Councilman David Alvarez Talks Homelessness, Housing and His Future

San Diego City Councilman David Alvarez was elected to serve City Council District 8 in 2010.

Since then he’s served on a number of committees and ran for mayor in 2013.

Alvarez announced recently that he intends to run for the San Diego County Board of Supervisors representing District 1 in 2020 when Greg Cox is termed out.

Alvarez also made headlines recently when he announced he would become active in the San Diego Community College district. He will run for a board spot in the time he terms out of the City Council in 2018 and runs for the County Board of Supervisors.

IVN San Diego spoke with Councilman Alvarez about a number of serious issues facing the City of San Diego including Homelessness, Affordable Housing, leadership concerns at City Hall and the County and what he would like to see done with the Qualcomm site.

Here’s a link if you’d like to listen to the interview: San Diego City Councilman David Alvarez Talks Homelessness, Housing and His Future

RUNNING FOR COMMUNITY COLLEGE DISTRICT 

On why he is running for a board position with the Community College District before he turns his attention to the County Board of Supervisors in 2020.

“Now with the state law changes, the first year of community college is free for students. There’s a program called the San Diego Promise… and I think we have a great opportunity to make the first two years of college free for students here in San Diego and that’s what I’m looking forward to.”

HOMELESSNESS CONCERNS

At least 20 people have died and more than 500 cases of Hepatitis A have been reported in 2017 as the Homelessness crisis has reached a tipping point in San Diego. I asked councilman Alvarez about how did we get here and who is to blame.

“There was a lot of lack of leadership. Particularly, certainly with the Mayor (Kevin Faulconer) here in San Diego, certainly the County Board of Supervisors both had parts to do with what’s happened.”

“I’ve been calling now for several years to use our vacant city facilities that we own, like the old downtown library, where you can house individuals, unfortunately the downtown special interests really blocked that.”

“This is being set up for a hotel tax increase by the hoteliers and the mayor. They’re going to push for that, they’re going to say they’re in these tents and come forward with a tax increase to benefit their hotel businesses and throw in a few pennies to help the homeless.”

AFFORDABLE HOUSING

San Diego is an expensive place to live, that’s no secret. Councilman Alvarez talks about making San Diego housing more affordable.

“In order to get ourselves out of this we need more units. That’s the bottom line. I want to make it clear to everyone it’s not because there’s more people coming to San Diego at a disproportionate number, this is coming from growth within our own community. San Diego needs more housing due to our families growing, and for them to have a place to call home in San Diego we have to make more units available.”

Alvarez says the City Council is working in a bi-partisan effort, particularly himself and City Councilman Scott Sherman, to come up with immediate solutions to solve the crisis. Alvarez says in working with Sherman and the Housing Commission, about 180,000 units are needed over the next 10 years to adequately keep families together in San Diego.

“The County of San Diego unfortunately has a very antiquated way of thinking. Whether it’s affordable housing, the hepatitis A homeless crisis, food stamps, the things people need in our community, the county hasn’t shown a ton of leadership.”

MISSION VALLEY

Next November, voters will have a decision to make as it relates to the Qualcomm stadium site. I asked Councilman Alvarez if he had given any consideration to the FS Investors Soccer City plan or the SDSU West plan.

“I’m really hopeful for the SDSU proposal. I have yet to sit with officials for the SDSU West project.  Obviously the Soccer City folks reached out had a bunch of lobbyists that came around and we heard a lot about their project.”

“I do believe that San Diegans value education, we value our university institutions for the economic benefit that they bring obviously.”

“I was not a fan of what Soccer City is trying to do. Not actually required to build a river park, that was a big misconception and misleading. Not having to do some of the mitigation for traffic, that was all concerning to me. But, I have to see what the SDSU proposal does in regards to that and I’ll judge from there.”