more outrage, please,” Rodolico was quoted as saying, appealing to the crowd.

“He drew sustained applause,” said one account.

Rodolico, a nonboard member of the University Community Planning Group, says he’s spoken with rival Bry on the phone and briefly met Ellis at local planning board meeting.

“They both appear intelligent and competent,” he said. “If I win, I would want a working relationship with them.”

Asked what recommends him over his rivals, Rodolico said: “People who have read my articles and have seen me make public presentations.”

He also cited his being a licensed architect and pro-bono community advocate in Pennsylvania, and “I also produced designs and contract documents for gymnasiums, a women’s shelter, commercial stores/storefronts, playgrounds etc.”

At Penn State University, he was president of the Society of American Military Engineers. After college, he was on the board of Frankford United Neighbors Community Development Organization and was treasurer of Frankford Young Women’s Christian Organization, Bridge-Pratt Businessman’s Association, and vice president of the Deni Playground Advisory Council.

He says he’s donated blood about 120 times.

*An earlier version of this story mistakenly said 200 signatures were needed to qualify for the ballot, with a $500 filing fee. That’s for mayoral candidates.