San Diego Councilwoman Georgette Gomez Takes Office
The November election Barat three new San Diego city Council's -- council members. All three are Democrats and age brings a valuable a new different personal experiences to the Council. We have spoken with Chris Ward and Barbara bright and now we have Georgette Gomez. Thank you for joining us. Congratulations. You replaced Marti Emerald in district 9 which covers the diverse mixture of neighborhoods including City Heights, the College Area Kensington to name a few. You narrowly defeated a Chief of Staff running as an outsider rather than insider procure the first Latino member of the city Council is also a member of the LGBT community and your promise San Diego city politics will never be the same again. How to plan to shake things up? Just the fact that my background alone rings a different perspective to city Council. I grew up in Barrio Logan. I've been part of this new district, district line for the past 10 years. I live in City Heights. The Voice that I bring is as a community organizer. Someone who has been very active in most of the south of the eight communities really bringing people to gather -- to gather and trying to get folks in the community to be more active to ensure they are at the table influencing policies and not just the downtown folks. That alone is very different. That is the voice of bring to city Council which is a voice that normally isn't part of the discussion. You actually have voted or backed David Alvarez for the Council President but Michael Cole got the job. Alvarez was seen as more progressive. Had use yourself working with coal? There was no secret I was not going to support David Alvarez progressive from the beginning that I was going to support somebody that was going to truly bring a progressive agenda to move the city forward. That is the person that I voted for but ever since then it has been come I went and congratulated Myrtle Kohlberg I'm going to see the first African-American councilmember to be the president. That is a huge thing for San Diego. I in for a product that. We have a good relationship and I look forward in working with her in ensuring that she succeeds in her role as the president. Let's talk about your priorities. You Have short-term things you want to get stuck into right away and some longer terms you hope to accomplish at the end of your term? During the campaign trail I got an opportunity to really listen to the community from Kensington to the College Area all the way to south crest. I was really paying attention on issues that have been neglected by previous council members or like for example over here by the Mohawk community have been working on an open space. That was one of the number when things that I got briefed on and how can we make it go forward immediately within the first year or so. I really want to make sure that gets done. In City Heights between City Heights and Kensington area there is a little Saigon district. It really has not gone in the way that it should be so that is one of the areas that are really want to make happen. In the long term is or something you would be really proud of if you have made a difference by the end of your term? Long-term I really want to prioritize, to me I ran in housing as a big issue. It has been something that really has now gotten the attention that it needs to. Where pricing San Diego's outbreak that is one thing that I will be focusing on and ensuring that we are building more housing and building more affordable housing to ensure that San Diego runs are able to stay. You said you oppose developers but you want to see more development in certain parts of your district had to reconcile those? There are differences. Development is not a bad thing. Making sure that development is reflective of the meat of the community. That developers are being held accountable and that they are being responsive to what the community needs. It is not just about the developer making their money and walking away. There are things they did to be held accountable for that is where the conversations need to occur. To think your district is ready for higher density? That is definitely always a controversial conversation. This is something that came up during the campaign. This goes back to holding developers accountable. Digging sure that you are bringing the proper density but also ensuring that there is the infrastructure and there is the resources backing that development. Normally developers tend to promises a lot of things. They develop a project and then they walk away. I M Barry much committed to ensuring that does not happen. Your predecessor, Marti Emerald said one thing she was not able to get done was a firehouse ons. Is that something you are interested in pursuing? For me it is ensuring that the fire department has the necessary personnel. I think it is very critical to have the personnel and I have never been the fan off we need to develop the fire stations if we do not have personnel. To me I would rather have personnel then new fire stations but that is part of it as well. I definitely want to make sure that we have the necessary staffing to ensure that we are all getting covered in the way that we deserve. Let's talk about racial profiling. The Stated a study in your predecessor said she did not want to see the results thing on the shelf. How to see the city putting those results, the racial profiling in the police department how much you make a change? I got briefed on the findings of the reports. To think Shelley Zimmerman is doing enough? I think we have a lot of work to be done. The reality of our environment right now when it gets too policing is that there is not a real trust in the community. I said it to the campaign trail, I still believe it, we need to start ensuring that the community feels that the police department is doing, they are not abusing their power and want to make sure that they are creating real relationships both with the police station and the committee and restoring that trust -- community and restoring that trust. We have to validate that the trust is not there. And you and your fellow Democrat put out a statement last month thing you want to take a stand to protect the vulnerable San Diego lines. What platform drunk the city to adopt and how likely is it that you will get the full city Council to back it? It was to influence the federal legislative agenda that the city was setting forth during that time. I was happy to see that the city Council actually took some of our direction and mainly was around that ensuring that our immigrant community specially being that we are at the border and we have a huge immigrant community especially in district 9. The City to adopt some of the language. That is the direction that they are giving, that they gave our lobbyist at the federal level and I'm glad to see that. Thank you so much. That is Georgette Gomez, new city councilmember for district 9. For a complete longer interview go to our website, KPBS.org.
Democrat Georgette Gomez is among the three new members of the San Diego City Council who took office last week.
The longtime community organizer campaigned on a promise to shake up city hall. She represents District 9, which includes City Heights, Kensignton, College Area and some neighborhoods in southeastern San Diego.
Gomez beat fellow Democrat Ricardo Flores, who served as former councilwoman Marti Emerald's chief of staff. Emerald decided not to seek re-election.
Gomez worked for more than a decade at the nonprofit Environmental Health Coalition. She was born in Barrio Logan and is a resident of City Height’s Azalea Park neighborhood.
Gomez discusses her priorities as a new council member Wednesday on Midday Edition.