The Race for District 1 Continues…by Natalie Jacobs April 29, 2016
Following interviews with two of the candidates for City Council District 1 published in the April issue, one more candidate, Louis Rodolico, agreed to talk with SDJJ. The remaining two candidates, Bruce Lightner and Kyle Heiskala, were contacted for interviews but did not respond to requests. Congregation Beth Israel will host Barbara Bry, Ray Ellis and Louis Rodolico at its Dinner Forum on May 18 at 6:30 p.m.
Why did you decide to run for City Council?
Louis Rodolico: It looked like some issues weren’t going to be addressed – the Regents Road Bridge and the fire house locations in Univeristy City, specifically. So I decided to jump into the race to make sure these issues were given a fair hearing.
What’s the situation with the Regents Road bridge?
LR: Originally there were three roads planned to connect UTC and University City … that was a total of 12 lanes. … Individuals living on the Regents Road corridor don’t want the Regents Road because they believe it will lower their property values, it will cause traffic, it will bring maybe crime and all of those elements into their communities. But at the same time, not having Regents Road bridge is a problem because all the traffic now goes down Genessee, there’s a large delay which I estimate puts about 10 million pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere because of the delay. There are also several property owners who live right next to the road that would benefit enormously if the bridge were not built. Some of the properties are very large and could be divided up where additional houses could be built.
You would say that the Regents Road bridge and the fire station in University City are the biggest issues facing District 1?
LR: Yeah, and they’re also related. If we had the Regents Road bridge, one central fire house would work. … My personal opinion is, fire stations need to be close to the center of the action, because the benefits radiate from them.
One of the reasons I’m involved in this, I live in East UC and I see the fire stations being built that aren’t going to benefit my community which is another drive for me to get in the race.
How will you champion improved public transit on City Council for District 1?
LR: I’m a really big fan of public transit. I was a pro-bono community advocate 20 years ago … in Philadelphia. I understand how you have to manage individuals in public transit and I think I would be a benefit for the City Council in general.
What do you think of the Convadium petition currently gathering signatures around town?
LR: Unfortunately our biggest clients like ComicCon are kind of against it. We kind of have to listen to those managers because they can see what their future is, they can see what they want. I don’t think that the Convadium is going to work, because it goes back to, that’s where we want the innovation center. We’re really good at attracting software engineers … so to plop a football stadium that’s used four percent of the year and ruin the connection between downtown and the innovation center, I’m completely against it.
UTC is having a tough enough time with the new buildings going up – one of the issues is Regents Road bridge, it’s a traffic issue. We’re going to see more and more pressure on high tech technology not to come into UTC because there isn’t any more land available. So the people who are championing an innovation center, I’d like to also see that remain downtown and not be for a stadium. I really think the Chargers should simply stay in Qualcomm.
How are you campaigning in this final month leading up to the primary?
LR: My wife’s kind of a software genius and she’s going out and picking up a lot of information and feeding it to me. I’m basically responding as best I can. I’m a little late in the race, I got in Feb. 29 and immediately after I got in, Sherri Lightner’s husband got in the next day, and her employee got involved the next day. … I was really surprised to see [them] enter immediately, no one had entered for months before I had entered it. I was only the third person running for like two days.