A Tijuana-born human rights activist from the South Bay who has been a vocal opponent of President Donald Trump's border and immigration policies will formally launch his campaign Friday for the San Diego City Council's District 8 seat.
Christian Ramirez, the human rights director at Alliance San Diego, is one of four candidates who has filed the preliminary paperwork needed to replace David Alvarez, who will term out of office in 2018 after serving eight years. District 8 covers Barrio Logan, Otay Mesa and San Ysidro.
The other potential candidates so far for the June 2018 primary are Alvarez staffer Vivian Moreno; Zachary Lazarus, the chief operating officer of the Otay Mesa medical marijuana dispensary A Green Alternative; and Antonio Martinez, a San Ysidro School District board member and director of the Imperial Beach Community Clinic.
On his campaign website, Ramirez touts his opposition to President Donald Trump's "reckless policies in our border region," but he also told City News Service he "stood up to the Obama administration when he was launching a campaign to put more" federal border patrol agents on the U.S. side of the border. He also said he worked with high-level Obama administration officials to discuss "common-sense solutions to address the lack of transparency" among federal border enforcement agencies.
"The work that I've done for the past 20 years has added transparency for federal enforcement agencies along the border," Ramirez said.
Rather than putting "precious federal resources" into building a wall or hiring more border and customs agents, money should be spent on issues that help border communities, Ramirez said, pointing specifically to raw sewage flowing in the Tijuana River and bottlenecks on both sides of the border that hurt local small businesses.
"We need better infrastructure, not walls," Ramirez said.
Though born in Tijuana, Ramirez's campaign website said he grew up in the Nestor neighborhood in low-income Section 8 housing, where he witnessed "how hard families worked to make ends meet."
"I know, first hand, the challenges and struggles our communities face on a daily basis," Ramirez said, adding he's ready to stand up for communities he said have been "overlooked and abandoned for decades, for generations."
He now lives in Sherman Heights with his wife, Edna, and their son, Diego.
The primary election for District 8 and the other even-numbered districts is set for June 5. In District 2, four candidates have filed to run against incumbent Lorie Zapf. One person has filed to run against Council President Myrtle Cole in District 4. Councilman Christ Cate, who announced his bid for reelection today, faces one challenger so far.