Community members have complained for decades about San Ysidro's infrastructure. Old and inadequate streets and the absence of sidewalks and pedestrian pathways were mentioned in the community plan when it was revised in 1990. Since taking office in early December, Councilman Alvarez says most of the calls he’s received from San Ysidro residents have concerned infrastructure.
“This is supposed to be the international gateway— America’s front door —but look around at the sidewalks and the streets,” he says. “No one really feels like it’s a gateway. How could they?”
Between appointments with constituents, Alvarez walks west from the community service center along Camino de la Plaza, heading for Las Americas outlet mall, on the other side of I-5. As we cross the bridge over the freeway, we can see construction crews working on the new footbridge at the pedestrian port of entry. On the south side of Camino de la Plaza, the sidewalks between the border crossing and the outlet mall are new. Alvarez points to the north side of the street, where a section of sidewalk is missing.
As he looks at the dirt, Alvarez says he can understand why some residents accuse the City of favoring the more affluent neighborhoods. “There is some truth to that,” he says, “but it’s also true that many of those wealthier areas are newer than San Ysidro. This is an old neighborhood.”
The councilmember thinks that part of the problem is geography. Annexed to the city in 1957, San Ysidro and its neighboring South San Diego communities are nearly 20 miles south of downtown, separated from the rest of San Diego by Chula Vista and National City.
Now as voters prepare to elect Mr. Filner’s successor on Tuesday, the city is engaged in a fierce ideological battle: Will it elect David Alvarez, a Democrat and first-term city councilor who is championing a minimum-wage increase, or Kevin Faulconer, a Republican councilor who argues that the city must keep pensions down and attract new businesses?Read More
To make matters worse, the city council on Monday voted 5-2 to kill Councilmember David Alvarez’s hotel tax measure (an increase of 1 percent) where the money would have gone directly to homeless programs. The measure was seen as a longshot to make the ballot since the mayor’s convention center bill had already been approved for the ballot, but it stings nonetheless.Read More
The city of San Diego is creating the county’s first donation program to help low-income people pay their water and sewer bills, which have risen rapidly in recent years. “I’m so pleased that this program that I have strongly advocated for over the last few years will finally be made available to the public,” Councilman David Alvarez said.Read More