It’s been my honor to serve as your National City Councilman and work alongside you to improve our city for nearly two years.
I am a lifelong resident of the South Bay. I am a family man and a homeowner here. My wife and I are raising our two little girls here. I could want nothing more than to improve the air they breathe, the streets they play on and the lives of our friends and neighbors here in 91950.
I graduated from Sweetwater High School in 1999. Here in National City I gained the leadership skills, experiences and lifelong friends that reside in National City today.
At Southwestern College I earned an Associates in Psychology in 2002. I completed a Bachelors and Masters in Public Administration at SDSU. In 2011 I earned my Doctorate in Education.
Working in the public, private and non profit sectors, I have much to bring to the table. During this pandemic, my real world public, private and non profit experience has served the National City government.
I am a uniter, not a divider. We have all had enough of this us versus them. I have an ability to work well with others and get others to do the same.
I feel that now, more than ever, is the time to have a council person with the education, professional accomplishments and experience working within city government. Now is not the time for our on the job training. We shouldn’t think survival. We should think adapting. Thriving.
I know why I am running, what I can’t clearly formulate is why anyone else is. This is a political race in an era unlike anything anyone running for election has survived. I didn’t campaign at all for many months because it felt like a sin. We were all in the fight of our lives, what importance does a campaign have? The answer is clear. The election. Our leadership going forward matters. I don’t want a theoretical leader moving my city forward. I want to move our city forward. I never stopped. Why stop now?
Upbringing and Early Education
Serving the community and working for social justice runs in my family. My father was a founding member of Chicano Park. He was part of the takeover, a Brown Beret and Chair of Jose Gomez Brigade. Not only was he a member of The Chicano Park Steering Committee, he served as president. He was a Chicano studying Business Administration at SDSU. Born and raised a farmer in El Centro, he moved to the South Bay and made a big impact on our community. My father helped me understand the power of community advocacy and education.
My love and passion for community advocacy was actualized as a Red Devil at Sweetwater High. I graduated in 1999 as the class Treasurer. I was President of the Science Club and Letterman 1998 Metro League Champion in Track and Field. I also served as a United States Marine Corp Junior ROTC Cadet Captain Company Commander. Here in National City I gained the leadership skills, experiences and lifelong friends that reside in National City today.
At SDSU, I was a Resident Advisor. As an RA I was a student leader, I cared about my community and wanted to make an impact. The job involved managing an entire floor of a dorm building that housed 60-80 students. It required creating a safe environment for people of all identities.
As a Resident Advisor you have to have a sense of humility. Diversity and inclusion must be valued in the community. You have to be able to adapt to any and every situation. You have to be honest, have integrity and value teamwork. The skills I learned through that experience are essential and serve me in my position today as a City Councilman.
Experience Working in Public Education
For 6 years, I served as an administrator at Southwestern College. Helping reduce education disparities, I promoted educational justice here in National City by organizing a nationally recognized and federally funded multi-million dollar program, GEAR UP. This program was designed to help mentor Sweetwater Union High School students. To help them learn about and achieve a pathway to college.
In addition to serving National City, I worked as a founding advisor and instructor at SDSU’s College of Extended Studies, helping train our workforce and providing skills necessary for a living wage.
Experience Working in Non-Profits
While earning my Bachelors, I worked with the non profit Bilateral Safety Corridor Coalition. Based here in National City, the purpose of The BSCC is to prevent and intervene in the exploitation of women and children; to prevent human trafficking. I worked to develop program reviews and audits to determine the effectiveness of services, and to make sure that state, federal and private funds were efficiently used.
During my tenure on the governing board of Circulate San Diego, we successfully completed a variety of tasks that focused on transportation justice. We worked with National City as a community partner to create planning and engagement programs; including Safe Routes to School projects, workshops, civic engagement activities, pedestrian safety training and the development of transportation planning documents.
Experience Working in the Private Sector
In the private sector, I have worked as a general manager of a family owned restaurant that employs over 100 people throughout the South Bay. I also own and operate a small restaurant in the community. We did not shudder our doors during the lockdown. I never shuttered our family businesses, even at the height of lockdown. We were not thinking survival, we thought adapting. As a restaurant we utilized our supply chain to help our community find eggs, yeast, rice and other staples not readily available in the grocery store. We started delivering our food and providing contactless curbside pickup to ensure safety of our staff and community. It was not for legacy, not for glory, but to feed our friends and neighbors. To provide services and to keep many people gainfully employed.
Practical Application of Skills in City Council
During this pandemic, my real world public, private and non profit experience helped the National City government create the tools to quickly get state and federal funds to where they belong. Not to large corporations, but to small businesses. To help our friends and neighbors not only survive, but thrive here in National City.
My experiences and expertise in the private sector were utilized with the development and promotion of the AROW program, which allows businesses to use sidewalks and different public right of ways. This way, a business can function with safety precautions during these times of COVID. Because my business is located in Chula Vista, I was able to help. I didn’t have to recuse myself out of concern of conflicting interests.
Supporting community health, I was a part of helping launch the T3 program in National City. It provides free COVID Testing, Tracing and Treatment. While serving on the City Council, we worked for safe neighborhoods. We called on the police chief to review their policies in regards to excessive use of force, in particular the use of the Carotid restraint. Ultimately, it is no longer in use by our Police Department. They also adopted the policies of the 8 Can’t Wait program, aimed to reduce police shootings and excessive force. As Councilman I took part in the process of updating the National City General plan, taking a holistic approach in achieving housing and transportation justice in partnership with updating our Climate Action Plan.
I feel that now, more than ever, is the time to have a council person with the education, professional accomplishments and experience working within city government. Now is not the time for on the job training.