September 30, 2005

District 8 candidate is a political outsider

• Matthew Moncayo said he will bring a common-people perspective to San Diego’s City Council.

By Pablo Jaime Sainz

Although he unsuccesfully ran for mayor as a write-in candidate last July, Matthew Moncayo said he’s more prepared to run for the District 8 seat in San Diego’s City Council.

“I feel confident,” Moncayo said. “The opportunity came again to lead and provide a service to the city.”

Even though now he’s an official candidate and his name will appear on the November 8 special election ballot, Moncayo still has a tough road ahead of him: He’s a political outsider.

“I think people are looking for a change. All of the other candidates are getting endorsements from high-profile organizations. I might not have endorsements from big organizations or companies, but I have the support of people, of real voters,” he said.

“I’m a little guy trying to get done what I think is the right thing to do. That’s why I’m such an appealing candidate, because I’m outside the political infrastructure.”

Historically, District 8 has been the district with the highest concentration of Latinos. It includes communities such as Logan Heights, Sherman Heights, Otay Mesa, South San Diego and San Ysidro.

Moncayo, who’s running as a Democrat, said although in the last years there have been Latino councilmembers representing District 8, they haven’t necessarily done much for the community.

“They’ve all been Latino, but when we talk about them addressing Latino issues, that’s another story,” Moncayo said, who lives near the Tijuana River Valley.

Moncayo added that more than improving the conditions for Latinos in the district, former councilmembers have used the position as a “stepping stone” for higher offices in politics.

Even when former District 8 representative Ralph Inzunza resigned from his post after being found guilty of fraud and corruption, Moncayo said that he will restore the people’s trust to the District 8 office by having community forums and an open door policy where “anybody could get a hold of me.”

“I will be accountable for what happens there,” he said. “Once a week I will visit different communities in the district to talk to common residents.”

Some of the projects he’s planned for some of the communities are the revitalization of San Ysidro and more funding for community agencies such as Barrio Station in Logan Heights.

City-wide, Moncayo said he plans to call for an independent audit of city finances by Certified Fraud Examiners from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) of the federal government.

“This will provide an independent look at the City books and provide a non-partisan accounting of funds and taxpayer dollars,” he said.

Born in New Mexico and raised in San Diego, Moncayo was deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom as a Communications Officer for the Navy.

After returning from Iraq, Moncayo retired from his 20-year career in the Navy to become a communications specialist for a private company.

Although he has no formal career in politics, he said he has experience in politics.

“Politics is everyday life,” said Moncayo. “People make decisions everyday and that’s politics. Even if you work for a private company, you have to see what’s the best for everyone in the company. That’s politics.”

When questioned about his thoughts about the other candidates in the race, Moncayo said he didn’t agree with San Diego City Schools Board of Education President Luis Acle’s decision to run for the District 8.

Acle was elected to the board of education last November. “He was elected to look after the education of our children,” Moncayo said. “If I had to make the decision he made, I wouldn’t have taken the route he took.”

So far, Moncayo said he’s been campaigning throughout District 8 meeting new people. He said that, even though his campaign has a small budget, he’s working hard to get elected.

“We don’t have a lot of money, but we have a lot of heart,” Moncayo said.

To learn more about Matthew Moncayo visit www.matthewmoncayo.com.

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