Vote for Racial Justice: Justin DeCesare

Justin DeCesareJustin DeCesare: District 7 City Council Candidate

How have you demonstrated your commitment to racial justice?

 Through my campaign, I have been very vocal regarding issues that I will stand for if elected, such as social and economic justice, tenant rights, expanding public transportation, and ensuring my staff would be diverse and representative of all the people in my district. We need to put much focus on repairing our aging infrastructure, especially in under-served communities.

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

San Diego continues to focus its interests on ensuring special interests and developers are taken care of, but we continue to lose focus on affordable housing, expanding transit, and bringing high quality jobs, to our area. Raising the minimum wage is a start, but we can only expand from there.

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?

As a Councilmember, I will not support the continued over development of District 7 until we have a clear path towards expanding public transit. Mission Valley, for example, continues to grow on the north side of Friars Rd, but provides no pathway to the transit on the south side of the busy through-way. Transit needs to be expanded both East and North, and close to major centers of industry. If it were easier to take public transit to Kearney Mesa, many more people could make it to well-paying jobs that increases both their quality of living, and the overall San Diego economy.

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 recently approved a water-rate increase. Because the increase itself does put a heavy burden on low-income families, I will fight to ensure the extra revenue goes back into bringing potable reuse to our community, and upgrading aging infrastructure, not allowing it all to be spent in the bureaucratic process.

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

I believe in raising the minimum wage, and also support expanding our unionized workforce. District 7 currently has a sitting council member who is adamantly opposed to unions, and I will fight to make sure workers have the right to organize, strike, and provide a good life for their families.

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?

We need to expand and oversee our body camera programs, and hold our elected and appointed officials accountable for police actions in our communities.

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 will fight to ensure resources in our city are spent directly on education, and not just on sports stadiums in more affluent communities. Working with groups to bring in grants and scholarships to low-income secondary schools, and working closely with the school board will be a priority.

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 a Councilmember, I will work to create more apprenticeship programs for high school students with local businesses, specifically in low-income communities and communities of color.

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

Ensuring our city’s resources are translatable in many languages is important, as will be hiring a diverse staff that can relate and assist our district’s constituents from many different backgrounds.

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?

Our affordable housing crisis has two separate problems. Income is growing at half the rate of inflation, so until we stand up for workers the problem will never fully go away. The development system in our city is currently much easier to navigate for large corporations who are not focused on affordable housing. We need to update our community plans, and make sure well-meaning developers who are trying to change a single family home on an R-3 lot to more affordable rowhomes need a clear path to how long it will take to complete a project.

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?

San Diego needs to realize we can be a national leader in how our police force interacts with the public, but it will take a lot of work to get there. Creating citizen’s groups specifically for communities of color and providing more training and oversight on social, economic, and racial issues is very important.

What is your stance on the Black Lives Matter Movement?

I support the black lives matter movement. It has been an important step to bringing the issues of racism to our society.

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

I don’t believe that giving juveniles life without parole sentences does anything to deter or prevent crime in our society, and it disproportionately affects minority and low-income communities

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