Brent E. Beltrán

Thumbnail image for New Chicano Park Muralists Are Honored to Paint in the Park

New Chicano Park Muralists Are Honored to Paint in the Park

by Brent E. Beltrán 04.16.2014 Arts

44th annual Chicano Park Day Celebration this Saturday

By Brent E. Beltrán

The Chicano Park Steering Committee and thousands of their friends will be celebrating the 44th anniversary of the takeover of Chicano Park this Saturday in San Diego’s Barrio Logan. The theme of the celebration is “La Tierra Es De Quien La Trabaja: The Land Belongs To Those Who Work It.” 

Last year I wrote:

“On April 22, 1970 a rag tag group of artists, activists, and community members joined forces and took over the land underneath the San Diego-Coronado Bridge in Barrio Logan. At the time, construction was about to begin on the building of a California Highway Patrol substation. For many years, residents of Barrio Logan had been promised a park. Seeing the pending creation of a CHP substation was the straw that broke this barrio’s back.”

Every year the community of Barrio Logan, as well as Chicanas and Chicanos from all over, and our friends and allies, all come together to celebrate the takeover of the area underneath the San Diego-Coronado Bridge.

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Thumbnail image for Barrio Logan Commemorates Mexican Revolutionary Leader and Defends Right to a Clean and Healthy Neighborhood

Barrio Logan Commemorates Mexican Revolutionary Leader and Defends Right to a Clean and Healthy Neighborhood

by Brent E. Beltrán 04.13.2014 Activism

Hundreds rally and march in opposition to maritime industry pollution

By Brent E. Beltrán

The Mexican community of San Diego and their supporters came together on Saturday in Barrio Logan’s Chicano Park to commemorate the 95th anniversary of the assassination of Mexican revolutionary leader Emiliano Zapata and to rally and march in opposition to maritime industry’s continued poisoning of this proud and defiant neighborhood.

The 10th annual Zapata March was organized by Mexican and Chicano activist groups Unión del Barrio, M.E.Ch.A. and Colectivo Zapatista with support from other radical organizations. The action was organized under the theme of “The Solution to Pollution is Revolution.”

Organizers “felt it was important to draw attention to the racist attempt by powerful ship building companies to overturn the Barrio Logan Community Plan and keep polluting our neighborhoods as they have done for decades.”

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Thumbnail image for Barrio Logan: Arts and Culture

Barrio Logan: Arts and Culture

by Brent E. Beltrán 04.13.2014 Arts

Film by Media Arts Center’s Teen Producers Project
Intro by Brent E. Beltrán

With the ballot battle looming over the future of Barrio Logan, due to Maritime Industry’s refusal to accept the Barrio Logan Community Plan update, I feel it is necessary to give voters of the city of San Diego a little history of Barrio Logan and highlight the issues residents face. In June, eligible San Diego voters will go to the polls to vote on whether to approve the community plan or reject it.

Over the next few weeks I will post a video on Sundays that highlights the community of Barrio Logan and the beauty within San Diego’s most historic barrio.

This week’s video, Barrio Logan: Arts and Culture, is about how arts and culture are an integral part of Barrio Logan’s identity.

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Thumbnail image for Video: Barrio Logan College Institute

Video: Barrio Logan College Institute

by Brent E. Beltrán 04.06.2014 Battle for Barrio Logan

Film by Barrio Logan College Institute
Intro by Brent E. Beltrán

With the ballot battle looming over the future of Barrio Logan, due to Maritime Industry’s refusal to accept the Barrio Logan Community Plan update, I feel it is necessary to give voters of the city of San Diego a little history of Barrio Logan and highlight the issues residents face. In June, eligible San Diego voters will go to the polls to vote on whether to approve the community plan or reject it.

Over the next few weeks I will post a video on Sundays that highlights the community of Barrio Logan and the beauty within San Diego’s most historic barrio.

This week’s video is on the Barrio Logan College Institute, an  important, educational non-profit organization that helps barrio kids, most the first in their family, go to college.

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Thumbnail image for El Padre del Barrio: Father Brown

El Padre del Barrio: Father Brown

by Brent E. Beltrán 03.30.2014 Battle for Barrio Logan

Film by Media Arts Center’s Teen Producers Project.
Intro by Brent E. Beltrán

With the ballot battle looming over the future of Barrio Logan, due to Maritime Industry’s refusal to accept the Barrio Logan Community Plan update, I feel it is necessary to give voters of the city of San Diego a little history of Barrio Logan and highlight the issues residents face. In June, eligible San Diego voters will go to the polls to vote on whether to approve the community plan or reject it.

