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Cox Takes Command in County Supervisor Race

The longtime supervisor says in his new term he wants to see completion of the Bayshore Bikeway. A runoff is likely in another supervisor race.

District 1 Supervisor Greg Cox has maintained a commanding lead against challenger Brant Will, capturing nearly 70 percent of the vote with most precincts reporting.

The incumbent's district covers the southern portion of the county including Coronado, Imperial Beach, Chula Vista and National City.

Will, a deputy city attorney in San Diego, trailed with 31.8 percent.

"I've always been a big advocate for parks, for trails, for bicycle paths. I think we can get done, and I don't think this is overstating it, I think we can get the Bayshore Bikeway done in the next four years," he said, of the project, a portion of which goes through Coronado.

He would also like to see more funding devoted to the building or reformation of 22 miles of trails in the Tijuana River Valley.

Funding for each of the initiatives has not yet been secured, he said, but a bond measure and federal funding may help pay for the bikeway and river valley trails.

District 2 Supervisor incumbent Dianne Jacob had 78.2 percent in her bid to retain her East County seat. Challenger Rudy Reyes, an archaeologist who was severely burned in the 2003 Cedar Fire, had 21.8 percent.

In other races, Steve Danon, chief of staff to Rep. Brian Bilbray, R- Solana Beach, and the deputy mayor of that coastal city, Dave Roberts, took the lead tonight in their battle to succeed retiring Supervisor Pam Slater-Price.

Danon had 31.2 percent of the absentee and early votes, compared to 30.4 percent for Roberts.

Del Mar Mayor Carl Hilliard was third with 22.5 percent, followed by Bryan Ziegler, deputy county counsel, with 9.5 percent, and Stephen Pate, a transportation coordinator in the film industry, with 6.3 percent.

If no candidate gets more than 50 percent tonight to win outright, the top two vote-getters will face each other in the November general election. The ultimate winner of the North County seat will be the first new member of the Board of Supervisors in 17 years.

Danon said change was needed in streamlining the county's permitting process "so it doesn't take five to seven years for a business to get their permit so they could extend their operation or build their operation."

Danon also pledged to end the Neighborhood Reinvestment Program, which provides grant funds to county departments, public agencies and nonprofits. The "slush fund," if not completely eliminated, should include a residents' panel " so that every group that elicits taxpayer funds will be thoroughly vetted before one dollar is allocated," Danon said.

Danon's priorities also include consolidating county fire districts into a regional firefighting authority and creating an ethics commission.

Roberts agreed that county government should foster an environment that spurs job growth.

"It is critical the next supervisor understands fiscal responsibility," Roberts said.

He also stressed environmental and quality of life initiatives, such as expanding open space areas and using recycled water on residential properties, as well as streamlining the Department of Planning and Land Use's business- permit process. He also said he would work to improve fire protection.

Hilliard stressed the need to attract well-paying jobs and bringing jobs back from out of state and overseas.

"Our challenge is to make sure that we don't get in the way of that change, that we don't regulate them to the point where it doesn't make sense for them to come back," Hilliard said.

Hilliard also said Public Safety Realignment, which shifted responsibility for low-level offenders from the state to counties, was a concern.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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