Paul McQuigg, 46, a retired U.S. Marine gunnery sergeant and moderate Republican is running for the San Diego County Board of Supervisors District 4 seat in the special election on Aug. 15, left vacant after the resignation of former supervisor Nathan Fletcher.
“I would like to continue to make changes in the county that displays the county as a great place to raise a family, be proud to live, and feel safe and protected. That is what everyone deserves. My slogan is, ‘For District 4, for ALL of us.’”
“I have spent most of my adult life serving others from my time in the military, volunteer work with youth organizations and other nonprofits that assists dislocated and disabled individuals. I have been in California since 2001 and my sons were born in Oceanside.”
McQuigg was medically retired after 17 years. He was wounded in Iraq in 2006 while on his second combat tour as staff sergeant, seriously wounded by a bomb blast directed at his face while leading his platoon on a mission outside of Haditha, Iraq. In 2007, he requested to return to duty, although not completely healed.
“My primary job was amphibious assault, but during my time I met with many foreign nationals, worked with former Soviet generals,” he said. “I deployed multiple times with two combat deployments. I assisted in the activation of the Wounded Warrior Battalion-West at Camp Pendleton in 2007.”
Throughout the later part of his career and following retirement, McQuigg served as a Police & Fire Commissioner for the City of Oceanside, coached youth football, baseball, basketball and soccer, volunteered at his church in Oceanside California, is a proud Knight of Columbus; having served as Grand Knight of his Council 2 consecutive years and earning a triple star and double star award respectively. He served on the board member of Freedom is Not Free and Iraq Star/DBA RAW, two nonprofits that assist service members and veterans at no costs. He served as a Big Brother for Big Brothers/Big Sisters of San Diego through its Operation Bigs Program on Camp Pendleton and was spokesperson for the program in the city of San Diego. He is an ambassador for the Semper Fi/America’ Fund.
McQuigg said his top three priorities is homelessness, increasing public safety, and the increased costs of living.
“It does not seem that either party has been able to solve the homeless problem,” he said. “I think that fresh new ideas and compassion are needed to approach the homeless issue. I believe that we need to centralize services instead of having them spread out all over the county. Crime is rampant across San Diego County right now and we have a lack of law enforcement officers right now. The San Diego Police Department is short 200 officers of its goal and the San Diego County Sheriff’s department is short of deputies also. Along with curbing this rash of crimes we need to recruit and retain quality law enforcement. We need to incentivize them to keep them.”
McQuigg said the cost of living in San Diego County must be addressed.
“Currently I am employed by the U.S. Department of the Census, and I also work with the U.S. Department of Labor, and the Department of Commerce,” he said. “I work with about 30 families throughout the course of a month. The common theme when I meet with these individuals and families is that utility services are too expensive, the cost of living is too high, and people are being priced out of their homes. That is attributed to our homeless crisis because we have people on fixed incomes that cannot keep up with inflation and there are no additional funds coming in. We need to find a way to curb or eliminate those expenses, so people are not losing their homes and ending up on the streets.”
McQuigg said the County has an $8.1 budget this year and he would like to see part of that money go to a 500-bed inpatient hospital that treats mental illness and drug/alcohol addiction.
“That would be a one-stop-shop, bringing in nonprofits into the facility. Add an educational component to it because we must teach people how to take care of themselves again,” he said. “Some of these people have been on the streets for so long they no longer know how to take care of themselves. Growing up, our parents showed us how to balance a checkbook. Some of these people have forgotten these basic life skills. We need to help them remember how to live as responsible individuals and care about their lives. We need to find a centralized location because homeless people often do not have transportation either. We need to find a place they can get to or that we can help them get to by expanding our public transportation system. As big as San Diego is, we could use some improvements in our public transportation.”
McQuigg said bringing people into this environment where they are cared for in a system that works for them, we can provide for them.
“I do not want to collide with what is recommended by physicians and experts, but if we can start working one person at a time, we are helping save that one person,” he said.
McQuigg said it is extremely hard to purchase a home in San Diego County with the starting price of housing easily over $250,000.
“Some alternatives to building houses are mobile homes,” he said. Mobile homes are a fraction of the price of what a normal home cost. Not only that, but they are also manufactured in a factory and transported to a location. That means that we do not need to have one or two production sites using up our best resources, like water, and we can bring mobile homes in that people can live in at a much more affordable level than waiting for new houses at new construction sites. In addition to that, buying hotel and apartment buildings and providing vouchers is not the way to go. You cannot reward someone who is perhaps a drug addict by giving them a brand-new hotel room. For a better lack of words, they will just ‘Johnny Depp’ the hotel room.”
McQuigg said he heard about a woman with two young children who was given a hotel room, overdosed, with the children seeing it happen, and all the program did was give her a nice hotel room to do drugs.
“Child protections services need to get more involved with our children living on the streets and offer them services,” he said. “Rev. Shane (Harris) is a success story. He came from foster care child to a very successful man here in San Diego. I think we need more resources for our foster care children and keeping our homeless children off the streets. Children are our nation’s most precious resources. Once we have a path, we are going to be leaving it up to them. I am a father and I want to raise them better than I am. We want to raise these children so they can make San Diego a better place to live in.”
McQuigg said there is much unused land in San Diego County, much of it in East County, but there is land just about everywhere.
“Next to the airport we have the old Navy property,” he said. “That is primarily unused land. We could use that land and buildings to use for the homeless as well. I think that would cost much less than the $32 million just allocated by the County for hotels and apartment buildings. If the county has land available, we can utilize that land to assist with the homeless crisis.”
But McQuigg said in looking at land, the county must think about animal preservation when it comes to displacing animals and their habitats.
“There has been a huge uptick of coyotes in San Diego County,” he said. “This is their habitat. They were here long before we were. They are going to hunt, eat, and live their lives. We cannot make things happen too quickly and cannot protect our children if we completely destroy our ecosystem. We must find a balance for both.”
McQuigg said he understands that jail injuries and deaths are a high priority for many people.
“I think one way to mitigate deaths and injuries in jails is to start minimizing the pathway for people that we have in jails,” he said. “And that starts with our youth. We have a program called the Star Pal Police Athletic LG. They are very active in Escondido and Chula Vista. What it does is focus on at-risk youth and gives them alternatives to gangs and hanging out on the corner after school. If we can give our youth better alternatives, we can keep them out of the jail system and break that cycle where people are continuing to go back to jails and becoming recurring criminals. If we minimize the jail population we will have more one-on-one supervision in jails, guards and counselors will have a lower caseload, and they will be able to respond to emergencies as they arrive.”
Source: East County Californian