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Candidates Vivian Moreno And Antonio Martinez On Race For City Council District 8

October 11, 2018 1:38 p.m.

Candidates Vivian Moreno And Antonio Martinez On Race For City Council District 8

GUESTS:

Vivian Moreno, candidate, San Diego City District 8

Antonio Martinez, candidate, San Diego City Council District 8

Related Story: Candidates Vivian Moreno And Antonio Martinez On Race For City Council District 8

Transcript:

This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

This is KPBS midday edition. I'm Maureen Cavanagh. San Diego City Council District 8 is an open seat in the upcoming election. Council member David Alvarez is termed out. The district includes more than ten South Bay communities from Sherman Heights in Barrio Logan to the border neighborhoods of San Ysidro and Otay Mesa. Both candidates for the District 8 seat Vivian Moreno and Antonio Martinez are Democrats. KPBS Metro reporter Andrew Bowen asked both candidates the same questions during his interviews. We start with Vivian Moreno who worked on the staff of outgoing council member Alvarez. She came in first in the June primary.

Homelessness is a big issue for your district. Some residents of Logan Heights had organized against a storage facility to allow some homeless folks to keep their belongings there. Having that having seen that project sort of play out a little bit, do you think that it's been a success do you think that some people's fears have been realized? And what else should the city be doing to combat homelessness?

Well my understanding is that 50 to 80 percent of the homeless population currently have mental health issues. The homeless situation in the city of San Diego is the responsibility of everybody not just residents of District date. I feel that district has received a lot of the burden of alleviating this situation and to be honest I think that the situation should be dealt with at a regional level.

And how about this particular project do you think that people have people's fears were justified. And you know the fears of people leaving their stuff on the sidewalks and everything are just as bad as they were before or worse?

Well I mean I've been in my grass roots campaign I've walked over 8000 doors. I've spent a lot of time walking precinct in the north. You know I've had a gentleman follow me and it's something that's daunting. I'm a 36-year-old woman I know. Can you imagine for a 13-year-old girl going to the bus stop? It's a scary situation.

Closely linked to the problem is homelessness is the cost of housing and most experts agree that housing is very expensive in San Diego in part because there's just a lot of it. Where do you think that the city should be building more housing and should more of it be going into district eight?

I think that the future of housing for all the city of San Diego is along the transit oriented districts for our community. I think it's commercial commercials the prime example of where we should be putting housing at San Diego. I think we need to also change our thinking of what a house is. I don't think a house is a three bedroom two bathroom you know a quarter acre. I think we need to start looking at condos and apartments and townhomes and I think transit oriented districts are perfect places to put it housing
Barrio Logan has been stuck with a very outdated community plan since voters overturned an update of that community plan in 2014. What work do you think has to be done in order to get an update approved to that community's plan growth plan and one that will actually stick?

Well I think you know I've worked with Council Member David Alvarez for the past eight years and we were the first to establish a community planning group in Barrio Logan. I mean that to me is just I mean it's wonderful that we did that. But you know having waited so long to establish a planning group is you know I think it was detrimental to the community. So we were I was part of that of the effort of you know working with council member Alvarez and his office and having the planning group come to fruition. And I think that there's a lot of work still to be done. I understand that the E.R. does have a timeline. The environmental review has a timeline. So we need to act very quickly and I understand that there is you know the community is interested in having this plan update move forward.

You've said that recruiting and retaining police officers is one of your top priorities the police department has been struggling with the shortage of officers for quite some time. What if anything should the city be doing differently to fix this problem?

Well I think that one of the things that we can be doing is looking within our community. I think that our police officers should come from within our community and also a lot more. We have a great community relations officer in the South Bay who has been with us in our whole eight-year tenure which has been phenomenal and you know I don't know if the rest of the city of San Diego has that. I know that we've had numerous captains in the southern part of our district and it's one of the top priorities that I've heard when I've been knocking on doors is they want to see more police officers they want more patrolling. And so we need to go and find these individuals these men and women from within our community to come and serve.

The man that you would potentially be replacing on a city council David Alvarez your boss is often the lone dissenting voice on the City Council. What kind of style. What would your style of leadership be in terms of relations and working with the mayor and the other city council members?

Well I mean I think that you know there are a lot of similarities with Council Member Alvarez and myself were both very hard workers and were very family oriented. And I think the difference is you know I think I want to have you know more coffees with my colleagues. You know right away I contacted the mayor's staff and I asked for coffee just to you know get to know each other a little bit better especially as you know as a staffer you don't really get a lot of opportunity to chat with some of the chief of staff. And you know the executives so I asked for that opportunity and that opportunity was provided to me thankfully and we had a wonderful discussion and we're not going to always meet eye to eye. But I think the door's always going to be open and 9 tend to work alongside them. We can't do it you know without the mayor and the rest of the council so I'm looking forward to working with them.

What do you think is the most important distinction between you and your opponent in this race?