Over the next few weeks I will post a video on Sundays that highlights the community of Barrio Logan and the beauty within San Diego’s most historic barrio.

This week’s video is El Padre del Barrio, a short documentary on Father Brown and his dedication to Barrio Logan and its residents.

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Thumbnail image for Love Transcends Borders and Legal Status

Love Transcends Borders and Legal Status

by Brent E. Beltrán 03.26.2014 Desde la Logan

Shameful immigration policies separate loved ones

By Brent E. Beltrán

Love doesn’t recognize borders. It doesn’t know if the person you love has papers or if they have done time for youthful indiscretions. None of that matters to love because love transcends all. My cousin Alma, who grew up on 29th St. near K St. in Grant Hill, knows about this kind of love. She and her children live it every day.

My cousin fell in love with, and eventually married, her husband Juan. Him not having legal status to live in the US didn’t bother her whatsoever. She was in love and her heart didn’t care if the man she wanted to be with was allowed to be in this country legally or not.

Alma met Juan in Tijuana in 1997. They must’ve hit it off pretty good because within a few months she was pregnant with their first child. At the time Juan used a temporary crossing card that he had had since he was eleven years old to cross the border. But when he used it he was breaking the law because he had been previously deported after being convicted of burglary.

Juan used to be in a gang. He lived the typical, poor, working class barrio lifestyle and all of the negatives that comes with that. Joining a gang helped him cope. Readers can judge all they want but if you don’t live this reality you will never understand the pressures of joining a gang and the hardships of living in the barrio.

After being convicted he served about two years between 1995-1997. Upon release he was deported. The same year he was released he met my cousin and his life changed. Love has a way of changing people. And for Juan it was for the better. When he found out they were pregnant he knew he could never be the person that he was.

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Thumbnail image for Chicano Park Documentary by Redbird Films

Chicano Park Documentary by Redbird Films

by Brent E. Beltrán 03.23.2014 Arts

Video by Redbird Films
Intro by Brent E. Beltrán

With the ballot battle looming over the future of Barrio Logan, due to Maritime Industry’s refusal to accept the Barrio Logan Community Plan update, I feel it is necessary to give voters of the city of San Diego a little history of Barrio Logan and highlight the issues residents face. In June, eligible San Diego voters will go to the polls to vote on wether to approve the community plan or reject it.

Over the next few weeks I will post a video on Sundays that highlights the community of Barrio Logan and the beauty within San Diego’s most historic barrio.

This week’s video is the classic Chicano Park documentary produced in 1989 by Redbird Films. The film, narrated by veteran actor Tony Plana, depicts the founding and history of this world famous historical site.

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Thumbnail image for Mesa College Chicana/o Studies to Dedicate Gracia Molina de Pick Glass Gallery

Mesa College Chicana/o Studies to Dedicate Gracia Molina de Pick Glass Gallery

by Brent E. Beltrán 03.16.2014 Desde la Logan

Third Annual Feminist Lecture Series to Follow

By Brent E. Beltrán

On Thursday, March 20 the Mesa College Chicana/o Studies Department will unveil and dedicate the Gracia Molina de Pick Glass Gallery and present their third annual Gracia Molina de Pick Feminist Lecture Series. The glass gallery and lecture series are named after the co-founder of Mesa’s Chicana/o Studies Department.

In 2013 Mrs. Molina de Pick donated $80,000 to Mesa to create the Gracia Molina de Pick Endowment Fund in support of advancing the campus’ Chicana/o Studies Department. Since then the department has created the lecture series in her honor and will now dedicate the glass gallery in the G-Building Rotunda in her name.

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Thumbnail image for Overcoming Environmental Discrimination in San Diego’s Barrio Logan

Overcoming Environmental Discrimination in San Diego’s Barrio Logan

by Brent E. Beltrán 03.16.2014 Battle for Barrio Logan

Video by Journey to Planet Earth
Intro by Brent E. Beltrán

With the battle looming over the future of Barrio Logan, due to Maritime Industry’s refusal to accept the Barrio Logan Community Plan update, I feel it is necessary to give voters of the city of San Diego a little history of Barrio Logan and highlight the issues residents face. In June, eligible San Diego voters will go to the polls to vote on wether to approve the community plan or reject it.

