Voter's Edge California Voter Guide
Conozca la información antes de votar.
Presentado por
League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
June 5, 2018 — Elecciones Primarias de California

Condado de San DiegoCandidato para Supervisor, Distrito 4

Photo de Omar Passons

Omar Passons

Attorney/Youth Advocate
23,557 votos (17%)
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Mis 3 prioridades principales

  • Better support every child and every senior citizen in need in San Diego County
  • Move our region forward on housing affordability and our related homeless crisis.
  • Strengthen our regional economy to make it more inclusive so that every neighborhood has real opportunity to share in the prosperity.



Profesión:Attorney/Youth Advocate
Director, San Diego Workforce Partnership Workforce Development Board — Cargo designado (2013–current)
Vice President - Community Development & Policy, Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation (2016–2017)
Senior Counsel, Stutz Artiano Shinoff & Holtz, APC (2012–2015)
Associate Attorney, Manning & Kass Ellrod Ramirez Trester (2011–2012)
Director, Southeastern Economic Development Corporation — Cargo designado (2011–2012)
Deputy Attorney, California Dept. of Transportation (Caltrans) (2007–2010)
Contract Attorney, Worley Schwartz Garfield and Prairie (2004–2008)


George Mason University School of Law Juris Doctor (J.D.), Property and Land Use areas of focus (2005)
University of Arizona College of Public Health Master's Degree in Public Health (MPH), Community Health Concentration (2000)
University of Arizona Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Major in Philosophy; Minor in Chemistry (1998)

Actividades comunitarias

Board of Directors, CDC Small Business Finance (2014–current)
Board of Directors, Voices for Children (2015–2016)
Advisory Committee Member, Mayor's Economic Development & Workforce Advisory Committee (2014–2015)
Board of Directors, North Park Community Association (e.g. town council) (2004–2013)
President - Board of Directors, North Park Community Association (e.g. town council) (2009–2011)


Omar Passons is a lifelong San Diegan committed to keeping our community safe, thriving and affordable for everyone.  Omar has been a land use and construction attorney, primarily in the private sector and with Caltrans, for thirteen years. 

Prior to his legal career, Omar earned a Master’s Degree in Public Health and worked for four years evaluating the success and effectiveness of government-funded health and social service programs for the United States Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, D.C. As a youth advocate, Omar has worked tirelessly for equality, opportunity and economic development to support meaningful opportunity for San Diego’s youth. 

Since moving home to San Diego in 2004, Omar has dedicated his life to improving economic opportunities for all San Diegans, to open and transparent government and helping youth, especially foster youth.  Omar grew up in San Diego County’s foster care system and helped care for his foster brothers and sisters from a very early age. Those experiences created a deep compassion and empathy that stays with him in all of his work. He has served on the Executive Committees of the San Diego Workforce Partnership, Voices for Children, and United Way of San Diego County, organizations dedicated to helping youth have opportunity to succeed. Omar and his wife, his childhood sweetheart who he met at Encanto Elementary School, own a home in the Morley Field neighborhood of North Park.

¿Quién apoya a este candidato?

Featured Endorsements

  • National Organization for Women California
  • San Diego-Union Tribune
  • Tom Homann LGBT Law Association

Organizaciónes (6)

  • Earl B. Gilliam Bar Association
  • San Diego Free Press/OB Rag
  • Bike San Diego
  • Pacific Beach Democratic Club
  • Democratic Women's Club of San Diego (rated acceptable)
  • Clairemont Democratic Club (rated acceptable)

Individuos (10)

  • Dea & Hurston Osrborn - Arts Patrons
  • Bill Kelly - LGBT Senior Advocate and Former Caregiver
  • Linda Katz - Civic/Social Activist
  • L. Marcel Stewart - President, Earl B. Gilliam Bar Association
  • Alara Chilton - President, San Diego La Raza Lawyers Association
  • Laurie Black - former Port Commissioner
  • Sarah Dolgen Shaftel - Women's Rights Activist
  • Francine Maxwell - Education Activist
  • N. Diane Moss - Founder, Mt. Hope Community Garden/Project New Village
  • Robert Tambuzi - Black Men United

Preguntas y Respuestas

Preguntas de KPBS and the League of Women Voters (San Diego and North County San Diego chapters) (6)

