Community Conversations: Affordable Housing and Homelessness

This forum is a GREAT opportunity for both civic engagement and civic education for our residents and students!

May 24, 6-8 p.m., at Dove Library's Schulman Auditorium. 

We will feature a discussion of opportunities for various branches of government (and NGOs) to collaboratively address issues of affordable housing and homelessness.

This unique forum includes participants across the spectrum of experience, education, and advocacy in these issues of critical importance in our communities.

Panelists include:

Michael W. McConnell, Advocate for Solutions for San Diego County’s Homelessness Population

Michael McConnell is a recognized leader in the fight to solve homelessness. He has served on multiple local and regional homelessness advisory committees, including having served as vice chair on the Regional Task Force on the Homeless.

A thought leader on the topic, he’s presented at conferences across the country, including the National Alliance to End Homelessness Conference. He has organized regional summits and is a regular presence at community meetings.

Previously, McConnell was a member of San Diego Grantmakers’ Homelessness Working Group and helped established Funders Together to End Homelessness San Diego – a local representative of a national collaborative of philanthropists and grantmakers that combine resources to actively end homelessness.

Since 2009, McConnell has directed all his philanthropy and volunteer time to solving homelessness. Inspired by witnessing the plight of the large population of homeless people near his downtown San Diego home, he also shares a personal connection through his brother’s mental illness, a disease shared by many homeless individuals.


Tasha Boerner Horvath, Encinitas City Councilmember; Candidate: California Assembly District 76

Tasha Boerner Horvath is a City Councilmember, former PTA leader, businesswoman, mother, and third-generation Encinitan. Prior to her election to the Encinitas City Council in 2016, she served as a member of the city’s planning commission. Professionally, Tasha has worked for global Fortune 500 companies, non-profits, and higher education institutions. In response to her daughter’s struggle with sensory process disorder, Tasha started a business designing sensory-friendly clothing for little girls.

Tasha earned an A.B.D. in Political Science and a M.A. in International Studies from Claremont Graduate University Institute of Politics and Policy. She received her B.A. in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley.

Tasha and her husband, Istvan, are the proud parents of two children.


Geneviéve Jones-Wright, Deputy Public Defender, Candidate: San Diego County District Attorney

A native San Diegan, Jones-Wright has served the County of San Diego as a Deputy Public Defender for almost 12 years. She has spent over a decade experiencing the strengths and pitfalls of the criminal justice system. Her advocacy skills, passion, and sense of fairness have garnered her a reputation of an exceptional attorney and community leader.

Jones-Wright believes that every segment of every community must be involved in public safety and that it does not have to come at the expense of our constitutional rights. Every victim deserves dignity, justice, support, and empowerment. She’s running for District Attorney to show the connection between criminal justice reform, the world we want to live in, and the role of the District Attorney. She believes that prosecutors can and should be an instrument for needed reforms and be a bridge between communities of color and law enforcement.

Beyond the courtroom, Jones-Wright serves on the City of San Diego’s Commission on Gang Prevention and Intervention where she chairs the ad-hoc gang documentation committee. She is a volunteer attorney for the California Innocence Project and is an appointed member of the State Bar of California's Council on Access and Fairness.

Jones-Wright is very active in the San Diego community at-large. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the David’s Harp Foundation, a local nonprofit that transforms the lives of “at-risk” youth through the power of music. She is a Mock Trial Team coach and a member of the Criminal Justice Program advisory board at Lincoln High School.

Jones-Wright earned a B.A. from the University of San Francisco, a Juris Doctorate from Howard University School of Law, and a Master of Laws in Trial Advocacy from California Western School of Law.


David Myers, Candidate for County of San Diego Sheriff

I was born and raised in San Diego County. I’m proud to be a lifelong resident. I knew at a very young age that I wanted to be a police officer and I’ve never questioned that decision throughout my career.

I’ve been in law enforcement for 35 years, with 33 years at the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department. I have worked all over the county, including our backcountry, and have been involved with nearly every aspect of law enforcement.

Since I started my run for sheriff, I’ve heard from and have met with thousands of San Diego County residents.

People are concerned about the growing opioid and methamphetamine epidemics. They see the number of officer-involved shootings and wonder what leadership is doing to prepare deputies to de-escalate dangerous situations.

Our brave women and men in uniform strive to do their best to serve and protect. I understand what a day in the life of a deputy is like, because I have served as a deputy, sergeant, lieutenant, captain, or commander.

