Youth Question Mayoral Candidates On Bullying, Other Teen Issues
They may not be able to cast ballots, but teenagers involved with the nonprofit Social Advocates for Youth San Diego might have something better—a contract of sorts with San Diego’s future mayor.
Teens in the Latino Youth Council, Critical Voice and Elevated Student Relations asked both Carl DeMaio and Bob Filner to fill out a questionnaire on how they would partner with youth to prevent bullying and teen substance abuse.
The groups, which include LGBT, homeless and foster youth throughout San Diego, work on campaigns to stop the sale of alcohol to minors.
Latino Youth Council member Judith Uriostegui, 16, said the effort wasn’t about choosing a favorite candidate, but about getting them to take a stand—in writing.
“Basically, we want to hold them responsible and accountable,” Uriostegui said. “Like, if they said they’re going to do specific things, we want to make sure they do them.”
Sixteen-year-old Antonio Romero said the questionnaire had an added benefit for families in the immigrant and refugee community of City Heights, where more than 30 languages are spoken.
“I’m the only child and I only live with my mom, so I guess me knowing the candidates’ point of view can help her choose,” Romero said. “She doesn’t speak a lot of English, so I guess that’s a barrier and another one is that not all the information is out there. The most common source is commercials and most them are paid.”
Both candidates said they would fund more after school programs and create internship opportunities if elected. The teens said they’ll be watching City Hall in the coming year, ready to pull out the questionnaires if needed.
“The youth who cannot vote want to see their future and what’s going to happen when the new mayor comes in,” said Bernice Castillo, an adult mentor for the Latino Youth Council. “They want to get involved and they’re out there.”