The January 10, 2006 special election to replace City Councilman Ralph Inzunza, Jr., District 8, after his conviction, of conspiracy, extortion and wire fraud while serving as a Council member for the City, will draw to a conclusion an extraordinary run-off between Luis Acle (Republican) and Benjamin Hueso (Democrat).
District 8 is typically referred to as the Hispanic district encompassing Southwest San Diego which includes Barrio Logan, Golden Hill, Logan Heights, Sherman Heights, Memorial, Southcrest, and South San Diego (San Ysidro, Otay Mesa, and Tijuana River Valley).
Facing each other, once again, are Acle and Hueso which is a repeat of their San Diego Unified School Board seat District D race in 2004, where Acle defeated Hueso. This school board race was unique in that Hueso drew more votes from within District 8 while Acle drew his votes from outside of the district which put him over the top. This time around it is a district only race which bodes well for Hueso.
Luis Acle has been a perennial candidate losing every race he had ever entered in until his election to the school board. Acle served on the school board less than six months when he decided that he would run for the vacant District 8 seat. For a senior citizen who had spent a good portion of his life running for office we find it interesting that once elected he would so readily forgo this seat for another. If elected Acle would cause turmoil within the San Diego Unified School Board. He would cause the district to hold yet another special election costing the district untold thousands of dollars. This shows a complete lack of regard for his elected position and to the parents of his district. Totally unacceptable!
In the scant few months that Acle did serve on the school board Acle broke a major campaign promise that the School Board would be “an open Board”, which would include all those who had a stake in the education process. He lost no time in breaking that promise, when he decided, as the Chair, that it was best that the hiring of the next Superintendent of the District, after Allen Bersin, would be done behind CLOSED DOORS with no input from the stakeholders. Lastly, Acle as a Republican has ideas and political philosophies that run contrary with those that he would represent in District 8. Acle is not a good fit with this district.
Benjamin Hueso at one time had potential as a representative for this district. His father was a leader in the community for many, many years, and the Hueso family has a long history in the community. Benjamin Hueso is educated and he himself has been involved within the community for many years.
In his run for school board one of the major albatrosses that hung around him throughout his campaign was his association with Ralph Inzunza and the Inzunza family in general. This association with the Inzunza family was a major topic of discussion with Hueso, but it was an association that he clung to.
The race for District 8 could have served as an opportunity for Hueso to break his dependency on the Inzunza political machine and demonstrate that he would be an independent voice representing the district and its constitutions. Instead, Hueso chose to maintain his ties with the Inzunza clan and appeared dependent on the corrupt Inzunza machine. The ties with the Inzunza clan became even more apparent in the recent expose on Nick Inzunza, Mayor of National City, and the slum lord accusations and the Hueso business ties involving at least one of these homes with Nick Inzunza. Couple with this, despite the long history the Hueso family has in the district, Regimia Bermudez who received the third most votes in the Primary election, received the lion’s share of the most vocal and visible community members’ support in the race. The Hueso family business dealings and heavy handed demeanor in the community had rubbed many within the district the wrong way which was exemplified through the Inzunza house deals and the election night scuffle between Angel Hueso, brother of Benjamin Hueso, a news reporter and allegedly grabbing and hurting Regimia Bermudez (police reports were filed on the incidents).
The residents of District 8 need and deserve representation that they can be proud of. They need representation that will work in the best interest of the district. Neither of these candidates fit the bill. We don’t see the benefit in recommending either one. We suggest to the voters that they use their best judgment in this election, with one eye on the future. Whoever wins this race has to immediately face reelection; the first day for candidates to take out papers to run in the Primary for District 8 is February 8, 2006.
We recommend that the residents of District 8 start preparing for the June 6, 2006 Primary Election today.