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June 5, 2018 — California Primary Election
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June 5, 2018 —California Primary Election

City of San Diego — ” Tommy Hough, Candidate for City Council, District 6

Photo of Tommy Hough

Tommy Hough

Broadcaster/Environmental Advocate
4,728 votes (15.3%)Winning
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  • Rebuilding our aging infrastructure and revitalizing civic spaces – from parks to police stations to libraries.
  • Finding long-term, effective, and compassionate solutions to our homeless crisis.
  • Utilizing infill for housing and expanded transit options to move San Diegans to and from work.
Profession:Broadcaster and Environmental Advocate
Delegate, California Democratic Party — Elected position (2015–current)
Morning Host, 91X Radio (2015–2017)
Editor and Producer, Public News Service (2014–2016)
Communications Coordinator, Oregon Wild (2012–2014)
Communications Coordinator, Surfrider Foundation San Diego County Chapter (2011–2012)
Morning Host and Public Affairs Director, FM 94/9 Radio (2002–2012)
Ohio University Bachelor's Degree, Communications, English, History (1992)
President and Co-Founder, San Diego County Democrats for Environmental Action (2014–2017)
Citizen Lobbyist, California State Parks Foundation (2010–2015)
Producer and Host, Treehuggers International (2007–2012)
Herpetology Monitoring Volunteer, Cabrillo National Monument (2006–2006)
Volunteer Coordinator, Post-Cedar Fire Earth Day Restoration Efforts, Rancho Cuyamaca State Park (2004–2005)

I was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in an era when steelworkers were part of an expansive middle class, and a single income could put two kids through college, two cars in the garage and a color TV in the living room back when color TVs were furniture – not something you slapped up on the wall.

I remember the end of the steel era, seemingly on a single day in 1982, when an invisible hand seemed to flip a switch, and every mill in the region turned off.

The mills never turned on again, and those jobs never came back. Slowly, a region that had once prided itself on being the "industrial heartland" of the U.S. became pejoratively referred to as the "rust belt."

Think for a moment about what that does to people.

After graduating high school I attended Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. Located in the foothills of the Appalachian range, I was able to further indulge my love of the outdoors that I'd first realized in the Laurel Highlands of Western Pennsylvania.

But as I saw more and more of the Appalachian wilderness in southeast Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, and along the Ohio River, I came face-to-face with the crippling poverty of the region, where entire communities were seemingly laid waste – bereft of political or social power for decades on end.

Think for a moment about what that does to people.

As a middle class kid who had already seen a middle class collapse, the poverty of Appalachia was shocking, especially in contrast to the magnificent wilderness so abundant in those areas – and slowly being eaten away at by logging, mountaintop removal mining and strip mining.

After college I began my professional broadcast career in earnest, and in quick succession worked at a series of stations in Dayton, Columbus and Cincinnati before moving to Seattle to further indulge my love of the outdoors. The wilderness of the Pacific Northwest defies superlatives, and I was fortunate to have the time and latitude to hike, climb, and came to know such incredible locales like Mount Rainier, Olympic and North Cascades National Parks. I also was able to see the Northwest Forest Plan put into practice, signaling the end of the Timber Wars and the era of cutting old-growth on federal land, and the process that became the 2001 U.S. Forest Service "Roadless Rule."

In 2002 I was hired at a revolutionary new rock station in San Diego called FM 94/9 – a station that played Johnny Cash as much as it played Soundgarden, along with deep tracks from everyone from Nirvana to the Rugburns, and bands that had never been given their fair due on the air, like The Clash and The Pixies. For a music lover and a broadcaster, it was a great match.

As my on-air roles evolved, I became the first San Diego broadcaster to actively feature and celebrate San Diego craft beers on the air in an on-air partnership with Stone Brewing, and years later, when I'd moved to 91X, with Karl Strauss Brewing on Beer for Breakfast. I also produced and hosted my own environmental affairs show while at FM 94/9 called Treehuggers International – the only commercial broadcaster in San Diego to do so at that time or since.

Later I went to work managing communications for the San Diego County Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, and at Oregon Wild in Portland in a brief foray back to the Pacific Northwest. Upon my return to San Diego I co-founded San Diego County Democrats for Environmental Action with several friends I'd met working on campaigns, and was elected as the organization's first president in July 2014. I was also elected to the first of two terms as a California Democratic Party delegate in Jan. 2015.

As president I led the club in opposition to the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership in 2015, and vociferously debated San Diego Gas and Electric representatives on the dais at a San Diego County Democratic Party central committee meeting later that year, after the utility tried to blame rooftop solar users for a rate hike on the utility's poorest residents.