Should the county spend more of its budget reserves on increasing social services? Why or why not?
Respuesta de Omar Passons:

The County should, within financially prudent limits, spend more of its reserves on increasing social services.  There are several areas in which the County could better serve residents of San Diego County with increased use of its resources.  The County has, for example, begun increasing resources of mental health services.  However, much more is needed to support youth mental health and dealing with complex trauma.  The County could, and I have called for this, spend reserves to build and renovate modest homes for homeless San Diegans to do its part to help more people get into permanent housing.  Although the County cannot responsibly spend all or even most of the more than $1.7 Billion it has in reserves because of many other critical responsibilities, there is a substantial portion of resources that can be spent to help San Diegans. 

Should the county invest more of its budget reserves in its affordable housing trust fund? Why or why not?
Respuesta de Omar Passons:

The County must invest more of its reserves in affordable housing because of the massive need. Through our campaign's Housing4All plan, we have called for a balanced approach that includes changes to the market rate side of development to increase entry level market rate housing supply and then also for local affordable housing funding to address the subsidized side of the need.  These must both be priorities.

Do you support measures to stop the criminalization of homelessness? The basic human behaviors of many homeless people (like sitting, sleeping and bathing in public) are against the law. Please provide specific examples of measures you would support.
Respuesta de Omar Passons:

I do support measures that would stop the criminalization of homelessness.  For example, the current encroachment tickets are punitive and do not adequately account for our own failure as a region to create reasonable alternatives for people who are homeless.  However, I do not believe a reasonable solution is to permit bathing in public.  In fact, I think this could exacerbate public health concerns.  It is incumbent upon the County to work with organizations like Think Dignity, which provides a mobile shower option, and others in our community.  But more fundamentally we have to shift both the level of support for treatment and housing and the way we support our young people so that they do not enter the homeless services system in the first place.  

Do you support increasing housing density in unincorporated San Diego County? Why or why not?
Respuesta de Omar Passons:

I support increasing density in certain parts of unincorporated San Diego County that are in urbanizing areas when accompanied by commitments to bring alternative transportation and the infrastructure necessary to accommodate this growth.  Our campaign is establishing a examples in unincorporated areas such as Bonita and Rancho San Diego, that are unincorporated but still would be appropriate for the right type of increased housing for working families.

Do you support permitting, regulating and taxing marijuana in unincorporated San Diego County? Why or why not?
Respuesta de Omar Passons:

Yes. I support both the permitting of properly regulated dispensaries and the proper regulation of the entire distribution channel from cultivation to manufacturing to distribution. This will be an environmentally friendly option for farmers who can use less water, for our roads as we can decrease out of region truck traffic that must come from northern farms, and also for our consumers who won't need to travel as far to meet their needs.  Further, this shift in approach will enable tax revenue for public safety research as well as supportive revenue for early childhood programs, something that is being done in northern California counties currently.

Do you support the county’s Climate Action Plan? Why or why not?                                                          
Respuesta de Omar Passons:

I do not support the County's Climate Action Plan as adopted.  I do not think it goes far enough to do our part regionally to reduce Greenhouse Gas, which we know is having disasterous impacts on our region and our planet overall.  As a coastal region, we must act to address sea level rise because it will have dramatic negative impacts on our region and our economy if we fail to act.  We must increase the aspects of the plan that address the portion of Greenhouse Gas reduction from automobile traffic by better providing alternatives to automobile transportation and by building homes in the future in places that enable residents to avoid use of personal automobile travel at the level that happens currently.

Creencias poliza

Filosofía política

I am a progressive and independent person who believes that our government can and should play a role in creating opportunity for every person to lead a dignified life.  Health care is a right in a just society and better supporting our community's children from birth will have profound effects on equity in our society.  Having grown up with substantial help from the County government in San Diego, my life is proof of what's possible with support, quality educational opportunities, hard work, and sacrifice.  

Our society is best served with a truly open and transparent government that encourages participation at every stage in the decision-making process.  I have fought for more access to data and information, more accountability in decision-making, and greater attention to the thought that underlies our government's decisions.  I agree with the adage that sunlight is the best disinfectant and elected leaders should not be so tied to their own ideas or proposals that they see healthy criticism as a personal affront. The beauty of our democracy is in the open exchange of ideas and the freedom to participate - even critically - in our governance.

