2018 Candidates Pre-Forum Q&A

2018 Candidates Forum

We asked the candidates some “Pre-Forum” questions prior to the upcoming forum. Please click the ORANGE buttons below to read the Pre-Forum Q&A.

Attend the Forum for additional live and audience questions


Wednesday, October 3rd at Painted Rock Elementary School

  • 6:30 PUSD Board-District B

  • 7:30 Poway Mayor / Poway City Council At Large

  • 8:30 Poway City Council-Districts 1 & 3

City Council Districts

City Council Districts

Measure W: Don’t be Fooled – VOTE NO ON W

Whenever something is labeled a “no brainer” it should set alarm bells off in your head.  The prospect of a 240-room hotel complex at Maderas Golf Club off of Espola Road is ringing like a 5-alarm fire drill.  But the developer of this proposed project, Sunroad Enterprises, is tone deaf. They failed to garner input from the community before slipping the ballot measure request onto City Council’s agenda just under the deadline for it to appear on the November ballot. 

No vetting by the community or council. No plan presented. (Drawings were later rendered in haste to tempt residents with eye candy.) Very few residents even knew the proposal was being brought before council.

The desperate flood of Yes on W postcards residents have received leading up to the election are disingenuous and transparently misleading. Emblazoned with buzzwords like “guarantee“…”good neighbor” …“quality of life” …”funding for parks, libraries and paramedics” … these campaign promises are empty and patronizing to Poway residents. 

Magical thinking
Some may like the idea of new tax revenue brought into the City on someone else’s shoulders (via a Transient Occupancy Tax paid by hotel guests). But where is this magical $1.5 million the developer keeps touting coming from? What is the formula? Is it based on near-complete occupancy of a 240-room resort?  It should be noted that the sprawling Rancho Bernardo Inn is 287 rooms. Neither Sunroad nor the community has any say in how tax revenue, which would go into the general fund, would be spent. 

No guarantees
If Measure W passes, the die is cast. The land would be approved for a hotel development up to 240-rooms for the current and future owner of the property. Critical decisions on location, square footage, height and more would be in the hands of city staff with approval by three members of a future city council.  

Skirting an updated Environmental Impact Report?
Council approved putting Measure W on the ballot based on a 26-year-old Environmental Impact Report. Key factors such as density, traffic, water, and fire safety have changed significantly since the 1980 report. The developer will do whatever it can to limit the extent of any new EIR that would be required by the city.

Questionable history
Sunroad is a developer with storied and questionable business practices, including having to remove the top two floors of an overbuilt office building near Montgomery Field and a pay-to-play scheme with the City of San Diego

GVCA has your best interests
The GVCA has been a watchdog for the quality of life in Poway since 1960. We keep an eye on issues such as water rates, inappropriate variances, fiscal responsibility, as well as support of local youth activities and events. 

Vote NO on W

We know Poway residents are smarter than the developer gives us credit for. Demand honesty, more information and transparency at the ballot by voting NO on W.

Be sure to read our arguments against Measure W in your voter guide.

Vote No: Measure W Maderas Hotel

When the idea of allowing a 240-room hotel development at Maderas Golf Club (Measure “W” on the November ballot) first surfaced in the public arena this summer, it elicited a variety of reactions from residents: curiosity, excitement, skepticism, opposition. Before taking a position on this potential land use change and major development, the GVCA board did its homework.

Upon learning that a land use request and ballot measure would go before a vote of City Council on July 19th, the GVCA had a mere two weeks to research the facts. In that time, we:

  • Obtained public records from the City Clerk’s office related to the land use request, including the Original Specific Plan, the Amended Specific Plan, and a recent traffic study
  • Conducted an email poll to gauge support or opposition of the proposal
  • Met with a representative from Sunroad Enterprises, the property owner and developer
  • Contacted City Council members


What we learned (and didn’t learn) left us with more questions than answers. Because the GVCA had serious concerns about the size of the development (akin to the 287-room Rancho Bernardo Inn), the potential impact (traffic, fire safety, water usage, noise, visual), and the hasty process by which the measure was brought to Council, with little to no information or input from the community, we cautioned Council against approving the applicant’s request. 