In 2016 we came on board in opposition to the CEQA-defying Carlsbad Measure A proposal, countywide Measure A (the SANDAG ballot measure) as part of the Quality of Life Coalition, and led our own efforts against countywide Measure B (the Lilac Hills development), which was another CEQA-defying scheme being pushed as an affordable housing measure. I co-wrote the club's resolution calling for passage of the city of San Diego's Climate Action Plan, which passed the county Democratic Party central committee in Nov. 2015, and co-wrote the club's resolution calling for immediate implementation of the Community Choice Energy component of the Climate Action Plan, which similarly passed the central committee in Sept. 2017.

Under my leadership, the club also passed resolutions in 2017 rejecting the "Jacobs Plan" proposal for redevelopment of Balboa Park, and stood in support of the National Parks Conservation Association in blocking the Cadiz Water Project in the Mojave Desert. As president, I also highlighted the unprecedented re-drawing of National Monument boundaries by the Trump Interior Department, culminating in my op/ed piece in the May 18, 2017, edition of the San Diego Union-Tribune.

I decided to run for office after my most recent on-air position hosting mornings at 91X came to an end in Sept. 2017, and stepped down from the leadership of the San Diego County Democrats for Environmental Action in Dec. 2017 to focus on my city council race – and hopefully, give back to the city that has become my home, the city where I've found my greatest professional success, and the city where I met my wife.

 

 

  • Sierra Club
  • SEIU Local 221
  • Marti Emerald, former San Diego City Councilmember (D-9)
  • Jennifer Mendoza, Lemon Grove City Councilmember
  • Colin Parent, La Mesa City Councilmember
  • Mark West, Imperial Beach City Council
  • San Diego County Democrats for Environmental Action
  • Point Loma and Ocean Beach Democratic Club
  • Rancho Bernardo Democratic Club
  • Working Families Council
  • Howard Wayne, former California State Assemblymember (AD-78)
  • RL Miller, chair of the California Democratic Party Environmental Caucus
  • Jeff Griffith, Fire Captain, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection
1.
Question 1

Should the Community Review Board on Police Practices be given subpoena power when reviewing allegations of officer misconduct? Why or why not?

 

 

Answer from Tommy Hough:

Since all the members of the Community Review Board on Police Practices are appointed by the mayor, and since the board relies upon work done by the San Diego Police Department's public affairs unit and overwhelmingly agrees with the department's findings in case after case, then yes – anything that gives these kinds of review boards additional latitude for independence should be pursued. This isn't a matter of questioning the integrity or competence of review boards, but it's critical that the public and all of our city's constituents have earned confidence in these boards to reach appropriate, fair and just decisions.

2.
Question 2

Should the city eliminate minimum parking requirements for new housing near public transit? Why or why not?

Answer from Tommy Hough:

Building parking for high denisty developments can be very expensive because you typically have to go underground, and if you're required to put in minimum parking you may be forcing a renter or buyer to purchase parking they don't necessarily need. I would support the elimination of minimum parking requirements for new housing near public transit, but we need to be very careful about where and how we apply this. Getting rid of parking spaces doesn't get rid of cars, and there's no denying such parking requirements would impact long-term residents who've been in the area before the arrival of new housing or meaningful public transit. Once the city has more comprehensive transit and more walkable neighborhoods we may be better able to eliminate minimum parking requirements, but the suburban communities of D-6 were built entirely after World War II, and as a result are heavily geared towards the automobile. Effective and affordable bus transit will be the best, most immediate option to get people put of their cars in D-6.

3.
Question 3

Would you support a tax increase that would fund housing and services to the homeless? Why or why not?

Answer from Tommy Hough:

I would support a tax increase if it was part of a genuune effort at the city level to address our homeless crisis. From the beginning of my campaign I've stressed that council must actively lead on finding long-term, effective, and compassionate solutions to our homeless crisis, and not acquiesce to short-term fixes by writing them off as being "good for now." During the annual census of homeless San Diegans in January, I explained to Channel 8 viewers from Lindbergh Park in Clairemont that homelessness is not just a crisis Downtown, but throughout the city. We need to acknowledge the different "flavors" of homelessness in order to develop a variety of solutions and best practices, and acknowledge the dynamics that will always make San Diego a city with a transient population – and from there begin to plan for the future. Tent cities are not the answer, and band-aid remedies won't get us closer to the long-term solutions our homeless neighbors need. We can apply the best practices and lessons that the cities of Salt Lake City, Houston and Albuquerque found in their efforts in housing the homeless, but the mayor must be pressured to make more beds available, and the city must have a meaningful way to direct homeless veterans toward the federal resources they are entitled to.

4.
Question 4

Do you support increasing housing density in your council district? Why or why not?

