Alvarez has potential, but isn’t ready for mayor gig

by Kelly Gardner

With the special election for San Diego’s next mayor just weeks away, the frontrunners have clearly emerged. Kevin Faulconer is leading the latest polls with 41 percent of support from voters, with Nathan Fletcher following with 28 percent. David Alvarez may not seem far behind with 17 percent of voter support, but at this stage in the race the numbers are likely indicative of the results.

Alvarez is San Diego homegrown, and has spent his childhood and adulthood invested in San Diego’s issues. Raised in Barrio Logan, Alvarez was affected at a young age by the struggles found in his neighborhood. One issue that hits home with Alvarez is the toxic pollution in his childhood neighborhood from industrial plants; he is one of the many Barrio Logan residents who developed asthma as a result of the pollution. This inspired him to seek changes in his community and take an interest in politics.

Alvarez was elected to the San Diego City Council in 2010 and is currently completing his first term. He has implemented some effective plans since being elected. In September, he helped pass a new community plan in the Barrio Logan area that would place a buffer zone between residential and industrial areas. The plan is intended to protect residents from the harmful toxins created by industrial plants. Alvarez also played a huge part in getting San Diego to adopt a policy that holds banks accountable for foreclosed properties. He faced a significant amount of opposition at first, but he was able to convince his colleagues that it was a valuable ordinance.

Alvarez has also been opposed to spending money on downtown development or San Diego’s tourism sector. He was the only opposing vote on a financial plan in October, reasoning that he would prefer to spend the money in neighborhoods that need it, and not in areas that are already developed.

While this is an honorable stance to take on the matter, the mayor of San Diego must be able to look at all aspects of business. If development in downtown and tourism interests will help boost San Diego’s economy, it may be beneficial to spend the money there.

Alvarez has definitely used his time on the City Council to make changes in the surrounding communities and his intentions are absolutely clear—he is a local who cares very much about San Diego. However, Alvarez isn’t the most experienced candidate on the ballot. Before working on the City Council, Alvarez began a career in social services while also working as an after-school teacher. He lacks the experience that is necessary to run the 8th largest city in the U.S. Alvarez should continue to serve as a city councilman where he can influence changes throughout San Diego, while continuing to further expand his experiences. He is a candidate who shows great potential for the future and I expect that we will continue to see him, but maybe not in the mayor’s office this time around.

Monica Linzmeier, Photo Editor