Lori Saldaña Files for Supervisor as Black Democrats Urge Endorsement Debate

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Lori Saldaña speaks to La Mesa-Foothills Democratic Club in 2016 during bid for San Diego mayor. Photo by Ken Stone

By Ken Stone

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Rosalind Winstead had been fired in 2008 as president of the Southeastern Economic Development Corp. Winstead is a self-employed entrepreneur who was never employed by the organization.

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Two months after serving notice she would run for the county Board of Supervisors, Democrat Lori Saldaña officially entered the race Friday by filing paperwork with the county.

Section of Lori Saldaña paperwork filing for Fourth District county supervisor race. Image via sdvote.com

Her bid for the Fourth District seat being vacated by Ron Roberts came 10 days after Republican Bonnie Dumanis filed her own Form 501 “Candidate Intention Statement.”

The office, to be filled in November 2018, is officially nonpartisan. But party affiliation plays a role in fundraising and campaigning.

Saldaña follows Democrats Nathan Fletcher, Omar Passons and Ken Malbrough in formally seeking the four-year seat as well as Marcia Nordstrom, the first Republican to enter the race.

In a brief Facebook chat Friday, Saldaña said she delayed filing her paperwork because she wanted to get through the first week of fall semester and “manage registration/orientation of new students” in her adult education teaching job.

“I teach at the West City Campus on Fordham — near Veterans Village and County HHSA office on Rosecrans. Many of our students are veterans, disabled and/or homeless,” she told Times of San Diego. “I will do a formal announcement in the next week or two.”

Saldaña is a contract faculty member with the San Diego Community College District’s adult ed division in business information technology.

Fletcher, like Saldaña a former member of the state Assembly, expects to receive the county Democratic Party’s official endorsement when its Central Committee meets Tuesday at Machinists Hall in Kearny Mesa.

But a 1,200-word open letter to the county Democratic Party circulating on Facebook is critical of the pending endorsement of the husband of state Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher.

Written by Rosalind A. Winstead, who calls herself “African American Community Advocate,” the letter noted that the current Board of Supervisors is composed of five Caucasian Republicans.

“The District 4 seat, once held by an African American, the Honorable Leon Williams, is currently held by termed-out Republican Ron Roberts,” Winstead said.

“Of the four confirmed candidates, three reflect the party’s commitment to the diversity celebrated by the ‘big tent’ concept. Two African American men and one Latino woman are candidates. All were dealt a significant blow at the [Central Area Committee] meeting when one received the coveted early endorsement despite efforts by party members to allow voters to decide in a June 2018 primary election.”

Winstead said that Aug. 28 meeting saw a “disturbing but instructive election process that was, at a minimum, chaotic.”

“It appeared to be anything but orderly and democratic,” she said. “There were attempts at procedural changes regarding the meeting agenda…. It did not inspire confidence in the process used to make the critically impactful early endorsement decision.”

Letter from Martin Luther King Jr. Democratic Club to county chair Jessica Hayes (PDF)

She called for a “full and fair hearing of all candidates” at Tuesday’s meeting “to ensure the integrity of the candidate endorsement process, and confidence in the process on the part of party delegates and voters.”

Specifically, she wants the Central Committee to remove the Fletcher endorsement from the consent calendar — a straight vote on several items with no discussion — and allow remarks by candidates along with committee debate.

Winstead’s letter said: “It appears that an open and transparent process has been successfully undermined by a ‘rush to judgment’ paranoia on the part of the county Democratic leadership — and the undue influence of a politically potent spouse whose bias and prospective economic benefits can hardly be denied.”

A letter dated Sept. 13 from the vice president of the Martin Luther King Jr. Democratic Club also urged the party to set aside “what we believe was a pre-emptive endorsement” of Fletcher.

“We believe it is the job of the Central Committee to hear all Democratic candidates before voting on endorsements in such important races – especially for this supervisorial seat which has not been open since 1994,” said the official, Alyce Pipkin-Allen.

Earlier Friday, Fletcher tweeted his latest endorsement — by Lemon Grove City Councilman David Arambula.

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