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Arts+Culture:San Diego is a coalition of over 100 arts and culture organizations dedicated to strengthening our diverse cultural ecosystem and achieving the Penny for Arts and Culture funding plan in San Diego.

Elections 2020

District 3

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In collaboration with the San Diego Regional Arts and Culture Coalition and the Balboa Park Cultural Partnership, Arts+Culture:San Diego is pleased to report the Arts and Culture positions of the candidates for the City of San Diego Council races. 

Here are the responses from candidates for Council District 3 and the video from the Candidate Forum for Council District 3. Click on a different district below for other candidates.


City of San Diego Council District 3
Where they stand on Arts and Culture issues
Council District
Fully fund Penny for Arts and Culture with a max 5 yr phase-in.
"Achieve and Maintain Penny" is always a budget priority
Support Arts& Culture Pandemic Recovery Fund
Action plan for Deferred Maintenance in Balboa Park and other City cultural facilities
Support Cultural Plan and Cultural Affairs Department
Toni Duran
Stephen Whitburn
Watch the candidate forums
Key statements by the candidates

Arts and Culture in San Diego (up to 200 words): 

  • Stephen Whitburn:

Arts & culture supporters need a champion on the city council to lead the recovery from the pandemic and obtain the funding expected of a world-class city. I will be that champion as the councilmember for District 3, which is home to esteemed arts and cultural institutions in Balboa Park and Downtown. District 3 also features vibrant neighborhoods with studios, galleries, and performance spaces.

One smart investment to rebuild our economy will be to fully fund the Penny for the Arts. While I was executive director of San Diego Pride, we commissioned an economic impact study of the five-stage music festival. It is indisputable that arts and culture spending generates a tremendous economic return for our city. In addition, my years of experience navigating the city’s funding mechanisms for arts and cultural programming will be beneficial on the council. 


My experience leading a cultural organization, my knowledge of arts funding, and my understanding of how arts and culture build a world-class city make me best prepared to advance our goals on the city council. If you share this vision for a robust commitment to arts and culture in San Diego, please visit and help turn this vision into reality. 

  • Toni Duran:

Arts and Culture is very personal to me and it surrounds us every day! It’s in our schools, libraries, parks, recreation centers, and more. It’s on our walls and on our buildings.

When we talk about arts and culture, we aren’t JUST talking about a painting that hangs in a museum. It’s the music in our immigrant communities, the plays on our stages, and the story told through dance. You can hear it, touch it, feel it with your hands, in your body and soul. It moves us – physically and emotionally.


It INCLUDES our Black, Brown, and immigrant communities.

It helps veterans manage their PTS by helping them tell their stories and express their pain through their art.


It helps at-risk youth and formerly incarcerated individuals because we are investing in them and giving them other options around learning and education.


Through this year's budget process, and far too often, the funding for arts and culture has been cut significantly. I fulling support fully funding the Penny for the Arts plan and I commit to ensuring that we have proper funding for programs and crumbling infrastructure.

Working with the commission to ensure that access, equity and diversity remain a priority for all neighborhoods. (up to 100 words)

  • Toni Duran:

In FY19, Council District 3 was home to 52 Organizational Support Program (OSP) hubs and hosted 86 Creative Communities (CCSD) project venues. This direct investment totaled $7,956,590 in D3. We need to increase this type of engagement in every district. Arts and culture includes our Black, Brown, and immigrant communities and they need greater access to funding, engagement within and outside of their neighborhoods, and seats at the table. We must also ensure that our Boards and Commissions are diverse in representation across the board. Diversity in ethnicity, socioeconomic status, age, abilities, and lived experience.

  • Stephen Whitburn:

I will work to increase funding for arts and culture so there are more resources to distribute. My office will help the Commission communicate the findings of its Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Assessment and inform diverse communities about ways to participate in the City’s arts and culture contracting opportunities. I will support funding decisions that benefit communities across San Diego including outreach programs by organizations in District 3 to engage diverse audiences.

Funding opportunities that the candidate is considering to be allocated to the over $300M in Balboa Park deferred maintenance. (Up to 100 words)

  • Stephen Whitburn:

I intend to serve on the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) board of directors and will call for its newly-outlined $177 billion regional transportation plan to include the $300 million needed to address Balboa Park’s deferred maintenance. The regional plan includes light rail in the neighborhoods surrounding Balboa Park. SANDAG’s goals include increased transit use, social equity, and economic development. It will advance each of these regional goals by restoring Balboa Park to attract more residents and visitors to an historic public cultural space accessible to everyone by transit and maximizing use of these new light rail lines.

  • Toni Duran:

Through the creation of a parks master plan the City is in the process of identifying how to connect our parks, and better prioritize funding needs. As a Councilmember I will work closely with regional partners and supportive organizations to ensure our arts and cultural facilities receive the funding they deserve. We need to support the non-profits working hard to support Balboa Park, pursue public private partnerships, and be aggressive with county, state and federal grants. Balboa Park is a regional destination and we need to ensure that ALL council members who vote on the budget support its needs.

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