By Pablo Jaime Sainz
When Lorena Gonzalez looked at the crisis San Diego is going through right now, she felt it was time to clean up her city.
“After seeing all the mess at City Hall I thought, ‘Oh my God, it can’t get worse.’ But it does!,” said Gonzalez, a Democrat who is running for the vacant 2nd District seat in City Council.
Some of the communities included in the 2nd. District are Little Italy, Mission Beach, Ocean Beach, Old Town, Pacific Beach, Point Loma, the Park West area of Hillcrest, and La Jolla.
“I chose to run because I’m a native of San Diego and I want to contribute to the city,” 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.
And since she’s an outsider to City Hall, she can take the distance that’s needed to be able to see the crisis, she said.
“I have the advantage that I haven’t been involved in the mess,” Gonzalez said. “I bring a fresh perspective to city council.”
Gonzalez said that when former councilmember Michael Zucchet resigned from the 2nd District after being found guilty of corruption, fraud, and conspiracy, the residents of the district became weary of what’s going on at city hall.
“I think that not only in the 2nd District but there’s a broad disappointment in the city in general,” she said.
Gonzalez added that she will change the image people have of the 2nd District office and the city council.
“I want to move San Diego forward. I want to re-create a city we can all be proud to call home. I want to fix the city’s financial mess with fiscal fairness, I want to ensure we have clean beaches and bays, and safe neighborhoods, and I want a city with a vibrant economy and quality jobs.”
If elected in the November 8 special election, Gonzalez will be the only councilmember of Latino descent.
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 not longer limited by boundaries imposed on us,” she said. “I’m a reflection of my community.”
As a good environmentalist, Gonzalez said she opposes the triple fence the federal government is planning to build at the border.
The Bush administration is schedule to start construction of the triple fence next year, even though the California Coastal Commission said the move will affect possible terminatewildlife in the Tijuana Valley River reserve, one of the most rich and diverse areas in the West Coast.
“I was very afraid this would be aproved,” Gonzalez said. “I’m very dissapointed at the federal government for not taking into consideration the environmental impact this triple fence will have in our region.”
And although there are 17 candidates running for the vacant seat, Gonzalez has 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.
Saldaña joined Gonzalez on Sunday, September 18, at Bahia Point, for a precinct walk.
“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.”
Saldaña recommended the residents of the 2nd. District to compare Gonzalez to the other candidates.
“Get to know her. Ask her questions. Learn more about her. You will see for yourself that she’s the best qualified candidate for the job.”
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. Nine of the 17 candidates attended the Club’s forum.
While addressing questions from the audience, Gonzalez pledged her campaign would be positive and on the issues affecting the district and citywide.
“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.”
The San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council’s membership chose to endorse Gonzalez because of her broad understanding of the issues facing working families, and her commitment to stand up for all San Diegans.
“We support candidates who support working families,” said Ryan Mims, Neighbor to Neighbor field organizer with the San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council.
The bottomline, Gonzalez said, is that she has two very good reasons for running for city council.
“My two children deserve a better San Diego.”
Dates to remember
· October 24 is the last day to register to vote.
· November 1 is the last day to apply for an absentee ballot by mail.
· November 8 is the Election Day.