We view electing people to serve who are not career politicians as important because it communicates to the entire population that the government is shared by us all, not the politically influential few.  Well-qualified persons of diverse professional and personal backgrounds are not just important, they are necessary to a truly inclusive democracy.

Documentos sobre determinadas posturas

StrongStarts4All - Supporting every child from birth to adulthood


This is the executive summary of our StrongStarts4All plan to support every child from birth to adulthood. The full plan is available on our website.

StrongStarts4All Executive Summary (full policy paper available on website)

StrongStarts4All is a plan founded on one unequivocal value: every child in San Diego County has a right to a strong start in life. Every. Single. Child. This right applies regardless of race, economics, neighborhood or citizenship. Children have no control over the circumstances of their birth, but as a community we can make a major difference in their lifetime opportunities and help them unlock their full potential. This creates a better life for kids, is essential for our regional economic competitiveness, and is at the core of improving equity and opportunity for our region for the long-term.

This plan is a blueprint to ensure every child can achieve the American Dream. It is framed around three core principles:

1.     Prevention. The smartest choice and the most prudent investment is to prevent negative outcomes before they even start.

2.     Growth.  Every phase of life offers the chance to build skills and knowledge, but the growth process is most intense during childhood, and it must be nurtured.

3.     Opportunity.  Government and community cannot make outcomes equal for every child, but we can commit to ensuring that every child, regardless of community or family of origin, has the same opportunity to thrive.

Critical Stages for Support

Our StrongStarts4All plan targets support at critical stages of a child’s development to deliver prevention, growth and opportunity where they matter most. These are:

Ø  Early Childhood – intense focus from pre-natal to five years old

Ø  Engaged After School – strengthening programs at the transition point into high school

Ø  Empowered for Life – engage with our workforce, business, and post-secondary systems to create exposure, learning, and career readiness

Targets for success

The six core elements of our StrongStarts4All plan include:

1.     Paid family leave and home visits so all children start strong

2.     Enhanced access to affordable and flexible quality child-care so children can thrive and parents can work

3.     Increased wages for childcare workers

4.     Expand County library system programming, Balboa Park museum and Liberty Station Arts District access and partnership with municipal libraries focused on academic recovery, mental health and nutrition

5.     Paid trade and technical internships to prepare youth for the world of work and entrepreneurship

6.     Fully sponsored public transportation from age 14-21

Our StrongStarts4All plan calls for sweeping, dramatic change that will require a shift in mindset by our policymakers, our parents and our public schools and a fundamental shift in the County’s partnership with the philanthropic community. 

Hope4Homeless - A compassionate and evidence based plan to address homelessness


This executive summary of our Hope4Homeless plan provides specific policy proposals to tackle homelessness in our region in the near and long-term.  The full plan is available on our website and includes our special youth homeless framework and key policy depth.


A systems approach to addressing the homeless crisis

San Diego has a homeless crisis. It is a humanitarian crisis and an economic one and the County of San Diego must act. Now. 


Fortunately, that action need not be frenzied or disjointed and there is no need to reinvent the wheel.  Our region has already completed work on portions of a Regional Homeless Plan based on the best work around the country and here at home. Also, we have embraced in concept that the best evidence regarding the most successful ways to get many people off the street permanently exists and we must act accordingly. There is always room for greater efficiency, improvement and eliminating duplicative efforts and we must keep a vigilant eye on evaluating the work being performed. But the time to take bold action to change direction on homelessness in sustainable, long-term ways is now.



According to the San Diego State University Institute for Public Health, approximately 19,000 people accessed homeless services in 2016. Although not all of the people accessing these services were homeless, the number helps describe the magnitude of the issue. 


9,116 - Total homeless (842 homeless youth)[1]


·        8,648 - Total in need of permanent supportive housing (as of 10/5/17)[2]


·        3,290 - new entries to the system (as of 10/5/17)


·        2,223 - exits from system to permanent housing (as of 10/5/17)


·        23% Increase in unsheltered homeless over 5 years


·        39% Increase in unaccompanied youth homeless 


If we know what to do, why are we in crisis?


