By Pablo Jaime Sainz
On January 10, Lorena Gonzalez might make history: She could become the first Latina to be elected to the San Diego City Council.
Gonzalez is running to represent District 2, which includes communities such as Little Italy, Mission Beach, Ocean Beach, Old Town, Pacific Beach, Point Loma, the Park West area of Hillcrest, and La Jolla.
She’s a step closer to accomplishing this, since in the last November 8 special elections she received 25.06% of the total vote in a race that included 15 candidates.
“I’m excited, very happy with the results,” she said. “I feel very confident.”
She will be running against long-time District 2 hopeful Kevin Faulconer, who received 34.54% of the vote in November.
The special election will take place on January 10.
Although the 2nd. Disitrict traditionally hasn’t had much Latino representation, Gonzalez said she will overcome all challenges.
“It shows the maturity of our Latino community. We’re no longer limited by boundaries imposed on us,” she said. “I’m a reflection of my community.”
Latinos represent about 6% of the district’s population, she said.
But the high percentage of votes she got in the November election proves that Gonzalez is beyond ethnic labels and she has the support of many residents in her district, regardless of ethnicity.
“It’s going beyond the fact that I’m Latina. It means that people know that I’m the best candidate there is for District 2,” she said.
Gonzalez is an environmental attorney, who serves on the California State Lands
Commission and is an ex-officio on the California Coastal Commission. She has also worked as the Senior Policy Advisor to the Lt. Governor, working on issues ranging from education and the environment to labor and the budget.
Last November, Gonzalez was endorsed by the editorial board of La Prensa San Diego, something which made her very proud, she said.
“Of all the media endorsements I got, La Prensa’s is the one that made me the proudest,” she said. “I felt honored that they saw beyond my ethnic background and listed my accomplishments and potential as council-member based on my professional experience.”
Gonzalez has also received endorsements from key political figures.
Some of these include State Senator Juan Vargas, Congressman Bob Filner, former Chula Vista councilmember Mary Salas and California Lt. Governor Cruz Bustamante.
“I’ve received endorsements from people who know my values,” Gonzalez said.
One of the politicians who have shown lots of support for Gonzalez is Assemblywoman Lori Saldaña.
“Lorena is very intelligent,” Saldaña said. “She understands the issue of land use very well, which is a very important issue at the 2nd District. The beaches in that district generate lots of money for the city. As an attorney she has a good understanding of the laws and regulations affecting her district. She owns a house there, so she know what she’s talking about.”
State Senator Denise Moreno-Ducheny has also endorsed Gonzalez.
“I’ve known Lorena Gonzalez for many years. I’m confident she’s prepared and ready to tackle the job. She has experience working in government as an aid to the liutenant governor and as an environmental attorney,” said Senator Moreno Ducheny. “I also think it is important to see a Latino woman elected to the San Diego City Council. Her combination of experience and intelligence makes her extremely qualified and she will serve the residents of Council District 2 well.”
Gonzalez was also the only candidate rated acceptable by the San Diego Democratic Club.
“My priorities are clear,” Gonzalez said, “fiscal fairness, fiscal fairness and fiscal fairness.”
Gonzalez added that using principles of fiscal fairness, she would deal with correcting the pension mess, protecting our environment and making public safety a priority.
“I have a vision for San Diego,” Gonzalez told the Club, “that goes beyond crisis management.”
A few weeks before the January 10 special elections, Gonzalez is focussing on getting the votes of people who voted for one of the candidates who are now out of the race.
She said she’s doing grassroots campaign, preccint walking, and meeting people.