Vote for Racial Justice: Gil Cabrera

Gil CabreraGil Cabrera: City Attorney Candidate


How have you demonstrated your commitment to racial justice?

I have encouraged and supported the election of African Americans, Asian Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans for public office and appointed offices, including judgeships and am committed to making sure the City Attorney’s Office hires and retains a diverse workforce. I have served as a mentor to a number of young professionals and attorneys of color in the community and worked to make sure every organization I have worked in has hired and maintained a diverse workforce. My work on the San Diego Police Department Use of Force Task Force has also helped save the lives of people of color by reviewing and revising the way the SDPD interacted with the people of San Diego generally and providing more non-lethal use of force options to our officers. More still needs to be done here to expand upon the progress made and ensure transparency in the department’s interactions with the public; including a public policy on the release of videos of officer involved shootings. I am one of the only candidates to make a public commitment to doing so, and the only one with the experience to begin work on this issue on day one. I am the only candidate in either party to challenge all candidates to make a public commitment to do everything in their power to address the epidemic of gun violence in our country.

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

A lack of engagement with communities of color that results in a lack of representation in local institutions and diminishes the voices of said communities. This often results in fewer resources and services in those communities, which creates systematic issues ranging from poor infrastructure to food deserts to the student achievement gap. It also creates instances such as the fight for the Barrio Logan Community Plan update where the residents of the communities are barred from making decisions about the health and safety of their own neighborhoods.

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?

San Diego should expand its light rail and bus systems to make them more accessible and efficient to all neighborhoods. (For example, It is absurd that Mid-City, one of the highest density areas in the City of San Diego, does not have light rail.) Although the San Diego City Attorney does not have jurisdiction over MTS or SANDAG, I would strongly advise the City Council and Mayor, who sit on the board of SANDAG, to work toward a bond measure for necessary expansions.

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?

San Diego will be subsidizing the cost of water bills for low income families to ensure access to clean, drinkable water. I support this policy. The San Diego City Attorney has no jurisdiction over this policy issue, but I would encourage the San Diego City Council to keep it a priority.

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

Increased access to public transit and closing the student achievement gap will remove significant systematic barriers to employment for communities of color. We must also support small businesses in under-served communities, which means streamlining permitting processes, improving infrastructure, and connecting them with regional resources. Public-private partnerships to increase training, internship, apprenticeship, and recruitment opportunities can create a local hire pipeline to help these communities.

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?

The Citizen’s Review Board should have subpoena power and as City Attorney I would support providing the review board with such power. I would also support having the Citizens Review Board staffed by professionals outside the police department so that it has true independence in its review processes. My work on the San Diego Police Department Use of Force Task Force has helped save the lives of people of color by reviewing and revising the way the SDPD interacted with the people of San Diego generally and providing more non-lethal use of force options to our officers. More still needs to be done here to expand upon the progress made and ensure transparency in the department’s interactions with the public; including a public policy on the release of videos of officer involved shootings. I am one of the only candidates to make a public commitment to do so, and the only one with the experience to begin work on this issue on day one.

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?

While the San Diego City Attorney has no jurisdiction over San Diego Unified Schools, I support many policies to close the achievement gap. First, we need culturally competent education that considers student diversity to be an asset, and actually reflects the population of our City. This will force educators and the school system to take student’s home culture into account and not use it against them when they don’t fit into the cookie-cutter mold. Second, students should be fully supported from the moment they walk through the door by the school as well as social services and community agencies. Mentor programs, tutoring, and peer support networks should exist on every campus to keep students engaged, and intervene early if there is an issue. Third, in order for any programs to work, there needs to be an honest conversation about equitable funding and resources to schools district-wide, and targeting problem schools and sub districts.

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?

The City Attorney’s Office does not have jurisdiction over this policy area. However, I think public private partnerships that target students of color, and immigrants and refugee students for training, internship, apprenticeship, and education programs would help solve this problem. We also need to pass the minimum wage increase so that no one who works full time, no matter the job they hold, has to live in poverty.

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

Although the City Attorney would have limited jurisdiction over this policy area, it is something that means a lot to me personally. As a father, I only speak Spanish to my daughters so that they will maintain their multilingual skills, protecting the heritage of their family. I would advocate strongly for support of programs that encourage fluency in multiple languages, and ensure that those who speak languages other than english can communicate effectively with their local government.

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?

Although the City Attorney has limited jurisdiction over this policy issue, the office can help with streamlining permits and the way we develop housing, identify where we can increase density in compliance with the General Plan so that we can increase supply, and examine tools like the linkage fee for their usefulness in securing funds for affordable housing.

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?

The Citizen’s Review Board should have subpoena power and as City Attorney I would support providing the review board with such power. I would also support having the Citizens Review Board staffed by professionals outside the police department so that it has true independence in its review processes. We need to ensure transparency in the department’s interactions with the public; including a public policy on the release of videos of officer involved shootings. I am one of the only candidates to make a public commitment to do so, and the only one with the experience to begin work on this issue on day one.

What is your stance on the Black Lives Matter Movement?

I fully support the efforts of the Black Lives Matter Movement to affirm contributions of Black people to this society, and target policies that remove barriers to racial equity.

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

The use of Prop 21 to arrest people based simply on who they know with no direct connection to a crime is inappropriate and unjust.

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 
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