Four women and two men declared an interest in running for the county Board of Supervisors vacancy created by Nathan Fletcher’s resignation. But only four will be on the Aug. 15 ballot in District 4 — Democrats Janessa Goldbeck and Monica Montgomery Steppe plus Republicans Paul McQuigg and Amy Reichert.
Another Democrat, Lemon Grove Mayor Racquel Vasquez, changed her mind and pulled out.
Via email, she said: “Though I have the experience, qualifications and ability to serve the residents of District 4, I will be taking a step back. I will continue to build consensus on other pathways to help our communities grow and prosper.”
But who was the sixth would-be candidate?
Political novice Ed Walker, a 58-year-old Hillcrest resident, filed papers with the county Registrar of Voters on May 19. But last week, he told Times of San Diego: “Unfortunately I was not able to get the required signatures to get on the ballet in only two days given.”
The retired truck driver cited other factors: not being able to set up a campaign account to accept donations and “long odds.”
“The only other choice I see is trying to be a write-in on the ballot,” he said.
Walker at first saw his chances at winning office increase with a special election.
“My understanding is that special elections draw maybe 25% of the voters and those voters [are] likely … more on the conservative side. … I am a registered Republican and I’ll lay it flat out — MAGA loyalist from Day One.”
Given his background — as someone who experienced homelessness for four years — we sought his views on the issue confronting the county and its 18 cities.
He sent the photo below that he took of a homeless man on the street, writing: “I work graveyard shift and come home in the morning to scenes like this. He’s not dead. Several people walking by, looked pretty hard and decided he wasn’t.”
Walker said a lady even pulled over and dashed over to check herself.
“Did you know that, if one calls for an ambulance for someone else, you could be responsible for the cost of that person’s ambulance ride? Found that out while living at Father Joe’s in 2016.”
Born in Phoenix, Walker moved to San Diego in middle school. He grew up in Escondido and attended Grossmont College “later in life to learn computers.”
He has no family living with him and likes to write war stories about trucking in his spare time, he says. He’s now working on a memoir, with hopes of self-publishing.
This interview was conducted via email before Donald Trump’s federal indictment.
Times of San Diego: What led you to file for D4 race? When did you decide you couldn’t pursue the campaign and what were the factors in that decision?
Ed Walker: I decided to file when Nathan Fletcher finally resigned. I saw that the position paid quite well at $180K a year. I believed there was a shot for someone like me in a special election, as I had read an article about how special elections only attract a small percentage of the voters and more likely conservative voters.
I got it in my head that I could be more effective than some of these professional politicians. And the term would only be for three years. So I began to look into the process.
As it turned out, candidates had to wait for the supervisors to make the special election official. Then we would be able to go down to the Registrar of Voters and pick up the petition in lieu of filing fee — what one needed to get on the ballot. Required 100 signatures in two days.
Further, after that you still needed close to $1,500 in filing fees due the same day as the signatures. So one would need to set up a campaign account to legally accept donations to the campaign — or get 335 signatures.
I had asked the young gal at the counter why we only had two days. She said they needed time to verify the signatures before the August 15th election. But I suspect the short window was designed to give those that already have a political infrastructure in place an advantage over people like myself, real residents here in the real world.
It became apparent I simply was not prepared to enter a den of wolves, regardless of how enticing the pay is. If any of them tell you $180K a year with golden health benefits isn’t a motivational factor in their campaign, they’re not being truthful.
I would propose to give someone like me three years to get some results. I’m not a professional politician and wouldn’t be using the time to build a re-election campaign for when the term is up. And that is exactly what all the other candidates are going to do.
I have been homeless. I dug out of it. Certainly not by public assistance alone. There is no such thing as pulling yourself up by the bootstraps in this game. Homelessness is a way of life now for many of these people because they see no hope in the future.
So they bury themselves in drugs and alcohol. Vagrancy is a way of life now because the policies and entities controlling the situation have designed it all to be. Millions in grants that get doled out to nonprofits never seem to produce any positive results.
Had you stayed in race, what would your top issues have been?
Homelessness. The soon-to-be immigrants looking to settle in what once was America’s Finest City.
The constant contamination from the Tijuana River making its way up the coast. How long has it been since IB swimming has been open?
The ungodly cost of rent certainly contributes to homelessness but is not the only issue. Low pay and lack of training to get these people back to being a semi-productive part of society are elements contributing to the problem. And of course addiction and mental health issues.
Cost of living in San Diego is simply outpacing pay rates. Which in turn raises the cost of everything you buy. So we’re in a bit of a conundrum. It’s easy to say: ”Something has to be done.” And we hear the professional politicians say that all the time. But never any improvements.
What issues are current candidates ignoring or giving short shrift?
Haven’t been keeping up on what they are campaigning on, since I gave up myself. I see in today’s issue of East County Magazine that a fourth candidate has qualified. He must have had at least some support already in place to get the signatures required in two days.
What led you to register as a Republican?
I’m a Republican because the Democratic Party has gone off the deep end. I was willing to sacrifice whatever perceived advantages I had for the sake of minorities. But now they want more and more and more. Meanwhile, I’m shamed for being a white, heterosexual male.
Why are you a MAGA Republican? What are its values?
When Trump announced in 2016, I knew immediately this was a guy who would never betray America. I was right. The real usurpers and betrayers are the war-mongering Republicans. Trump almost had the party cleaned up. Unlike the Democratic Party, at least the Republicans, MAGA Republicans, are trying to police their own and clean house.
Trump stands for Peace and Prosperity for ALL Americans. Which is why the establishment hates him. Before the fake pandemic came along, Trump had things running pretty damn good. Unemployment was down. Every demographics employment rate was up. There was no war in Ukraine, and Afghanistan was prepped for a clean pullout.
How do you describe former President Trump?
A courageous American.
Why should Trump be re-elected president in 2024?
He’s been there before. He knows now just how deep and vast the corruption in the federal government goes. When he was elected, we thought we had won the war and took back our country. It was merely a shot across their bow. A warning shot that scared the hell out of the establishment. They can’t have anything like that happen again and they sure are trying to deny the people a proper choice in candidates.
What pays your bills now, and what career would you like to have?
Retired truck driver. Kind of forced retirement due to health. I’m currently employed as a security guard. What career would I like to have? I think it’s probably way past thinking about that. I’m just hoping to self-publish some things and hope for the best.
Ever run for office before?
No. Never thought about it before. Never tried. But this is a good experience and teaches me that having some sort of infrastructure in place is critical.
Anything else readers should know about you or your politics?
I’m a 32-year veteran of driving OTR and local trucks. Went homeless in 2015 and the election of Trump gave me the one thing that politicians don’t want the homeless to have — HOPE. True hope. Not the BS we got from Obama.
Trump got America back to work. All while having to fight against the establishment. Unbelievable. You can call him all the names you want. But for just a second, separate what MAGA means from the man that coined the phrase. Do MAGA policies offend people that much. Getting back to work offends people? Better pay offends people? No wars offends people? Being energy-independent offends people? Having a secure border offends people?
What’s offensive is walking down the street and observing the guy in the wheelchair pick at open wounds on his legs. What’s offensive is going to the bank and the ATM being covered in human feces. What’s offensive is giving illegal immigrants free stuff. Money, shelter and medical.
Wake up, San Diego! We will soon be like Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, L.A., Chicago and NYC. And if the people continue to vote for woke liberals and fake conservatives, you will have zero excuses and people to blame except yourselves.