Vote for Racial Justice: Ricardo Antonio Flores

Ricardo Antonio FloresRicardo Antonio Flores: District 9 City Council Candidate

How have you demonstrated your commitment to racial justice?

As a film student at UCLA I made a short award winning film regarding the internal struggle of a family that needs to leave their country in search of work. It was my attempt as an artist to provide a voice to those who suffer racial and economic injustice because of their basic need to provide for themselves and their families. Later in my career as senior community representative with Congresswoman Susan Davis I led an effort to reach out to the Latino community by ensuring that they were aware of the assistance our office could provide with the immigration process, Section 8, food stamps, and other federally operated and subsidized programs. As the president of the Chicano Democratic Association I worked to ensure that all our diverse ethnic communities understood the importance of voting by registering new voters and engaging them in our democratic process. Currently, as Chief of Staff for Councilmember Marti Emerald I have worked hard to lead a diverse team that has invested millions of dollars in our inner city communities. I have also worked with community groups to reform our taxi industry and provide not only racial but also economic justice to our brothers and sisters in the East African community in City Heights.

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

The continued persistence of economic inequality, educational disparities within schools, access to maternity/paternity and sick leave, access to quality and affordable childcare, and the ability for workers to unionize without barriers.

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 has the ability to weight its votes at MTS. I think that San Diego should exercise this option to ensure that we have a more robust and efficient public transit system that can get someone from point A to B in a timely manner. I would like to be seated on the MTS board in order to ensure that this happens.

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 will work to make sure that the City’s new low income water program is enhanced and covers more residents. I would also like to stop the City from using the Water Department as a collection agency for other fines residents receive from other City departments.

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

I think we need to work with our Community Colleges and our brothers and sisters in the Building Trades to create a pipeline of skilled trades people for good paying careers. I also think we need to ensure that the 5000 or so vacant high skilled manufacturing jobs are filled with our inner city youth. We also need to work with our partners at the Federal level of government to replace the rapidly retiring civil service jobs in our region. Finally, the City of San Diego is also a source for employment and we should ensure that our communities of color have the knowledge and opportunity to apply to serve their City.

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 hire more officers that reflect our diverse community of color. We also need to provide incentives for those officers to live in our communities to foster long term relationships. Training is also key. Helping officers to interact with the community as neighbors and fellow San Diegans is key to rebuilding trust with men and women of color. Also, promoting and expanding programs like StarPal is also important in fostering early relations with Police Officers in a fun, friendly, and constructive environment.

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?

We need to ensure that every child has a quality teacher in the classroom and that every teacher has the resources and support staff to be a quality teacher for his or her students. We must demand this of our elected school board. I would like to meet regularly with principals, teachers, and PTA representatives from all the Elementary, Middle School, and High Schools in D9 and ask what we at the City can do to ensure what I stated in my first sentence in this answer is fulfilled.

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?

I think we need to work with our community college and local school district to create a pipeline to the available high wage jobs in our region. I also think we need to partner with our local universities, especially SDSU, to provide scholarships and other financial incentives to our youth.

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

The City is currently in the process of implementing a 311 system with the capabilities of translating services that will allow all residents to make service requests to the City. I also think we need to ensure that we hire a diverse workforce that matches our diverse community with the ability to communicate with our diverse population.

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?

We need to provide more funding and an expedited permitting processes to build affordable housing. I also think we need to ensure that city property that is available should be given strong consideration as future 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?

I think we need a robust Citizens Review Board, more officer training, more transparency on releasing Police body camera footage, and more community policing programs. I also think we should help our officers live in the communities that they serve. We should also hire more officers from the communities they represent.

What is your stance on the Black Lives Matter Movement?

I believe in the guiding principles of 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?

From what I read and heard, I support the SD33 and believe that Prop 21 should be put before the voters and amended.

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 

Any Additional Comments?

Thank you for the opportunity for allowing me to share my thoughts on such important issues. I feel strongly that that my background and efforts not only to promote but achieve racial justice make me a strong candidate to receive your endorsement.