Vote for Racial Justice: Georgette Gomez

Georgette GomezGeorgette Gomez: District 9 City Council Candidate

How have you demonstrated your commitment to racial justice?

As a queer woman of color, the daughter of immigrants, and growing up in an underserved community, I’ve lived the struggles working people in our community face. This has fueled my passion and commitment to work towards dismantling social and environmental injustice in San Diego. As an elected member to our neighborhood planning groups which serve the most ethnically diverse community of residents, I fought to bring much needed resources and opportunities to our communities. For the past 10 years I’ve led the efforts in one the most underserved and intentionally contaminated neighborhoods of San Diego, fighting against environmental injustice to amend it’s community plan and ensure it reflects the communities needs of Barrio Logan. I hope to continue this on the City Council and continue my work influencing City policy to ensure the City’s Climate Action plan is implemented in the communities that have been overburden with pollution first.

In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges San Diego faces to achieving racial equity?

The City of San Diego has been dealing with the need for more affordable housing. We as a City are at the crossroads of developing into a City for only the rich. Historically speaking the City of San Diego has been divided into the South of Highway 8 and North of the 8. One of the major challenges in San Diego is the lack of real representation in decision-making positions. We’ve had mostly wealthy white elected officials in San Diego. This trend is now changing, but we still have a long way to go. We’ve also had the Chamber of Commerce, the Hotel industry, and big developers mostly influence policies in the City, which for the most part benefits them and not the average San Diegan. We need leadership on the City Council to change that, and I will do just that.

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?

My personal and professional career has centered on pushing for public policies that correct environmental injustice, such as policies to better our public transit system. Our community needs to have equal access to employment and recreational opportunities, as well as a great need to reduce air pollution, which makes transportation a major issue. For the past ten years, I’ve worked with residents and organizations to change the discussion about our regional transportation network. I’ve worked to push and ensure SANDAG spends our money on Active and Public Transportation networks in our communities, not on Highway expansions, which is how our money has been heavily spend in the past. On the City Council, I will lead the efforts to pressure SANDAG to prioritize bike lanes and bus routes, over freeway expansions. I will also be a proactive leader in ensuring we significantly improve how we manage MTS and SANDAG policies.

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?

I strongly agree that water is very precious and we all deserve clean, safe, and reliable water source. The City of San Diego recently restructured its water rates and increased the cost of water, impacting our families that are already struggling to make ends meet. I argued against the increase. On the City Council, I will continue to fight to ensure water reliability is met and develop a rate structure that keeps the burden off those with limited income. I will also work with the State and County to help ensure we do not overburden our families.

How can San Diego raise employment rates among communities of color in San Diego? What role will you play, if any?

We need to support our local economy by boosting our small businesses and making it easier to work in San Diego. The City can create enterprise zones that encourage job growth in areas like our communities of color. The City needs to be an ally to businesses that can bring in good paying jobs and I want to ensure we do just that on the City Council by first removing any red tape making it difficult for our small businesses to grow. I also want to ensure that our residents in our communities of color have a robust public transit network that takes them to better job opportunities in an efficient and cost effective manner.

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?

I believe that we need a police force that looks like the communities it protects and can speak the many languages that our people speak. We also need to ensure the public has full access to police body camera footage in cases of lethal force and office misconduct. I’ll push for diversity in hiring, more training in community policing techniques, and for releasing body camera footage fully and efficiently.

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 absolutely believe that all children should be given access to high quality education. Part of that extends to after school activities. The City can partner with the school district to ensure that after school programs are available and fully funded in our communities of need, so that our children have access to tutoring and homework help. The City can work on building connections with businesses and colleges to provide internship opportunities for our children. As a Councilwoman, I want to partner and lead the efforts to increase these types of opportunities for all our children.

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?

As I mentioned in a previous question, partnering with colleges and businesses is crucial to implement internship programs that can prepare young students for college and high level paying jobs. San Diego is in a great position to start up incubator programs that build opportunities for our diverse communities to gain valuable experience they can apply to their future careers and educational goals. There is a lot of potential, but our City Hall has been too focused on a stadium to really spearhead many of these projects. This is why I want to be the next Councilwoman for District 9, to lead these efforts and open new opportunities for our diverse families in San Diego.

What does San Diego need to do to better support its bilingual/multilingual communities? What role will you play, if any?

In order for our government to truly serve the community and its residents, it must be able to communicate with them. That means offering City Council meetings with translations, printing materials in other languages, and making a conscious effort to really reach out to our bilingual and multilingual communities. This also is a way to celebrate and acknowledge the great diversity and culture in San Diego, and prepare our residents for a more globally-minded world where we will speak many different languages. On the council, I will ensure that the effort is present to reach out.

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?

The City currently is doing a terrible job at addressing the needs of affordable housing. We need the right leadership to move our City forward, and I want to lead the effort. I would start by working with the County and State to ensure we are utilizing all the resources available to make affordable housing more prevalent. We also need to bring developers and the community together to identify areas where high density is wanted, and ensure that development is a positive for the community. We need to make building affordable housing units easier, as well as creating pathways for home-ownership in the near future. There are many approaches to improving the affordable housing crisis we currently face, such are updating our current Affordable Housing policies and our zoning laws. I am going to lead the discussion and get things done so that our residents stop being priced out of their homes.

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?

We need to increase public safety resources in our communities, but do it the right way. We cannot tolerate racial profiling in anyway. That’s wrong. But we need to do more to increase outreach and public participation so residents feel included and help make key decisions about local public safety priorities. Finally, we need to demand strong oversight. Most police officers are honest, hard working people dedicated to proecting our communities, but if an officer abuses his authority or breaks the law he needs to be held accountable.

What is your stance on the Black Lives Matter Movement?

I fully support the Black Lives Matter Movement.

What is your stance on San Diego’s use of Proposition 21 (Section 182.5) and the San Diego 33?

Proposition 21 is part of a series of laws that created a lot of overreach in the criminalizing of youth in the form of extensive budget cuts to education. Rather than investing in our children, the state has historically sought punitive measures that do little to address the heart of the problem. Penal Code 182.5 was passed when voters approved proposition 21. The measure is a conspiracy law that basically says “active gang members” can be charged for crimes committed by other members – even if they were not involve in the crime. San Diego 33, refers to several inmates charged with participating in a criminal conspiracy linked to a string of shootings allegedly committed by San Diego’s Lincoln Park Bloods gang. Superior Court Judge Gill threw out the charges for several of the defendants, saying he thought prosecutors hadn’t shown proof that the defendants had “willfully” benefited from the shootings—as the D.A. had originally charged. Unfortunately, not all arrested have been released. This kind of injustice is not right, and I want to be a voice that shines a light on these injustices and work to correct these wrongs.

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