Over the next few weeks I will post a video on Sundays that highlights the community of Barrio Logan and the beauty within San Diego’s most historic barrio.

This week’s video, Future Conditional: Overcoming Environmental Discrimination in San Diego’s Barrio Logan, is narrated by actor Matt Damon and documents the challenges Barrio Logan residents face when trying to overcome environmental discrimination in their community.

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Thumbnail image for I Didn’t Beware the Ides of March (and I’m Grateful)

I Didn’t Beware the Ides of March (and I’m Grateful)

by Brent E. Beltrán 03.15.2014 Desde la Logan

Desde la Logan columnist reflects back on an incident 25 years ago.

By Brent E. Beltrán

Twenty-five years ago today my existence changed forever. My physical self was torn asunder whereas my socially conscience self was just beginning on the journey that I am still on. That fateful day in 1989, the ides of March that the Soothsayer warned Julius Caesar about, was the start of my new life. A life that eventually lead me to Barrio Logan and the San Diego Free Press.

In 1989 I was an eighteen year old recent graduate of Clairemont High School. At the time I was attending my second semester at Mesa College and had been working at Vons (now Keil’s) at the Clairemont Village shopping center since I turned sixteen.

I was a typical aimless youth of the era. I worked and went to school but had no real sense of what I wanted to do with my life (who really does at 18?). I was a good worker and I assumed that I would eventually work my way up the ranks of Vons.

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Thumbnail image for Staying in the Barrio – Affordable Housing in Barrio Logan

Staying in the Barrio – Affordable Housing in Barrio Logan

by Brent E. Beltrán 03.09.2014 Battle for Barrio Logan

Video by Media Arts Center San Diego’s Teen Producer’s Project
Intro by Brent E. Beltrán

With the battle looming over the future of Barrio Logan, due to Maritime Industry’s refusal to accept the Barrio Logan Community Plan update, I feel it is necessary to give voters of the city of San Diego a little history of Barrio Logan and highlight the issues residents face. In June, eligible San Diego voters will go to the polls to vote on wether to approve the community plan or reject it.

Over the next few weeks I will post a video on Sundays that highlights the community of Barrio Logan and the beauty within San Diego’s most historic barrio.

This week’s video, Staying in the Barrio – Affordable Housing in Barrio Logan, documents the challenges of attaining affordable housing in Barrio Logan as downtown slowly creeps closer. Comm22, the affordable housing complex discussed in this video, is in full building mode and will soon bring quality apartments, low income apartments to the Greater Logan area.

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Thumbnail image for With Our Words We Celebrate the Voz Alta Project Gallery

With Our Words We Celebrate the Voz Alta Project Gallery

by Brent E. Beltrán 03.02.2014 Arts

Art space that helped start the Barrio Logan Arts District closes

By Brent E. Beltrán

This past Thursday night the Voz Alta Project Gallery in Barrio Logan closed its doors as a physical space. Though curator Carlos Beltrán (no relation to the author) will keep Voz Alta going through collaborations with other spaces the physical space that was Voz Alta is no more.

Due to a variety of reasons Carlos chose to close the space that helped start the revitalization of the arts in Barrio Logan. If Chicano Park is the grandfather of Chicano art and culture in San Diego then Voz Alta is the child that became the big daddy to most of the recent spaces that have opened up over the last four years. Places like The Roots Factory, The Spot, Stronghold, Chicano Art Gallery, La Bodega and The Nest all owe their existence to Voz Alta and those that made Voz Alta possible.

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Thumbnail image for To Reach My Goals – Education in Barrio Logan

To Reach My Goals – Education in Barrio Logan

by Brent E. Beltrán 03.02.2014 Desde la Logan

Video by Media Arts Center San Diego’s Teen Producer’s Project
Intro by Brent E. Beltrán

With the battle looming over the future of Barrio Logan, due to Maritime Industry’s refusal to accept the Barrio Logan Community Plan update, I feel it is necessary to give voters of the city of San Diego a little history of Barrio Logan and highlight the issues residents face. In June, eligible San Diego voters will go to the polls to vote on wether to approve the community plan or reject it.

This week’s video, To Reach My Goals – Education in Barrio Logan, documents the challenges barrio youth have in school and highlights the Barrio Logan College Institute and their work to get neighborhood kids into college.

