Christian Ramirez Hopes To Bring Border Expertise To San Diego City Council
District 8 in San Diego is up for grabs this year. It is only counsel district without an incumbent running. It is also unique because it is geographically's bullet including Sherman Heights, Mesa and San Ysidro on the boarder. Christian Ramirez is human rights director and one of three leading candidates seeking to replace David Alvarez. All candidates and Alvarez are Democrats. Ramirez, think you -- welcome to turn 15. >>> I want to make sure that residents in district later treated with dignity and respect for too long residents on border communities have been abandoned by the city of San Diego to certain degrees that basically it is the only home for the most communities in the County of San Diego. We have high rates of asthma among kids, serious concerns with pollution in our communities. Want to make sure that we focus on bringing them up to par the communities in the southern most district that the city of San Diego. >>> You work with a lion San Diego national immigration policies which is many steps removed from what happens in the local of the city Council. What is prepared to local issues ? >> I must say unpaid leave from alliance to structure. But what I have done for the past 20 years was advocate at the federal level to ensure that border communities are treated with dignity and respect particularly when it comes to federal law enforcement. In my experience, in advocacy work and Congress, along with the White House and other federal agencies, that is prepared me to ensure that we do what is urgently needed in communities in district 8 and provide infrastructure, ensure that we have healthy communities, ensure that our kids are able to play safely in their communities. Is of the kind of things I want to focus on here for the past 20 years I've been fighting the fight lines with immigration debate at the national level. I want to come home and make sure the communities in district 8 which is aborted district in the city of San Diego gets a fair share of the city of San Diego. So far that has not happened for the last 20 years. >>> Councilman Alvarez so you seek to replace has been the lone no vote on a lot of the cities homelessness initiatives. He voted against setting up shelter tents, against creating a storage facility in Sherman Heights, I would have voted on those issues ? >> I think that we should have happened is to engage with the mayor's office, engage with other councilmembers and to try to find a reasonable solution. I think if that failed, that was a failure of leadership and Councilman Alvarez. I believe very strongly in reaching across the aisle and trying to find workable solutions. Let say that I do agree with Alvarez that building a storage facility next to an elementary school is a bad idea in Sherman Heights. However steps it up and taken before hand to make sure we work with the mayor's office comic other councilmembers and find reasonable solutions. We are compassionate folks in district 8. We want to make sure we address homelessness crisis we have in our district particularly because we are impacted by the way this crisis in our district. But opposing everything on measures, standing against common sense solution is not my approach. I have been a bridgebuilder. I want to make sure to continue that under guidance under city council. >>> So you would've voted for homeless tents ? >> I would've voted for a workable solution that took into consideration with the communities in Sherman Heights and by the Logan Heights, headset. That had not happened. I have to say that I am disappointed in the mayor's office for not reaching out to residents in Logan Heights, Sherman Heights. And also disappointed and Alvarez and not trying to find a workable solution. I think the bickering between political parties in the Council has created a situation for our communities be left behind. I am not a political insider. I come from in advocacy deal. I want to make sure I continue that drug trajectory so I'm able to find workable solutions. I would've found a workable solution. And what was said by the mayor's office, let's not Dashiell does not make a lot of sense. I was disappointed. >>> Do you have specific policies he would advocate for to address the high cost of housing in sending more broadly ? >> Absolutely. One thing we need to do is to ensure that any vacant lots owned by the city of San Diego or the Metropolitan transfer service, the made to build houses. We need housing in district 8. We have ample opportunities to do it. There are commercial streets in the height of Sherman Heights not far from where the storage facility will be Bill. Or abandoned lots that we could build up. So we can have affordable housing. We also need to consider Rick -- rent control. This is not the only solution but it is part of of we need to put on table because we have a crisis on our hands. Building more homes make sure we get rid of red tape. That way you can build granny flats and people's backyards. It's already happening but it's a long process to make sure it happens. Also considering rent control is a possibility to stabilize hybrids in our district particularly. >>> We spoke with one of your opponents Vivian Marino who says she is the only candidate who is pro-housing development. She cited she does not oppose market rate housing in district 8. She said in the debate she had she was the only other candidate to say she does not oppose market rate housing in district 8. Would you support that if it meant making affordable housing bill. >> We cannot continue to Pitt San Diego -- San Diegan against each other. If we continue to go down this path of focusing only on market rate housing and not looking at the serious problems that we are having with housing in our community, where professors who teach at this University of San Diego State have to live across the border in Tijuana because they cannot afford to pay rent or buy a home in San Diego, it is shameful. I think that that is a stretch. I think we need to make sure that we have affordable housing in our district. That is not at the expense of market rate housing. We need to have a balance, clear policies that that working-class families in the city are suffering right now. People are paying up 75% of their monthly income towards homes. That should not happen in the city of San Diego. We have to strike a balance. This notion that somehow one thing is better than the other, it is not my approach. I want to make sure that we tackle the housing crisis with a concrete understanding that those folks who are suffering the most are working-class San Diegan who far too long have been left out of policymaking in the city of San Diego. >>> How would you improve public transit or biking options in district 8 ? >> district 8 has a serious problem with sidewalks. They have sidewalks they have never been paid I want to focus on focus on fixing her sidewalks, paving our streets, and encouraging bike lanes and making sure that we take advantage of the fact that we have the two international ports of entry in the world. There is a wonderful opportunity to promote a national project that encourages walkable communities, bikeable community so that we not only provoke promote policies that help us abandon the vehicle, but we also contribute to cleaning up the air. You know how San Isidro so clog up because of long waits at the ports of entry. Investing and having more bike lanes, having good sidewalks, making pedestrian access friendly, it is top priority for me because we need to welcome our friends from Tijuana who come and shop in our shops and San Ysidro with good infrastructure. That is not the case at the structure. >>> I have been speaking with district 8 city Council candidate Christian Ramirez. They get so much . >> they give for having me.
San Diego City Council District 8 candidate Christian Ramirez said he wished David Alvarez, who he hopes to succeed, had worked with Mayor Kevin Faulconer's office more on the city's plan for homeless tents and a storage facility in his district. He called the lack of cooperation a failure of leadership on Alvarez's part.
"I believe very strongly in reaching across the aisle and trying to find workable solutions," said Ramirez. "I do agree with Councilmember Alvarez that building a storage facility next to an elementary school is a bad idea in Sherman Heights, however, steps should have been taken beforehand to ensure that we worked directly with the mayor's office, work with other council members and find reasonable solutions."
The center is expected to open in June.
Ramirez is the human rights director for Alliance San Diego and one of three leading candidates seeking to replace termed-out Councilman David Alvarez. All the candidates, along with Alvarez, are Democrats.
The district is geographically split, including Sherman Heights and Barrio Logan near downtown and Otay Mesa and San Ysidro along the border.
San Diego City Council District 8 is the only council race without an incumbent in June.
Ramirez joins KPBS Midday Edition on Thursday to discuss his priorities for the district.