Local voters will head to the polls Nov. 4 to elect two new city council members. Three candidates — Angela Alvarez, Carrie Anne Downey and Bill Sandke — will face off for the two seats that have opened since Council Member Al Ovrom timed out due to term limits and Council Member Barbara Denny chose not to run for re-election.
Carrie Anne Downey first came to Coronado 20 years ago when she was stationed here as a Navy judge advocate general. She eventually established her own law practice on the island and currently teaches an energy law and policy course at the University of San Diego. She served as a Coronado city council member from 2004 through December 2012, before stepping down in compliance with term limits, which do not allow for more than two consecutive terms. She has served as president of both the Coronado Lions and Coronado Woman’s Club.
Downey explained why she is running for a third term: “I am eager to continue the work I have done to advance public participation in city government.” She said that during her first term in 2004, she worked to make the city council agenda and related materials accessible online, and eventually joined Mayor Casey Tanaka in ensuring council meetings were viewable online. “We have more to do on that front,” Downey said. While Downey believes that most citizens would agree that Coronado is one of the best run city governments in the state, she still thinks there is room for an increase in accessibility, “perhaps, for example, in the form of lower rental rates for Coronado service clubs to use city meeting rooms,” she suggested.
“Transparency and civic engagement are important to my platform,” she said, as is educating the public on fiscal policies.”
Among her endorsements are Coronado’s last three mayors (Casey Tanaka, Tom Smisek, and Mary Herron), and her last two Navy commanding officers (Coronado residents Capt. Don Steuer and Capt. Dave Landon).
Downey plans to focus on long-term planning when it comes to budget management, capital projects including repair and upgrades to the sewer system, and finding ways to make the co-use of Orange Avenue friendly for pedestrians, bicyclists and cars.
Bill Sandke has called Coronado home since 1966. He owns Crown City Photography, which he purchased in 1989, and has photographed numerous Coronado families over the years.
His public service to Coronado spans 30 years, during which he’s been Rotary Club of Coronado president, MainStreet vice president, a Coronado Yacht Club officer, soccer and softball coach, Business Areas Advisory Council member, Christ Church youth leader, and a Coronado Schools Foundation board member.
Sandke is probably best known to Coronado for his 20 years as host of the Coronado Schools Foundation Telethon. He also currently serves on the Coronado Planning Commission. “Homegrown dedication to community” is the centerpiece of Sandke’s platform.
Sandke sees running for city council as a natural progression of his public service record. “In the end people should be, in some way, measured by their service to their community. My gut tells me Coronado residents are happy with the city. That said, accountability and responsiveness are hallmarks of good city government. I will steadfastly ensure these values are honored.”
If elected, Sandke said he plans to prioritize accountability, encourage compliance with density and land use codes, promote continued financial stability, champion Coronado’s business district, and face traffic and parking challenges head on.
Angela Alvarez has led philanthropic fundraising projects for 12 years with The Thursday Club (a women’s philanthropy organization based in Point Loma), raising nearly $300,000 for several nonprofits throughout San Diego. Alvarez was a court clerk for a number of years before starting her own business providing law office management to private-practice attorneys. She is now employed for Orca Maritime, Inc. as their office administrator. One of the issues Alvarez would like to see alleviated is the traffic congestion on Third and Fourth streets and, she believes, “with a collaboration of ideas we could bring about improvement. I want to contribute to the community of Coronado. My children and I want to see Coronado maintained to its best for all the families, friends and neighbors, which means a safe community and high standards of livability.”
At the Coronado Unified School District, Board Trustees Bruce Shepherd, Ledyard Hakes and Brenda Kracht were up for re-election this year. Shepherd and Kracht opted not to pursue additional terms; Hakes filed for re-election. Therefore, three spots were open with applications received from three candidates: Hakes, Capt. Lee Pontes (USN-Ret.), who established the high school’s NJROTC program in 2004, and Rear Adm. Lou Smith (USN-Ret.) who most recently served as port commissioner, serving the city of Coronado. The three candidates will be appointed to their four-year term at the December board meeting.
Whitney Benzian (CHS, Class of ’98) is a freelance writer and real estate agent with Willis Allen Real Estate in Coronado.