Frank Tsimboukakis: District 5 City Council Candidate
How have you demonstrated your commitment to racial justice?
Through the way i’ve lived my whole life, my circle of friends, my education at Berkeley. I don’t think there are many white straight males who have studied both african american studies, psychology of homosexuality and claim as a college, UC Berkeley, friend the late Huey Newton as a friend, while he was at Berkeley in 1984 completing his phd studies through UC Santa Cruz.
In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges San Diego faces to achieving racial equity?
Geographic segregation as a result of economic segregation, lack of pushing by African American leaders to their followers, like it happens in the Latino community, to convince them that they can do whatever they put their mind to. 8 years ago we elected the first African American president from humble beginnings. Two of my few best friends, since college, African Americans, from humble beginnings, studied at Berkeley, Harvard and Columbia and are equally, if not more, successful as I.
Check all of the boxes that describe your perspective about race.
“Race is a social construction.”
✅ “I am colorblind.”
“Institutional racism means that people who are not explicitly racist can support and benefit from racial oppression.”
“White people of all income-levels benefit from privileges bestowed upon them historically and in the current day.”
✅ “We live in a post-racial society. Anyone can thrive if they work hard enough.”
✅ “We live in a country where race impacts one’s educational and employment opportunities.”
“Racism continues to be a problem in today’s world.”
✅ “White people have a responsibility to work for racial justice.”
✅ “I am well-informed about the United States’ history as it relates to race and racial inequality.”
The limitations of the public transit system in San Diego mean that low-income workers face obstacles getting to work and pursuing certain employment opportunities. How should San Diego expand and support its public transit system? What role will you play, if any?
I have used the public transit system, both out of need and curiosity, in the past. I find it expensive on both financial and time sense, for the common folk. We need smaller buses, much more frequent and expanded service territories, and lower ticket cost, subsidized if need be. As it happened in Europe till volume picked up, and still is subsidized in many placed. At $2.50 per ticket/direction it is cheaper and more convenient taking your car, if you can afford a car. Public transit in other places, like Europe, is also made more attractive due to the high cost of fuel.
Clean, drinkable water should be available to all households, regardless of income level. What should San Diego do to make drinking water more affordable for low-income families? What role will you play, if any?
One of my top 3 priority issues on my agenda. I advocate for lowering water fees to $10 per month, re-align the sewer fees according to water consumption and then price water according to volume use, escalating as water use goes above 100% of the average per household use in the city. Cause waste is waste.
How can San Diego raise employment rates among communities of color in San Diego? What role will you play, if any?
We need to move well paying jobs in impoverished, inner city areas. We don’t even have a decent hospital between Highway 8 and Highway 54 and east of 163/5. Same with other than bottom paying service jobs. San diego’s District 4 has been neglected for years and still is, regardless the lip service paid by their African American representatives. Having worked the general area for years I know that the area I described earlier is in general disrepair, residential, commercial or otherwise. I plan to change that by re-assigning priorities, specially with public transit, and relocation incentives to the area for well paying businesses.
What should San Diego do to ensure communities of color are safe while reducing the disproportionate police presence and contact in their neighborhoods? What role will you play, if any?
Eliminate the blight. Increase economic opportunities, involve communities, schools, repair streets, clean up properties specially commercial ones, light up streets (light is the enemy of crime) , increase camera surveillance of streets (cheaper than many patrols). I would advocate for all those if the community agreed.
How should San Diego ensure that children of color receive a high quality education that affords them the same post-secondary opportunities as white children? What role will you play, if any?
I believe teachers are good everywhere. I think there have to be after school campus programs that will allow all children that need educational assistance/care to receive it, in lieu of home, where many parents may be unable to provide due to lack of skills or knowledge and discipline. In 2015 the number 1 group of admits to the UC system were Latinos. African Americans also need to raise the expectations and demands of themselves and their children. The recent immigrants from Somalia and other African countries, here and elsewhere, with their language struggles as well, seem to be achieving beyond expectations. So I would push the African American community to raise their expectations with actions.
