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San Diego Mayoral Candidates Field Questions From Mid-City Youth

Above: About 300 community members, including youth not yet old enough to vote, attended the Jan. 25, 2014 debate at Hoover High School.

Aired 1/27/14 on KPBS News.

Youth groups join San Diego 6 in hosting a debate on neighborhoods and youth.

Special Feature Speak City Heights

Speak City Heights is a media collaborative aimed at amplifying the voices of residents in one of San Diego’s most diverse neighborhoods. (Read more)

San Diego mayoral candidates David Alvarez and Kevin Faulconer squared off this weekend at Hoover High School. The forum in City Heights hosted by San Diego 6 and community groups Mid-City CAN Youth Council and Cesar Chavez Service Club had a decidedly different feel than most political debates, thanks to youth panelists like Roosevelt Middle School sixth grader Hiyab Seadedin.

She thanked her mom for bringing her, then threw a hard ball at the candidates, asking them how they'd give young people from under-served communities a better chance of competing in San Diego's job market?

Both candidates said they'd invest in under-served communities to create jobs and give youth the resources they need to be competitive. David Alvarez said he'd use federal development dollars to do the job. Kevin Faulconer said pension reform, which he supports, would cover some of the cost.

Youth Council member Terry Stanley II said co-hosting a debate close to home will make a difference, even though many in the audience can't vote.

"It actually shows a lot. It's showing that we have a voice and that we can actually help our own community ourselves," Stanley said.

Teens and young adults from City Heights helped shape the questions. They focused on crime, bullying and neighborhood resources. Watch the full debate here.

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