David Alvarez: Can the Barrio boy be the next San Diego mayor?

David Alvarez could become the first Latino to lead the 8th largest city in America.
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(PR NewsChannel) / February 4, 2014 / SAN DIEGO 
Kevin Alvarez

Kevin Alvarez (Courtesy: NewsTaco.com)

David Alvarez is fresh-faced and comes to the table with fresh and bold ideas.

The race for mayor of San Diego, the nation’s 8th largest city, is being closely watched–not just in California, but across the nation.

That’s because in just days, San Diego City Councilman David Alvarez could become San Diego’s youngest mayor in more than 100 years.

David Alvarez is running against Republican and fellow San Diego City Councilman Kevin Faulconer.

Here’s what’s being said about David Alvarez, and perhaps San Diego’s next mayor:

KPBS.org, October 30, 2013

“Every politician has an origin story, a moment they cite again and again as sparking their political awakening.

Alvarez’s story goes like this: when he was 13, he attended a summer program for disadvantaged kids at UCSD. One day, the instructor took them on a field trip to demonstrate health hazards in low income communities.

Alvarez perked up as the bus pulled into his Barrio Logan neighborhood. It turned down his street and stopped at his front door, a house sandwiched between two metal plating shops, later found to be spewing toxic fumes.

“It’s kind of cool, because we are in my neighborhood … until the teacher starts talking about the health impacts: Kids suffering from asthma and all the negative impacts that come from that coexistence of industry and residential.”

Alvarez was terrified. And he remembers something else: Another kid on the bus said, “Why would anybody want to live here?”

It was like a shot through the heart. “That was the moment that was sort of, wow, I felt very ashamed that I did live there — it was almost like only people who are dumb enough to live here would live here. It was just very shameful.”

Just before the bus pulled away, Alvarez saw his mother walking up the sidewalk. “She was coming home with her apron and her visor, she was working at Burger King at the time.” He said he can picture it clearly even now, down to the logo on her visor.

Alvarez said after feeling an initial wave of shame he began to realize something was very wrong and the young man who questioned why people lived in Barrio Logan was right, “why would anyone allow this to exist — in any community?”

That moment, Alvarez said, changed him. “That’s sort of the first moment I decided to get involved with community activism and neighborhood activism. I actually never shared that story with my mom but it was one of those moments, where you just…” he paused, stumbling over his words. “It was a big impact in seeing how the world was different for different people,” he said.

San Diego Union Tribune, January 18, 2014

“He’s the baby of his family, but David Alvarez has often acted like the patriarch. As a teen he shouldered adult responsibilities — doing his parents’ tax returns, helping them open a checking account, paying bills and translating at doctor’s appointments.

His brother Francisco didn’t always notice this.

That changed in 2007, when 26-year-old David delivered the eulogy at their mother’s funeral.

“I was amazed at the tone and him being able to do that,” said Francisco Alvarez, who is 11 years older than David. “When mom passed away and he spoke for the family, that’s when I (saw) David as, you know, OK, he’s the spokesperson for the family.”

Voices of San Diego, Oct. 30, 2013
Toni Atkins, majority leader of the California State Assembly

Alvarez’s values were shaped by where he came from. He is the son of a janitor and a fast-food worker. He grew up in an industrial area whose people have often been forgotten by the movers and shakers downtown. His home neighborhood of Barrio Logan has suffered from toxic pollution that makes residents sick. His neighborhood has very few parks and open spaces, or even decent grocery stores. Alvarez knows the ticket to a better life is education because he was given that chance.

These are the experiences that led him into public service, and that he will bring to the office of mayor. These are also the experiences shared by working- and middle-class families throughout the city.

On the Web:

Direct link:  https://prnewschannel.com/2014/02/04/david-alvarez-can-the-barrio-boy-be-the-next-san-diego-mayor/

SOURCE:  Californians for a Better Today

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