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Politics

Elo-Rivera Wins Race For San Diego City Council District 9 Seat

San Diego CCity Council District 9 candidates Joel Anderson and Steve Vaus are picture in this undated photo.
Joel Anderson and Steve Vaus campaigns
San Diego CCity Council District 9 candidates Joel Anderson and Steve Vaus are picture in this undated photo.
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UPDATE: 5:22 p.m., Nov.5, 2020:

San Diego Community College Board member Sean Elo-Rivera has defeated Kelvin Barrios in the race for San Diego City Council District 9.

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Elo-Rivera, a San Diego Community College board member, has 19,670 votes (64%), while Kelvin Barrios, who suspended his campaign in late September amidst allegations of financial impropriety, has 11,620 votes (37%).

Barrios, who was the chosen successor of departing City Council President Georgette Gomez, said he will serve on the City Council if elected.

Elo-Rivera has centered his campaign on expanding opportunities for residents of District 9, which stretches from the College Area and Kensington down through City Heights and Southcrest.

“I am someone who can’t walk down the street or meet someone and not want them to achieve what I see in them, or what they see in themselves more importantly,” he told KPBS outside of the recently-redone Hoover High School on El Cajon.

Elo-Rivera says he wants to help residents stay in their homes and stave off evictions amid waves of job losses and a lack of federal support for the city. As a law school graduate working in City Heights almost a decade ago, Elo-Rivera kept seeing people struggling with housing and homelessness because of policy decisions made way above them.

“I got to see how many people were showing up, in the same situations as their neighbors the day before, were showing up because policies were not to their benefit,” he said, reflecting on why he chose a path towards politics instead of the law. “And that’s why I ultimately wanted to pursue impact.”

The housing crunch and affordability crisis has only gotten worse, he said. That’s why he sees the need for the city to start providing legal assistance to residents and business owners trying to navigate often over-complicated systems.

“We should never be in a place where folks are losing their home, where they're not allowed to pursue opportunities through business, or otherwise being jeopardized because they simply don’t have access to the information they need,” he said.

Barrios defeated Elo-Rivera by over 2,500 votes in the primary