We have struggled to build the will to end the policies that merely manage homelessness and start moving people off San Diego streets permanently. Further, it is critical that we abandon sound-bite politics and mere symptoms tactics in favor of strategic, long-term action that addresses root causes. This involves a special focus on youth, on trauma and adverse experiences, and on the high quality early child care and development called for in our StrongStarts4All plan to support every child. Working with community members, non-profit organizations, the business and tourism sector and homeless San Diegans, we can position the County to drive these system changes. This plan calls for the County to step into a primary leadership role in addressing not just social and mental health services but housing. The County cannot do this work alone, and cities in our region must commit to the type of fiscal management, support, and leadership that will be necessary to address these issues in partnership over time.


Six Key Steps: Connect – Coordinate – Implement – Build – Analyze - Scale


1. Connect. Create a seamless regional entry system, fully staffed with professional homeless outreach workers


2. Coordinate. At least 8500 beds, a multitude of services, and many volunteers already exist in our system – the County must fully support the coordination that has proven successful in other regions.  


3. Implement. Support full implementation of the Regional Homeless Plan Phase 1.


4. Build. The County of San Diego must partner to build and rehabilitate modest homes for people to leave homelessness permanently,


5. Analyze.  Continuous open, available data analysis of housing production, services, health and recidivism are essential to long-term success.


6. Scale Service. We must increase our regional mental health and substance abuse addiction efforts


How will this help communities in the 4th District of San Diego County?


Almost 60% of all unsheltered homeless people in our region live in the 4th Supervisor’s District! Addressing homelessness is essential to the quality of life of residents and business owners in this District.  The County must better support outreach in every community by connecting people to services and homes. The added resources, including professional outreach workers, will be used to partner with the City of San Diego to improve response and support in our neighborhoods. This increased focus on prevention and helping homeless people navigate the existing resources will free up law enforcement within our communities to focus on higher priority public safety issues.  

We call for deploying resources and professional outreach staff to work directly with Business Improvement Districts across the 4th District to provide more support to help people get out of homelessness permanently.


Housing Affordability – Making the Connection


Our Housing4All plan recognizes the importance of bringing down the overall cost of homes and apartments in our region.  This is the ‘entry level market rate’ side of the plan.  It also called for a regional affordable housing measure and expansion of the Jacob/Roberts plan to utilize County-owned property for affordable and homeless housing. This is the ‘affordable housing’ side of the plan.  Our Housing4All plan acknowledges the importance of fixing our broken housing system, but also explicitly calls out the need for expanded focus on homeless housing and services.


This Hope4Homeless Plan is an integrated part of our larger Blueprint for Regional Prosperity & Inclusion, and it is designed to supplement our other housing steps with specific focus on high-risk homeless populations such as youth, those with substance abuse and mental illness challenges, and our seniors. As the Blueprint’s transportation, economic development, and environmental sections are released, the connections between and among components of the overall approach will become clear.


San Diego’s high cost of living compared to wages is one of the reasons there are homeless San Diegans, but there are other significant reasons that impact homelessness, such as mental illness and substance abuse. As a result, this Hope4Homeless Plan recognizes that many homeless people cannot leave homelessness permanently simply by having housing alone.  Often, social services are critical and this plan underscores that point. 


Youth Homelessness Framework


Our campaign released StrongStarts4All, a path for elevating the support for every child in San Diego County.  It is a recognition that every effort to end today’s homeless crisis is undermined if we don’t also place critical, long-term focus on decreasing the number of people who enter the  homeless system in the first place.  However, the long-term support will take time to be successful and the thousands of children and young adults currently experiencing homelessness need help now.

[1] The County Office of Education presents a much higher figure for youth homeless because it properly includes couchsurfing and other unstable arrangements in the number of youth homeless. We used the Point in Time County number in the main document for consistency with the remaining data

[2] This number does not differentiate persons in the same family so total number of housing opportunities may be lower.

Housing4All - A balanced approach to addressing the housing crisis


This executive summary provides an overview of our Housing4All plan, a well-researched approach to the housing crisis. Our approach combines fixes to the market rate delivery system with a call for substantial investment in affordable housing funding locally.

Housing4All (executive summary, full version available on our website at

Our Housing4All Plan offers real leadership and responsible solutions to address our housing crisis. Our Housing4All plan helps all San Diegans achieve a safe, stable home, driving shared economic growth and prosperity.

