Antonio Martinez Pledges To Bring More City Resources To District 8
>> This is KPBS Midday Edition, I am Maureen Cavanaugh. Last week, we heard from two of the three leading candidates for San Diego city Council District 8, the only one without an incumbent running this year. The third candidate is Antonio Martinez, public relations director of the Imperial Valley divinity clinic, and trustee of the school board. All the candidates are Democrats. The district is geographically split, including Sherman Heights and barrio Logan, near downtown, and old-time Mesa, and along the border. Martinez spoke with midday edition reducer. >> What are your top priorities for distributing >> As a homegrown candidate, is the only homegrown candidate, I feel District 8 has been shortchanged. I have seen it day in and day out, by the city of San Diego. So, for me, living in the community my entire life, knowing that we have been shortchanged, I want to bring resources to District 8. A lot of the issues that we are dealing with, and the needs that we have our basic needs that other communities take for granted. These are essentially, sidewalks for kids to walk safely to school, community parks for families to be physically active and healthy. These are, even notions of illegal dumping, we have a significant problem of illegal dumping and District 8, that, actually both and-- in the North and the South, where it is not being addressed. So, for me being homegrown, and living in sentence he drove my entire life, I know very well, at least in the neighborhood I lived in, that after a certain hour, we would actually go home inside, locked the door, because we would hear gunshots at night. Gangs were prevalent, and even though it is much better now, in my neighborhood, we still have a lot of issues that need to be addressed that have not. So, for me the top priority is I want to be the fighter, to get our fair share, and make sure our community is our community's needs are addressed. >> Reporter: Councilman David Alvarez has been alone on the lips as he voted against setting up shelter tends last year, he voted against creating storage facility in Sherman Heights, among some other votes he took. How would you have voted on those two issues? >> I would have hoped that if I were a councilmember, it would not come to that situation. Obviously, it might appear to be he would vote no, but the bottom line is, this is another example of how District 8 has been shortchanged. To have a homeless facility located literally a block away from an elementary school, and while the motion is a great idea, I think the location is God awful, and I honestly believe that that is a failure, and it is a failure of City Hall to really address the needs of the community. And obviously, you have the problem of homelessness, but that is not the answer. So, I would've hope, that if it would come to, I would vote no obviously, but I would have hoped it would not come to locating the homeless storage facility there. >> Reporter: Cc that is not the answer. What specific strategies would you pursue to address homelessness in your district, and in the city, more broadly? >> One of the biggest things, and the advantage I have, is I have worked for community health centers. So I have helped thousands of homeless families, and what I often find is that you have individuals that are facing many problems, and the answer is not one answer. Frankly, affordable housing is an answer, but also with wraparound services. You have a lot of families, for example living in District 8, that live in their car. And this is not something that is being addressed, they stay there-- in their car when I, they sleep in a grandmother's couch one night, and then the other night they stay in a cheap motel. So, this recurring cycle of instability, with kids living in situations like this as well, how do we start addressing it? And I think we have to have that conversation. >> We spoke with one of your opponents, Vivian Moreno, last week, and she said she was the only candidate who was quote Pro housing development, and she said that because there was a debate, and one of the questions was, do you oppose market rate housing in Otay Mesa, and you said yes. >> Actually, I want to clarify that. I did not say I oppose it. I wanted to make sure that when it comes to any type of housing development, there is also affordable housing. And I want to also make sure that when it comes to the notion of why it is important to have affordable housing, I see it day in and day out, I see families, and usually, it is elderly families, or you will have an elderly couple with a fixed income, their rents are going up, and we are essentially making these individuals homeless. For me, what type of society are we, we already have-- where we have elderly couples becoming homeless because they cannot afford rent. >> Reporter: To have a term for short term vacation rentals, or attorney would support? >> I would like to bring the stake holders together, and see how we can come up with a plan that works. But I think, ultimately, my position is very clear, especially with the notion that you have, you know, corporations buying communities. It just does not make sense that we are allowing this to happen. And, for that to happen, and knowing that, for those first-time homeboy as homebuyers, or homebuyers in general, they want to live their families, and they buy a home, but next thing you know, they are next to several hotels. >> Reporter: The school board, which use it on, paid-- million dollars for about two years of work, which made him the second highest paid superintendent in the state. David Alvarez, who you are seeking to replace, said quote that pay speaks to the incompetence of the school board members who are either misled or blatantly gave away this type of package deal. Was that pay evidence of incompetent? >> No, and I think the unanimous vote shows it. I think ultimately, when it comes down to why we did it, we wanted to make sure that this individual is no longer in our school district, and we also wanted to avoid a costly lawsuit. And I think that is something that is not said, when it comes to situations like that. Lawsuits that go on for years, and sometimes go unresolved, so for me, the dedication is to make sure that all of our kids get the best quality education, but more importantly the resources that are being allocated are actually towards the kids, not toward lawyers. >> Reporter: There were also allegations that the interim superintendent that replaced them also had a very high pay deal, and that he deceived members of the board. Did he deceived members of the board? >> No, no, anything bottom line is, a lot of that is clinical. I think, for far too long our district has been essentially-- centrally attacked by many individuals for political reasons, but ultimately when it comes down to it, our direction is to make sure, again, the resources are allocated to where it needs to go. And frankly, I want to talk about in terms of what we need, you know to spend the money on, is how do we improve the education for our kids to make sure they get the best quality education? And give everyone the opportunity to succeed. One of the reasons I ran for school board in 2012, was because I heard a stat that said a little less than 50% of individuals that live in Santa Cedro were not graduating high school. And when I heard that, I had to listen again, because I did not understand, you know. And my family, I was the first to graduate college, and I was very proud of that. But, to hear that Mike community members are going through this crisis, I thought to myself, I want to go in and see what we can do to make sure every child has an opportunity to graduate college, and come back to Santa Cedro, and our communities and improve it. >> That was city Council candidate Antonio Martinez speaking with producer Michael Lipkin. To listen to all our candidate interviews, go to KPBS.org/election.
San Diego City Council District 8 candidate Antonio Martinez said he would ensure more city funding for new sidewalks, community parks and efforts to combat illegal pollution in the district.
"District 8 has been shortchanged," Martinez said. "A lot of the issues that we're dealing with and a lot of the needs that we have are basic needs that other communities take for granted."
Martinez is the public relations director of the Imperial Beach Community Clinic and a board member of the San Ysidro School District. He's 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.
Martinez joins KPBS Midday Edition on Monday to discuss his priorities for the district.
Editor's Note: this story has been updated to reflect that Mr. Martinez is the director of public relations at the Imperial Beach Community Clinic, not the Imperial Valley Community Clinic as was incorrectly stated in the KPBS Midday Edition audio file above.