San Ysidro Chamber Holds District 8 Candidates Forum
Three contenders vying for San Diego’s District 8 City Council seat spoke about issues affecting the residents and businesses of San Ysidro at a breakfast forum this Thursday, April 5.
The forum, organized by the San Ysidro Chamber of Commerce, had candidates Vivian Moreno, Antonio Martinez, and Christian Ramirez in attendance to answer questions regarding topics of interest to San Ysidro, District 8’s southernmost neighborhood.
During this forum, candidates had two minutes to answer questions written by the Chamber of Commerce on a number of topics such as graffiti abatement, homeless people, and revitalizing the San Ysidro Boulevard Business district.
In their closing remarks, the candidates expressed their reasons for which they are running for the District 8 seat.
On the subject of outdoor displays and sales, which according to the Chamber are appealing to the Mexican and international consumer which passes by San Ysidro, being barred from the municipal code, Moreno believes that modifying sidewalk use can cater to businesses in San Ysidro.
On reactivating businesses along San Ysidro Boulevard, Ramirez and Martinez shared similar views that investments have to be made to attract tourism into San Ysidro and to capitalize on people traveling through the area.
On police retention and hiring, Martinez proposed offering competitive pay rates as a solution. Moreno agreed and also pointed out that incentivizing officers with less than 10 years on the force with pay bumps rather than senior officers was vital for retention. Ramirez proposed recruitment of bilingual and bicultural police officers who hail from the communities which they will patrol.
At the end of the forum, candidates had the opportunity to answer questions from the audience regarding subjects such as street sweeping, park usage, and street parking.
During their closing remarks, the candidates spoke about what makes them different from the rest of the other candidates.
Vivian Moreno, who has been an advisor for currently District 8 Councilmember David Alvarez, stated that through the work in which she is involved San Ysidro has seen improvements in parks, roads, and the library.
She also expressed that while she admires Ramirez’s advocacy work, Martinez’s track record as a SYSD Trustee worries her.
“The San Ysidro School District is in the red. Since he came into office, we’ve had nine superintendents,” she stated. “We’ve had two superintendents which have left in a very negative way.”
Martinez expressed that he is running because he wants to represent his community and stated that he is proud of the work which he has done.
“It’s easy to point fingers, but I have stood by teachers and classified staff,” he said.
Ramirez expressed his lifelong involvement in the community, his residing in several communities in District 8, and his experience fighting for human rights causes at the federal level as his qualifications.
“I want to make sure that I can bring home what I have represented at the national level back to where four generations of my family lives,” Ramirez said.
This is the second forum which has been held for District 8 candidates. A previous forum, held by the Environmental health Coalition at the Sherman Heights Community Center three weeks ago, focused on topics related to the environment in relation to the greater Logan Heights and Sherman Heights Area.
District 8 includes the communities of Barrio Logan, Egger Highlands, Grant Hill, Logan Heights, Memorial, Nestor, Ocean View Hills, Otay Mesa East, Otay Mesa West, San Ysidro, Shelltown, Sherman Heights, Stockton, and the Tijuana River Valley.