Ray Ellis and Barbara Bry. Campaign photos

It’s an odd year for the San Diego City Council — no matter what the calendar says — with the panel’s five odd-numbered districts up for grabs on Tuesday’s primary election ballot.

Two current members are being termed out, two more are running for reelection and another opted against seeking another term.

Five hopefuls are on the ballot in District 1 — which represents Carmel Valley, La Jolla and University City.



The list includes businessman Ray Ellis, who is making a second try after failing to unseat incumbent Sherri Lightner four years ago, and Bruce Lightner, Sherri’s husband. Also on the ballot are high-tech entrepreneur Barbara Bry; Kyle Heiskala, a Sherri Lightner staffer; and Louis Rodolico, who is active in a battle over whether to build a bridge proposed for Regents Road.

Chris Ward with a San Diego trolley. Campaign photo

The race has fascinated San Diego political insiders because of the relatively late entrances of Heiskala and Bruce Lightner, bickering between Bry, Ellis and their supporters over a variety of issues, and the high stakes — the winner could tip the balance of political power on the nine-member council.

Democrats cling to a 5-4 majority on the technically nonpartisan panel, which could shift with an Ellis victory.

Sherri Lightner is being termed out after eight years, as is Councilman Todd Gloria, who was interim mayor for six months following the 2012 resignation of Bob Filner.

Anthony Bernal, a member of Gloria’s staff, is running for the District 3 seat against Scott Sanborn, an ex-Green Beret who served in Afghanistan and Iraq, and Chris Ward, chief of staff for Sen. Marty Block, D-San Diego. The district covers downtown, Hillcrest and North Park.

Another race with a large number of candidates is in District 9, where Councilwoman Marti Emerald declined to run again.

Georgette Gomez. Photo from campaign Facebook page

The choices include her staffer, Ricardo Flores; environmental health advocate Georgette Gomez; lawyer Araceli Martinez; and Sarah Saez, who leads a taxi drivers union. The eventual winner will represent most of City Heights, the College Area and Southcrest.

The two incumbent councilmen both face a pair of opponents.

Mark Kersey, in District 5 — Rancho Bernardo, Rancho Penasquitos and Scripps Ranch — is being challenged by Keith Mikas, a Trader Joe’s employee, and Fotios “Frank” Tsimboukakis, who worked in sales and marketing for Anheuser Busch and now manages his family’s investments.

Scott Sherman, in District 7 — Linda Vista, Mission Valley and San Carlos, is opposed by two Navy veterans, political consultant Jose Caballero and real estate broker Justin DeCesare.

Any candidate who earns more than half the votes Tuesday will win the seat outright. Otherwise, the top two vote-getters will move on to the November general election.

— City News Service

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.