The key principles of the plan are:

1.     Quality. Stabilize & Enhance Neighborhoods

2.     Flexibility. Overhaul Housing Rules & Reduce Traffic

3.     Cost. Increase Affordability

4.     Protection. Preserve Environment & Natural Beauty

The current state:

·       Our region must add over 160,000 homes to keep pace with job growth

·       The supply of rental homes is so low the vacancy rate is less than 4%

·       We lack local resources to build homes for seniors, disabled persons, and those most in need

·       Housing rules make building homes people can afford too difficult and uncertain 

Key components of the Housing4All plan will  preserve and enhance quality of life by:

ü  Focusing regional home building in communities that can support it and protecting our natural resources and back country

ü  Reforming housing rules to allow innovative uses and more reliability

ü  Allowing homes to be built strategically throughout the County to spread impact of growth (e.g. traffic and density) across the entire region

ü  Supporting a bond measure for construction of modest homes for seniors and those most in need

San Diegans Working Together

The Housing4All plan is designed to improve the lives of District Four residents in three ways while improving the lives of our neighbors throughout the County.  First, by expanding the Roberts/Jacob plan for housing innovation and affordable home construction on County-owned property in District Four, the plan helps bring immediate affordability and homeless relief directly to District Four residents. Second, the Housing4All plan helps bring down the cost of living while sharing our region’s growth needs and impacts between District Four and the rest of the County. Third, by supporting a regional affordable housing bond measure while bringing regulatory reform, this plan balances the role of government and the private sector in making San Diego more affordable for everyone.



We can make San Diego safe, thriving and more affordable for all San Diegans. Our County government must do its part, along with the private sector, the City of San Diego, and San Diego residents all working together, to address our housing crisis.

The County and City governments in San Diego have different roles and responsibilities with regard to housing and land use. For example, the County government has no influence over how the City addresses short term vacation rentals.  Alternatively, the City and County have shared responsibility in reducing homelessness.  Other examples include:


Who is  responsible?

Short-term vacation rentals


Code Enforcement


Reducing homelessness

City & County

Increasing affordable homes

City & County

Housing rules (i.e. zoning)

City (inside City boundaries), County (outside City boundaries)


Our San Diego region must add more than 160,000 homes to keep up with job creation. Without these new homes our region will remain unaffordable for too many San Diegans, which is hard on families and hurts our economy. Most of San Diego’s population growth is home grown - from San Diegans expanding their families – and we must improve the cost of living so that our children and our parents can better afford to live here. Our rental vacancy rates are below 4%; this lack of available and attainable homes to rent is not sustainable. There are two solutions. First, for our seniors, disabled, and most in need, the County must make it a priority to contribute local funds to build subsidized, modest homes[1]. Second, our County must revise and update its rules – called zoning – to be more reliable, more flexible and more efficient at encouraging entry-level market rate homes for purchase and rent.    

Making our region’s homes – rental and entry-level ownership – affordable is critical for working class families, for recent college or trade school graduates, and for companies looking to retain great talent. Solving our housing crisis is not only the right thing to do, it is critical for our economy.

[1] As a region, San Diego must add 94,760 modest and moderate homes for families to keep pace with the need. SANDAG Regional Housing Needs Assessment, 5th Housing Element Cycle, 2020

 [OP1]GRAPHIC: Nearly 1 in 5 children in our region live in poverty and 40% of all San Diego senior citizens can’t pay their basic bills. This Housing4All plan shares our responsibility to each other to fix this problem


Videos (5)

This video provides insight about the four key elements of the campaign's Housing4All plan to foster greater affordability in the San Diego housing market.

This video highlights the critical importance of high quality early child care and the home visit program in supporting our region's children and improving our society long-term.

— April 5, 2018 Passons for Supervisor 2018

This video explains why Passons' campaign places high priority on better support for seniors

Omar is interviewed by local citizen journalist Tory Robinson on his Blacktivision online program. This interview is part one of four (the other three parts are available on the Blacktivision Facebook page or the campaign YouTube channel). The series covers everything from his upbringing in the foster care system, adoption, public health, being a lawyer and his passion for improving the lives of children.

Omar discusses the release of the campaign's Hope4Homeless plan with Martin White, a formerly homeless man Omar met while Omar led volunteer activities in the North Park community

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