Four Candidates Compete To Replace 12-Year National City Mayor
Thursday, October 25, 2018
Photo by KPBS Staff
Priya Sridhar, reporter, KPBS News
Current National City mayor Ron Morrison has termed out after 12 years in office.
The four candidates running to replace him are City Councilwoman Alejandra Sotelo-Solis, City Treasurer Mitch Beauchamp, loan officer and real estate agent Daniel Perez and Chairman of the National City Planning Commission Ditas Yamane.
Yamane is focusing on affordable housing, public safety and job growth in her campaign.
"We want to invite investors and businesses so our residents and our people in National City can find their jobs and can grow here in National City and reinvest into our community," she said.
Yamane immigrated from the Philippines as a child and has been a business owner and resident in National City for over two decades.
"We have good executive staff, we have good employees of National City because I work with them as a resident and a business owner, but you need to have that strong leadership that will make them execute the directions that you have to give," she said.
Mitch Beauchamp currently serves as National City's treasurer, so it makes sense that balancing the city's budget is one of his top priorities.
"We have a fiscal deficit of $6 million and the council just doesn’t seem to get it, but as a treasurer I don’t have the ability to line up items in a budget, so on the council I think I’ll have more involvement with the way the budget is put together," he said.
Beauchamp has served on the council before and says reducing traffic congestion and addressing the growing homeless population are also major concerns. He's a self-professed National City history buff and member of the San Diego Electric Railway Association, the oldest transcontinental railway depot in the United States.
"My family came here in 1890 so I’m part of the history….so the history of National City is something I’m very concerned about and how we preserve those historic assets because you cannot replace them," he said.
Daniel Perez is a loan officer and real estate agent. He says his political aspirations came from simply being a concerned resident.
"I’m a concerned resident, just like my neighbors and I’m approaching it like that, just like that. I want to be a voice for them to make sure they feel and they know that I have their back," he said.
Perez started attending city council meetings after getting frustrated with the traffic congestion in his neighborhood. He says his background in corporate finance will help him fix the city's deficit. If elected, he also hopes to make National City more business-friendly.
"People in National City don’t go outside of National City to hang out, they’re currently going to Chula Vista, downtown. Our location is prime, we’re smack dab in the middle, we should be, we should have all those people coming to our city," he said.
Alejandra Sotelo-Solis was born and raised in National City and has been on the council for ten years. She is hoping to give up the final two years of her city council term to be mayor.
"When you’re the mayor, you have the ability to have that megaphone and really amplify it amongst your colleagues countywide and the fact of the matter is we’ve never had a female Latina in that position, one with a predominantly Latina community I think is going to make a difference," she said.
She says her top priorities for National City include safe neighborhoods, economic development and an improved quality of life.
"We want you to be able to afford an apartment, a condo, or a single family home in National City and it's really thinking beyond, oh we’re only an affordable housing community, but we’re making housing affordable for all," she said.
Solis and fellow Councilwoman Mona Rios have consistently voted against many of Mayor Ron Morrison's positions. Whoever wins the mayor's race may have to work with Morrison, as he's running for city council after an unsuccessful campaign to reset term limits for city council members and the mayor.
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