I’ve been with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department for 33 years and I believe that we’re in a state of stagnation due to a reactive and outdated policing culture. We are not keeping up with emerging strategies to combat increasingly sophisticated criminals, nor building the community partnerships that keep our communities and our deputies safe.

I am running for Sheriff because I believe we can turn things around. I hope you’ll take the time to read more about my experience and where I stand on the issues. I look forward to conversations in the coming months about how we can work together.


Michelle Gomez, Candidate: San Diego County Board of Supervisors, District 5

Michelle Gomez is a long-time community advocate whose service to military families was awarded four times by the Obama administration. As an Oceanside Housing Commissioner. Michelle advocates for increased access to affordable housing for moderate and low-income families.

Michelle is running for County Supervisor to end the hoarding of county reserves and put those resources to work creating affordable housing opportunities and alleviating the root causes of homelessness.


Cori Schumacher, Carlsbad City Councilmember; Candidate for Mayor of Carlsbad

Cori Schumacher is a current Carlsbad City Councilmember and candidate for Mayor of Carlsbad. As Councilmember, Cori has served as an elected representative of Carlsbad to the following regional and statewide governing bodies: the League of California Cities, including the League of Cities Housing, Community & Economic Development Policy Committee; the Buena Vista Lagoon JPC; NCTD; the SANDAG Regional Planning Committee; SANDAG Regional Planning Committee, and the SANDAG Shoreline Working Group.

In all aspects of her work as a public servant, Cori exhibits her passion for data-driven decision-making, policy, legislation, and most importantly, working alongside the residents of Carlsbad and the San Diego region to rebuild the public's trust in government.

Cori entered the world of political activism following renowned success in surfing as a three-time Women’s World Longboard Champion and as a change agent for social and environmental justice. She is co-founder of The Inspire Initiative, which empowers women in the surfing community by promoting education, intersectionality, gender equality, media literacy, and fostering the growth of a core community of leaders who will effect positive change globally. Cori also co-founded the Institute for Women Surfers, a grassroots educational initiative in the Public Humanities that brings together women surfers, activists, artists, business owners, scientists and educators, to create spaces of peer teaching, learning, and mutual aid.

Cori remains committed to transparency; the meaningful engagement of our residents; intelligent, guided growth; ensuring a sustainability that is centered on quality-of-life; and respecting the will and diverse voices of our residents.


Priya Bhat-Patel, Candidate: Carlsbad City Council, District 3

Priya Bhat-Patel has lived in Carlsbad most of her life and is a product of the Carlsbad public education system. She has always had a strong desire to improve lives, which is why she pursued a career in public health after completing her undergraduate studies at University of California San Diego and her Master's in Public Health from the University of Southern California. She is currently completing her doctorate in public health from Loma Linda University.

Priya has worked in the academic, research, and corporate settings. Priya's dedication to Carlsbad runs so deep that she quit her job to better serve and understand her community. Priya will focus her efforts on maintaining and improving overall quality of life by prioritizing community, health, and transparency. She wants to be the voice of her fellow residents.

With her experience, Priya will be looking at local issues from a public health lens to ensure that the community’s overall wellbeing is priority. She believes improving our health translates into quality of life. Priya also believes that communication between residents and the City Council should be open and transparent. 


Kathy Rallings, VP of Carlsbad Unified School District, Candidate for Carlsbad Unified School District

Kathy Rallings is currently the Vice President of the Carlsbad Unified School District and has worked in and around public education for the last 20 years. 

She can help explain how our schools in California are funded and the impact of homelessness and the lack of affordable housing impacts the learning environment.



Rebecca Palmer, Chief Program Officer, Community Resource Center

Rebecca joined Community Resource Center in Encinitas in 2014.   She has had an extensive and successful career of domestic and international executive management and as consultant to both for profit & not-for-profit organizations, with an emphasis on the development and strengthening of organizational systems resulting in increased program innovation, growth and diversity. Her consistent focus has been in creating paths for independence and self-sufficiency for marginalized communities.

Rebecca represents CRC as a community member of the Regional Task Force on the Homeless for San Diego; Chairperson of the Family Asset Building Coalition (FABC); and the initial 25 Cities Regional Design Team to End Homelessness. She was awarded the “2015 Champion of Hope”  Award by the San Diego Domestic Violence Council, a 2017 San Diego Magazine “Woman of the Year” Award, and recently the “2018 Courageous Love Award” from the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of San Dieguito through a partnership serving the homeless individuals in the community.

Ms. Palmer holds a Master’s of Science in Management of Community Behavioral Health Services from Trinity College of Vermont, and a Bachelors of Science in Education from the University of Maine.


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