What should San Diego do to support students of color, as well as immigrant and refugee students, in finding employment and high-wage jobs? What role will you play, if any?
Cooperate with area school districts to make accessible internship and training programs and further their education. Jobs, especially well paying ones, only come to people with special skills and higher education. I believe academic and professional are influenced by culture, ethnic, racial or otherwise. As an 18 year old immigrant, I had many excuses to fail and one to succeed. I picked the one to succeed that required, working hard, putting up with things I may not have liked, defining role models and moving forward. I saw many other immigrants, white like me, fail by the wayside, cause they lost focus. We need to teach all kids to focus, while still being kids and having fun as well. It’s easy. I did it and so can everyone else.
What does San Diego need to do to better support its bilingual/multilingual communities? What role will you play, if any?
Whether we like it or not, the business world turns in english. My youngest son learned Greek, before English, from the grandparents and struggled the first two years in school. Then adopted, did well and last year graduated college with 2 degrees. I think everyone should keep their ethnic language skills, but should perfect English cause this lack of perfection will cost them in their career, with rare exceptions. School districts are responsible for language development.
What should San Diego do to ensure that low-income communities of color have affordable housing? How can San Diego support development without pricing out low-income families? What role will you play, if any?
Affordable housing is a fallacy. Most lower rental properties are far inferior to the regularly priced ones, and nobody says anything about it. Compare amenities, unit qualities, interiors, environments and square footage, with rents and the most expensive and inhumane housing is the so called affordable one. Most are dumps. The city needs to raise expectations of affordable housing quality and expectations and help raise incomes of low income people by raising their skill levels.
The legitimacy of the police is undermined within communities of color because of racial profiling in police stops, police shootings of people of color, and racially disproportionate police contact. What should San Diego do to rebuild trust in San Diego’s police? What role will you play, if any?
There is fault on both sides. Police need better training. The African Americans need to stop seeing police as the enemy, change the culture that turning in a criminal is snitching (bad), glorifying the gangsters culture. Assimilation without losing our identity is not that hard. Many ethnic groups do it. Some struggle. Community meetings, school meetings with better educated and trained officers will help. Its a small part of the community that breeds that hatred because it serves their interests. We just need to get that out there.
What is your stance on the Black Lives Matter Movement?
Every life matters. I spend 5 months, in 1984, before the internet, learning from Huey Newton about the good and the bad of the Black Panther movement in north Oakland. How easy it is to lose focus and ruin something amazing by being angry and always blaming the other side. Kill them with kindness. And as Ray Lewis said, lets take care of our house first, since 85% of black violence is black on black and BLM has not addressed that adequately. I believe many new activists “lose their way” and do a disservice to some communities motivated by personal interests.
What is your stance on San Diego’s use of Proposition 21 (Section 182.5) and the San Diego 33?
If I remember right 33 has to do with insurance rates based on location instead of driving record. Well, only comprehensive should be determined based on location, the other coverages on the drivers record. I saw my insurance drop 3% when I moved, but did not pay attention to what part dropped (I will check it out). As for 21, if I remember right it has to do with determination of minors as adults for certain crime. Well. I believe if they can not vote, serve in the military and not recognized as responsible adults for executing contracts they should not be treated as adults for anything, including murder. The law can not discriminate on subjective criteria when, how and who is or is not an adult. Just like I believe that if the law considers them adult to vote and carry arms for their country they should be able to drink and smoke.
What role should San Diego play in the current refugee crisis?
A) San Diego should be a haven for refugees from Syria and elsewhere fleeing violence and economic hardship.
B) San Diego should not actively welcome refugees from Syria and elsewhere.
C) Other: City should help some refugees, with federal help, if it can provide humane living conditions . Fleeing violence, not economic hardship.
Any Additional Comments?
As someone, albeit white, who came alone in this country, legally at 18, with limited language and labor skills, and achieved the American dream many times over, while keeping my integrity, honesty, forwardness (that sometimes held me back), as someone who supported and voted for our first African American president, I have a lot of understanding for disadvantaged people and knowledge of reality, but also less tolerance for poor excuses when they present themselves.