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Endorsement: Why Mike Levin is the choice over Brian Maryott in 49th Congressional District

He’s become the leading, most thoughtful House member on the crucial issue of finding a way to safely remove nuclear waste from San Onofre.


The editorial board operates independently from the U-T newsroom but holds itself to similar ethical standards. We base our editorials and endorsements on reporting, interviews and rigorous debate, and strive for accuracy, fairness and civility in our section. Disagree? Let us know.

In the 49th Congressional District, which spans south Orange and northwest San Diego counties, voters have an option on the Nov. 8 ballot that’s treasured in the Trump era: a Republican who doesn’t tout fake claims about stolen elections and the climate emergency. In Q&As, former San Juan Capistrano Mayor Brian Maryott makes a strong case that de facto one-party rule has fueled anxieties about housing prices, the cost of living and children’s futures. He also takes welcome moderate positions, such as opposing new offshore oil drilling.

But incumbent Rep. Mike Levin, D-San Juan Capistrano, has earned a third term. His patient work and preliminary steps to address the Tijuana River pollution flooding debacle and his role in advancing veterans causes are real and substantive. And he’s become the leading, most thoughtful House member on the crucial issue of finding a way to safely remove nuclear waste from San Onofre. Levin wants the waste now stored at the site of the shuttered plant prioritized nationally because of the surrounding population density, security concerns related to nearby military locations, and seismic risk. Residents living near plants in other parts of the country will no doubt look for ways to relocate their waste just as quickly, but Levin’s argument and attempts to address this legislatively make sense. Levin’s interest in a “consent-based process” with an “economic opportunity” for communities nationwide that accept waste seems more likely to lead to progress than Maryott’s interest in reviving a deep-mountain repository in a single state. And in a Sept. 1 interview with The San Diego Union-Tribune Editorial Board, Maryott’s comments about the border were maddening. He described “chaotic” conditions there but said he’s never been. Criticizing conditions are a part of politics, but it helps if you’ve viewed what you’re vilifying, especially when it’s in your backyard and affects your constituents. Levin’s belief that the nation’s immigration system is “completely broken” seems born more from an understanding that our cross-border region is important economically and culturally. “Dreamers,” that group of hundreds of thousands of undocumented young people who came into the country years ago in circumstances beyond their control when their parents crossed the border illegally, have volunteered on Levin’s campaign. He brought one to the State of the Union address as his guest. He knows their problems and situations, knows them, and thus seems more likely to work harder to end their decade of legal limbo.

Levin and San Diego County’s entire congressional delegation should be doing far more to speed up excessive border waits for those who cross legally. But we trust that he will continue to pressure his colleagues in Congress that there must be more U.S. personnel to expedite border-crossings.

The Union-Tribune Editorial Board endorses Mike Levin for the 49th Congressional District.

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