It's like night and day. My opponent has served on the San Ysidro school board. One of the most corrupt school boards in the whole state of California the grand jury just disclosed its findings and it basically said that the reason why the superintendent was able to do a lot of shenanigans in the district was because of the lack of fiduciary knowledge that the board had. That to me is really concerning for me. I would put my record in at city hall next to my opponents any day of the week. We have actually you know we just broke ground on the San Ysidro library. The actual libraries from 1923 it was a 100-year-old library where grandpa was born in 1933. So that's a really old library probably the oldest actually in the library system. So we also opened up a brand new park that Cesar Soliz Park first park in 30 years. We've resurfaced hundreds of streets but there's still a lot to be done right. We still have you know I'm thinking of Southwest park in Otay Mesa Nester. I'm thinking of 20th Street over in Grant Hill needs to be resurfaced.

Vivian Moreno thank you so much for joining us.

Thank you for having me. I appreciate your time.

KPBS Andrew Bowen also spoke with Antonio Martinez. Martinez who is a board member of the San Ysidro school district is running for the San Diego City Council in District 8.

Homelessness is a big issue in District 8. Some residents of Logan heights have fought against a storage facility for homeless folks to keep their belongings. Do you think that that project has been a success or have people's fears been realized? And what more do you think the city needs to be doing to combat homelessness?

Well when you look at what we've done the city has failed when it comes to homelessness. Twenty people have died because of the outbreak. So in my opinion that's a failure in and of itself. But when it comes to the homeless storage facility the concern we've always had as residents is that we never get an opinion as to where these projects are going to happen or where they're located. And the issue is that we at least that the residents there face is that it's essentially one block away from an elementary school that was any other community that wouldn't have happened. So when it comes to a storage facility I think that's also been in terms of what they're trying to do with it a failure from the city just because in my opinion should never have been located that close to a school if that was anybody else would never have happened. Good idea bad location.

At the root cause or one of the root causes of homelessness is the high cost of housing in San Diego and a lot of experts agree that housing is very expensive here in part because we just don't have enough of it and we're not building enough for the needs of our population growth. Where do you think housing should be built in San Diego and should more of it be going in District 8?

Well you know what. I think that when it comes to housing we have to address that has to be both affordable and essentially for individuals that are middle class because when it comes down to it those are the individuals that normally can't afford it. And when it comes to it I would like to see development in every part of every district of the city and essentially deal with it strategically so that we can deal with the homeless crisis but also with just affordability housing in general.

Barrio Logan has been stuck with a community growth plan that's very outdated. Ever since city voters rejected an update to it in 2014 what work do you think has to be done to get a new community plan for Barrio Logan that will actually stick.

Absolutely. Well obviously when you hear about what that's about 40 years old that's how old this plan update is. For me that's a disgrace it's the oldest plan update from the city of San Diego. And what needs to happen is we need to meet with the stakeholders and really hear from what the residents have to say to get something done and build a consensus as to moving that plan update forward. The community needs it and deserves it.

You've said that one of your top priorities is fighting for the communities’ fair share road repair clean streets and more parks. Ultimately the mayor is the one to put together a budget. You if you're elected would be one vote out of nine on the city council to approve or reject that budget. How do you make sure that district Dade actually gets its fair share knowing that you know you be one city council member?

Well you don't want to be a consensus builder. I think when it comes down to I want to come in with a clean slate work with all Council members but also address the issue that a lot of the things that we are asking for in district date other communities take for granted. We ask for sidewalks to walk safely to school. We asked for lighting so our homes don't get vandalize. We want more parks so we can be physically active and healthy. Fact there's some parks where actually kids don't have space particularly in Santa cedar I can think of one where the kids actually play soccer in a basketball court. It's pretty creative. They use the basketball poles as the set but essentially the goal so if they hit the ball towards the goal hits the pole that's a goal. Wouldn't it be nice though if they actually had real soccer fields to play with to play in and basically enjoy the community around them and really that's what we're asking for and I hope that going into city hall we want to be that consensus builder to bring those resources directly to the community. And again we deserve it.

The current council member for District Day David Alvarez is often the lone dissenting voice on the city council. What would your style of leadership be in your interactions with the mayor and with your other council colleagues?

One that's consensus building. I don't want to be a lone vote that loses. I want to be a vote that actually gets things done particularly not just for the city of San Diego but also for the residents and district date. Going back to that storage facility that lone vote should have happened in my opinion when it comes down to it. When you think strategically as to how we get things done so that when I'm voting it's actually for positive reasons and more importantly it's for the benefit of the community.

What do you think the most important distinction is between you and your opponent in this race?

You know I'm a lifelong resident the district I grew up in Tennessee. In fact, I remember a time in my neighborhood where I actually we lived in a neighborhood where we'd hear gunshots at night. Gangs were prevailing and the first in my family to go to college I went to the University of Pennsylvania graduate and I made a promise that I would come back and serve and help people in need. And I've been doing just that working for a community health center for 10 years now also in district date. So I'm proud to not only be born and raised in district date but also live there. And I think that experience is invaluable and we've been precinct walking knocking door to door and I think that's been very beneficial because as we walk we've been asking folks you know what can we do to make your commute our community better and safer and collecting that data too. That way we have that ready to go when we win in November.

Antonio Martinez thank you so much for joining us.

Thank you so much my friend. Thank you.

And that was KPBS metro reporter Andrew Bowen.