How @Kevin Faulconer made #BARRIOLOGANUNITED!

February 7, 2014

Guest Editorial:
By Steve Galindo III

My older Brother and I have the tendency of texting each other whenever we hear news about our childhood neighborhood, Barrio Logan. Lately, we’ve had lots to text about, thanks to the Mayoral race and our Homeboy David Alvarez.

Last September, my brother sent me a text message. It was a photoshopped picture of Nathan Fletcher in Chicano Park. Next to Fletcher were these words: “I’ve never been seen in this neighborhood but I want their votes anyway.” I responded to this text as any text savvy person does nowadays; with an LOL, and with a few laughing Emoji’s. I than responded with, “There’s a Mexican guy running named David Alvarez, he’s the Councilman of District 8, he lives in Logan I think.” My brother’s response: “He won’t win though.”

My Brother’s sentiments were echoed by many the day that Alvarez announced his candidacy for Mayor. And not just from residents North of Interstate 8, a few people and politicians South of I8 had doubts as well. That became evident when a few select, so-called, “ Activists” from the neighborhood decided to endorse Nathan Fletcher in the the primary.

These are the same people that for decades have stood proudly at Chicano Park preaching Chicano this and Chicano that…… and there they were in that same very park endorsing the non-Chicano Guy. Kind of a head scratcher huh? I guess they were a little bit hurt about not receiving grant money or the fact that Alvarez didn’t consult with them on the Barrio Logan Community plan. Hell, the Galindo clan have occupied Barrio Logan for almost 100 years, and Alvarez didn’t consult with us. Doesn’t mean we’re going to go ahead and vote for the White guy. I tried to reach these “Activists” for comments on the upcoming election but they were unavailable. From what I understand they’re currently in rehearsals for the modern day adaptation of Luis Valdez’s play “Los Vendidos.” Look out for that production at The Rep this Summer. But enough about them, they’re about as irrelevant as the guy they supported.

As things would turnout, our protagonist, Alvarez, didn’t need their support after all as he would come from behind to take the primary, thanks in part to the residents of Barrio Logan. Well, that’s what I like to think at least. Listen, I know that Barrio Logan has a bad rep for not getting out the vote, but I can tell you that the neighborhood came out to vote in the primary. I don’t know the exact numbers of votes casted in the area (sorry La Prensa for not doing extensive research on this) but I can tell you that it was A LOT!

How do I know? Support for Alvarez in the neighborhood was overwhelming for the primary, you could literally drive down any street and see a sea of blue Alvarez for Mayor signs in almost every yard. I had never seen anything like that in my almost 30 years in the area. We just don’t do that for any Ol’Candidate. People of Barrio Logan do not like putting up Political signs up in their yards, trust me. Even I had to convince my mom to move the Virgen Mary statue in the front yard a bit to make way for the Alvarez sign. When I saw the community come together like that, I knew the race was going to be closer than had been projected.

A funny thing happened on the way to the polls that day, as residents believed that the whole election had been over with Alvarez’s win in the primary. The blue sea of yard signs had almost immediately come down. Come to think of it, Kevin Faulconer probably sent a group of middle aged white men down our way to steal all of our signs (as has been reported as of late).

You know for all the talk of Alvarez coming from the Ghetto and the way he’s depicted as a Gangster by The Lincoln Club, I must say that it’s Faulconer that has come off as the true Gangster of this race. It’s a shame the way these Republican groups are portraying David because it couldn’t be further than the truth. And the community knows it. Many of my neighbors see him as the real deal. He’s the anti-establishment, the anti Ralph Inzunza, the anti Ben Hueso, and most importantly, the anti Juan Vargas. He’s a great ambassador for Barrio Logan. Whether it be the fact that his parents worked as a janitor and fast food worker, or the fact that he was once the victim of racial profiling, we can all relate to him. No, he might not of gotten an endorsement from Father Joe Carroll but Alvarez knows what it’s like to be homeless, as he spent some time on the streets while attending high school.

Faulconer on the other hand, well he’s trying to lie, cheat, and steal his way into the Mayor’s seat. Who can forget his famous lie about the Navy leaving town if the Barrio Logan Commuity Plan Update passed. The idea was so ridiculous that the Navy didn’t even want to comment on it. Hell, The Village People who wrote a famous song about the Navy didn’t even want to comment. And yet Faulconer’s base otherwise known as the Fox News crowd bought into it. I’m still shocked that these people haven’t asked to see the long form version of Alvarez’s birth certificate.

There’s a huge difference not only within the candidates themselves but with their supporters as well. While Faulconer’s supporters see this race as a battle of Chico vs. The Man, Alvarez’s supporters, especially those in Barrio Logan ,are taking this very serious. There’s a lot at stake in terms of our health and the toxic air that we breathe. For many it’s personal. My older sister developed asthma as a result of growing up in the neighborhood and there are many just like her including David Alvarez himself. In fact, the residents of Barrio Logan suffer from three times the rate of asthma than the rest of San Diego, and yet Mr. Neighborhoods akaKevin Faulconer doesn’t seem to care at all.

I understand that this election isn’t about Barrio Logan or it’s Community Plan Update. It may be at the forefront but the residents didn’t make it that way, David Alvarez didn’t make it that way, the Media did. I’m glad that they did because it’s brought out the best in Alvarez, and it’s brought out the absolute worst in Faulconer and his supporters. I must admit that I wasn’t real keen on the Barrio Logan Community Plan Update at first. At the time I was busy chasing girls around the greater South Bay area. But when I finally woke up and smelled the toxic air, I was outraged. My first instinct was to go all Kanye West post Hurricane Katrina and make a video with an Austin Powers look a like and shout “Kevin Faulconer doesn’t care about Mexican people.” But luckily cooler heads prevailed and I ended up re-registering to vote instead.

Which many people in the community did, and it will show this Tuesday as it did in the primary. My next text to my brother will comeTuesday night and will read “Si Se Pudo! Alvarez wins!” …with a few smiling Emoji’s.

A resident of Barrio Logan for over 26 years, Steve Galindo III has read his social commentaries locally at Voz Alta, Chicano Perk and at The University Of California San Diego. He can be reached at stevegalindo3@gmail.com

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