October 3, 2008
By Daniel Muñoz
In National City the Alvarado family name is synonymous with public service. Al Alvarado is the long-time aide to Congressman Bob Filner and organizer of the all-star baseball team, San Diego USA, which annually plays international teams. Rosie Alvarado, Al’s wife, is a long time member of the board for the National School District in the city. Now their daughter Mona Alvarado-Rios looks to continue the family tradition of community service by running for National City, City Council.
In fact the Alvarado family history in National City goes back well over a hundred years when Mona’s great- great grandfather, while working on the railroad tracks met her great-great grandmother and settled in the city to live there the rest of the their lives.
Mona’s grandfather died in 1995 at the age of 101 years living all those years in National City. The Alvarado family has seen and been a part of the growth from a small railroad town to a city that is rapidly growing.
For Mona Alvarado-Rios all she knows is National City having grown up on the Westside, now living in East National City, and working at the city’s library as a Senior Library Technician.
“I have a button that a friend of mine gave to me, it says ‘I Love National City’, stated Mona. “When I met my husband he was serving with the U.S. Navy and hailed from the Los Angeles area. When he asked me to marry him I said yes with one condition, ‘I will never leave National City’.”
Serving the community that she knows and loves just comes naturally to Mona Alvarado-Rios.
“I just feel it is the right time for me to serve my hometown and give back to the citizens and residents what I was able to accomplish,” stated Rios.
Having grown up in National City Mona Rios attended Kimball Elementary and Sweetwater High Schools. She is a graduate of MAAC Project and Southwestern College. She is a member of Chamber of Commerce, South Bay Forum, SEIU, and the Latina, Latino & Indigenous People Unity Coalition.
Question: Are there particular issues that concern you about National City?
Rios: There are five issues that I am running on. One: to ensure fiscal responsibility. Two: to improve public disclosure. Three: strengthen livable communities. Four: improve public safety. And five: support the working families and economic development.
Q: can you explain your position on strengthening livable communities in all neighborhoods?
Rios: What I mean by that is that we have our ten neighborhood council areas that serve as a voice for the community and residents. Right now that voice is focused on the Westside and the environmental impact and the health of its residents with the mix of industrial and housing. That is a big issue in our city right now. When people’s lives are at stake it is very important to address those issues as quickly as possible and to listen to what the residents that affected by it, to see what they want to have happen in their community.
Q: Of your five issues of topic which one is the most important to you?
Rios: I believe that all five issue points are equally important, but if I were to prioritize them, improving public disclosure so that residents have an avenue to voice their concerns other than council meetings would be my primary focus. I would go to the neighborhood community meetings and address the issues that are important to them.
Q: What is your position on the one cent sales tax?
Rios: I supported the one cent sales tax with the 10 year sunset which was important and as a librarian it provides the quality public services that we need as well as safety. What I would do is look into other avenues for income so we don’t have to rely on that particular tax after it sunsets.
Q: How do you balance the need to generate revenue for the city and take care of the residents needs, the issues of a quality life, at the same time?
Rios: I want to be a voice for the residents. I want the residents to determine what they feel comfortable with in their city. I want everyone to have an input, to have a voice, especially those residents who are being impacted by the city’s actions. The residents on the Westside need to know exactly what is happening with their community and not have someone from outside the community, not living in that neighborhood, make those decisions for them.
I believe people are looking at National City differently and I think that it will take the businesses community and the residents coming together to make National City that thriving community that we all envision.
We need to make sure that people want to come to National City to do what I did which is to raise a family, build a home, and connect with the city. I think I can be the voice of those every day, regular people who share the same issues and have the same dreams for the city.
This year National City residents will vote for two candidates out of a field of seven candidates to fill the two open seats. Mona Alvarado-Rios is running for office not only because she feels it is her time, but because public service runs through her veins. Public service is a family tradition that she has passed on to two of her boys, one a firefighter and the other in law enforcement, her third son is in school majoring in music, and hopes to pass on this passion for public service to here two granddaughters.