With the exception of Councilman Dave Grosch, City Council approved the proposal without questioning the 26-year-old Environmental Impact Report, the appropriateness of a 240-room resort, the validity of a promised $1.5 mil in hotel tax revenue, or preliminary support from the community, 

A development of this magnitude and potential impact, demands proper vetting by the City Staff and City Council on behalf of the residents of Poway before reaching the ballot, not a rubber stamp of a vague and open-ended ballot measure which simply states:

Do you approve Specific Plan Amendment 16- 002 as adopted by the Poway City Council to amend the Old Coach Golf Estates Specific Plan, to allow development of a hotel with up to 240 rooms on the existing Maderas Golf Course site located at 17750 Old Coach Road?

Voters need a clearer understanding of what it is they are voting on and the impact their decision could have. It should be noted that a hotel was not approved in the Original Specific Plan due to community concerns. 


Without additional parameters on the land use (i.e. height limit, square footage, etc.) spelled out on the ballot, these key decisions will be left up to approval by a future City Council if the measure passes. The promise of community workshops cannot ease serious concerns about the recent disconnect in communication between Staff, Council and the community on major projects and developments.


The GVCA is fully supportive of a thriving economic environment in Poway. We are active members of the Poway Chamber of Commerce and its Board of Directors, and proud supporters of Poway OnStage performances at the Poway Performing Arts Center. In order for a major hotel development in Poway to be a win-win for everyone involved, we need to get it right BEFORE it reaches the ballot. Measures such as this require more information, honesty and transparency. Voters should demand it by voting NO on W.


Candidate Responses to GVCA's Questions


As the November election nears, one of the roles the GVCA has traditionally taken is to inform the community about the candidates who are seeking local office for Poway City Council and Poway Unified School District.  As such, we asked the candidates questions relevant to the concerns of our community. 

Presented below are the candidates' verbatim responses.

Looking for PUSD School Board Candidates

Two seats of the five seats on the Poway Unifed School District Board of Education are up for general election in November. One seat is currently held by incumbent Kimberly Beatty and the second is held by long-time board member Andy Patapow who is not seeking re-election.

As an award-winning school district, PUSD needs strong, stable leadership on its board of directors to help sustain its excellence in education which also protects home values in the area. Currently, there are no members on the board who live in the City of Poway.

If you are interested in running for one of the open seats, a group called The Coalition for Effective School Board Leadership is seeking candidates to endorse. The group consists of 20 parents, teachers, local business owners, and community leaders, including former Poway High School Principal, Scott Fisher.

For more information, visit:


The candidate filing deadline for this election is August 12, 2016. 

GVCA thanks Don Higginson for 28 years of service as Mayor and Councilman

Don Higginson was elected to the Poway City Council in 1986 at a time when our City was still establishing its identity. Clearly the citizens of Poway wanted to retain the rural flavor of the Community, but they also needed leadership to develop priorities for Poway’s future and to use the power of the recently approved Redevelopment Agency and Poway Business Park to help build a strong financial base. They also required leadership that would ensure wise use of Poway’s funds to develop the infrastructure that would make our City more livable. 28 years later, as both Mayor and Councilmember, Don Higginson met those leadership challenges.

Affable and congenial but not flashy or contentious, Don worked hard, often behind the scenes, to help Poway grow while protecting our core values. He was not afraid to take on battles, but preferred diplomacy to confrontation. His votes reflected his view of what he thought was right for the citizens of Poway, and not necessarily because they might make him more popular. Don successfully balanced his Council time with the demands of a being a husband and father and the demands of a busy career.

Don leaves Poway government with a City that is the pride of San Diego County. The GVCA wishes to thank him for his service and hopes that he will continue to find ways to use his talents for the betterment of our Community. 

Farewell to a friend of the City and GVCA

As you may know, Poway City Manager Penny Riley will be retiring effective January 2014. She will be missed. Penny started with the City as an Intern in the 1980s and served many years under Jim Bowersox,

the City’s long-serving first Manager. Penny shared many of Jim’s strengths, including the ability to appreciate the value of differing positions and how to forge consensus and compromise. Her talents have been part of the reason the City has enjoyed renewed prosperity and a period of relative tranquility despite the ever present efforts of the State to poach local government funds. Her efforts, as well as those of Assistant City Manager Tina White, are largely responsible for the success to date of the Revelopment Successor Oversight Board, in stark contrast to that experienced by other jurisdictions. This success will ultimately yield significant financial returns to our Community.

Penny and the GVCA had an excellent relationship, and we thank her for her always pleasant and candid demeanor. She set a high bar for future Poway City Managers with her obvious love for the City and managerial skill set. We wish her all the best for a well-deserved retirement.