Answer from Tommy Hough:

As an environmentalist, I'm wary of new construction – but the numbers don't lie. We know we're going to need a greater amount of housing for the forseeable future. The question is whether the city will force developers to build affordable and fair-market housing, or continue to build housing that is demonstrably out of reach for most working San Diegans. I support utilizing infill development for new housing in order to avoid backcountry sprawl, and in District 6 we have the best opportunity north of I-8 to do so. However, new housing must be built in a responsible manner that doesn't infringe on our parks or open space, or harm our canyons, mesas and surviving vernal pools. We must also re-purpose and re-utilize existing structures because we’re not going to solely build our way out of the problem, and unless we're tying in meaningful and effective transit options along with infill and density, we're only going to make our traffic problems worse. Developers must be brought to bear to build what we need instead of what they want – and a greater percentage of affordable housing availability in new construction is needed than the current level of 10 percent.

5.
Question 5

Do you support either of the plans on the November ballot that would sell the Mission Valley stadium site? Why or why not?

Answer from Tommy Hough:

I'm opposed to the Soccer City proposal for a variety of reasons, most notably because the project would not be required to adhere to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), but also because the plan isn't about the soccer stadium so much as it's about a La Jolla investment group using city-owned property to build and operate commercial enterprises. While I support responsible expansion of San Diego State University, I'm concerned about the so-called SDSU West proposal because of the volume of traffic that would be expected to go in and out of that location every day. In addition, one of the reasons the site was selected for the construction of Jack Murphy Stadium in the 1960s was because the area along the San Diego River is a floodplain – the stadium trolley stop was built as an elevated station with that expectation – and I'm dubious of claims that the local hydrology can be tamed. I believe it's environmentally unsound to build more homes or businesses in such close proximity to the river, even with a larger river park to serve as a buffer. I'd prefer to leave the area as is until we come to a solution we can all agree on, or renovate the stadium in a manner to accomodate MLS and the NFL.

As an environmentalist and a former on-air host at San Diego radio stations like 91X, KPRI and FM 94/9, I'm not your average candidate for office.

I've spoken to thousands of San Diegans over the years about their concerns, and I what I hear more than ever is a concern that the middle class is slipping away for working San Diegans who have to make tough financial decisions not at the end of every month – but every week.

"Can we put money away for the college fund?"

"Can we get the car worked on this week?"

"What if I lose my job?"

Despite California's on-paper prosperity, the cost of living in Southern California and financial uncertainty facing middle class San Diegans is very real. Compared to even 20 years ago, the middle class is much more fragile today, and is no longer the solid anchor that could be reliably counted upon to support a family and a career. Today, too many of our neighbors are working two or three jobs to make ends meet, while trying to making time for classes and time for family.

We must have an end to the backroom deals to corporations that land squarely on the backs of working San Diegans. We need to break the cycle of loser leases and cronyism that leave San Diego taxpayers coming up short.

We need a long-term solution to our homeless crisis that is effective, smart, and compassionate. We need to move towards utilizing infill as a component in addressing our shortfall of affordable housing, while enhancing our community parks and open space.

We desperately need to streamline our city's bureaucracy to become more effective and less cumbersome, so San diegans don't have to wait weeks to put an addition on their home or solar panels on their roof. We need safer roads with problem streets re-built, not slurry-sealed over again and again. We need to add more fire stations to a city that is still dangerously short of them. And our small business craft brewers deserve more than photo ops to protect them from conglomerates like Anheuser Busch and Coors, which threaten our local brewers with phony "San Diego" Trojan Horse breweries.

I have spoken to so many of you during my years on the air, and have met so many of you at events around our city. This campaign has been a joy of re-connecting with familiar faces and meeting new neighbors and friends in our District 6 communities of Clairemont, Mira Mesa, Kearny Mesa, Sorrento Valley, Miramar and the southern Rancho Peñasquitos – for the ethics of good government, a cleaner environment, a more prosperous future for working San Diegans, and effective representation at City Hall.



I'm ready to fight the Downtown establishment and city hall business-as-usual to serve as your next District 6 councilmember for the ethics of good government, a cleaner environment, a more prosperous future for working San Diegans, and effective, ethical, honorable representation at City Hall.

Researched by Voter’s Edge
Source: City Clerk, City of San Diego

CITY OF SAN DIEGO -- City Councilmember District 6

TOMMY HOUGH

Broadcaster and Environmental Advocate

As an environmentalist and former on-air host at 91X and FM 94/9, I’m ready to serve as the voice of working San Diegans and the middle class.

I’m running to ensure the diverse interests of Clairemont, Mira Mesa, Kearny Mesa, Miramar, Sorrento Valley and Rancho Peñasquitos are capably and honorably represented. We need long-term, effective solutions to our homeless and affordable housing crises, and we must close our fire station gap, increase transit options, re-build problem roads, protect our parks and open space, and fully implement the city’s Climate Action Plan.

Growing up in Western Pennsylvania in the 1980s, I’ve seen what happens when an industry vanishes and the middle class collapses. I see parallels today with the exploding cost of living, the uncertainty and fragile nature of our middle class, and how the possibility of home ownership is out of reach of so many of our neighbors. My campaign begins and ends on the pledge that working San Diegans will be heard, and that we have a government that speaks for everyone.

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