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Thumbnail image for What Did David Alvarez’ Campaign Mean to San Diego?

What Did David Alvarez’ Campaign Mean to San Diego?

by Brent E. Beltrán 02.24.2014 Desde la Logan

Supporters speak about what it meant to them

By Brent E. Beltrán

This past Sunday my family and I attended a thank you celebration hosted by David Alvarez’ campaign at Cesar Chavez Park in Barrio Logan. Over 150 supporters and volunteers turned out to not only get a thank you from Mr. Alvarez but to also thank him for running on a progressive platform.

In attendance were many luminaries on San Diego’s political left, from Democratic Party politicians to labor leaders to local barrio denizens who have engaged in a variety of community battles over the years. Some of who had fought for over a decade for the very park they were standing in.

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Thumbnail image for Remembering Our Past – History of Barrio Logan

Remembering Our Past – History of Barrio Logan

by Brent E. Beltrán 02.23.2014 Battle for Barrio Logan

Video by Media Arts Center San Diego’s Teen Producer’s Project
Intro by Brent E. Beltrán

With the battle looming over the future of Barrio Logan, due to Maritime Industry’s refusal to accept the Barrio Logan Community Plan update, I feel it is necessary to give voters of the city of San Diego a little history of Barrio Logan. In June eligible San Diego voters will go to the polls to vote on wether to approve the community plan or reject it.

Over the next few weeks I will post a video on Sundays that highlights the community of Barrio Logan and the beauty within San Diego’s most historic barrio.

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Thumbnail image for Community Radio Coming Soon to the Greater Logan Heights Area

Community Radio Coming Soon to the Greater Logan Heights Area

by Brent E. Beltrán 02.09.2014 Arts

Radio Pulso del Barrio will focus on arts and education

By Brent E. Beltrán

For the past few months there have been meetings at various locations throughout the Greater Logan Heights area to implement a public art project called Open Spaces. Open Spaces is a two-year public art initiative that is funded by the James Irvine Foundation through the San Diego Museum of Art to create a community based art project.

This is the second Open Spaces project in San Diego. The first is ongoing in Lincoln Park.

“Open Spaces goes out into communities and allows community members and residents to be the decision makers on what public art should look like in their area. And that would be content, medium and location,” says project coordinator Irma Patricia Aguayo Esquivias.  “Coming into these communities we never know what it is going to be. We have no idea until we are actually participating in the community meetings then people start to voice what they’d like to see.”

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Thumbnail image for President Obama Endorses David Alvarez for Mayor

President Obama Endorses David Alvarez for Mayor

by Brent E. Beltrán 02.08.2014 Faulconer vs Alvarez

“[T]here is no question that David is the right choice to be San Diego’s next mayor…”

By Brent E. Beltrán

In what may turn out to be the closest race in San Diego mayoral history David Alvarez on Saturday got a big bump by receiving the endorsement from none other than the President of the United States himself, Barrack Obama.

In a statement released by the Alvarez campaign President Obama said, “As a native San Diegan, David Alvarez has been a fierce advocate for his city, and on the Council, has led efforts to build a strong middle class, put neighborhoods first and expand opportunities for kids in and out of school.  Today, with the city’s economy and neighborhoods poised to make progress there is no question that David is the right choice to be San Diego’s next mayor and I am excited to support him.”

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Thumbnail image for Chicano Park is One of San Diego’s Best, Unofficial Skate Parks

Chicano Park is One of San Diego’s Best, Unofficial Skate Parks

by Brent E. Beltrán 02.02.2014 Columns

Skaters from all over come to Barrio Logan to battle for tricks

By Brent E. Beltrán

Everyday from my apartment in Barrio Logan I can hear the clack clacking of skateboards slamming on concrete. It’s a cacophony of sound that blends in with the ubiquitous noise of industry and barrio life.

Some community members may not appreciate seeing skaters riding and doing tricks with what seems like reckless abandon amongst the murals of Chicano Park. I’m not one of them.

To me, Chicano Park is a space for all. Be it the homeless that need a place to kick it during the day, children that enjoy using the playground facilities, families on a weekend picnic, activists pushing for social justice and skaters doing rail slides on massive planters that surround the San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge pillars across from Northgate Market.

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Thumbnail image for La Bodega Grand Opening Celebration a Big Hit

La Bodega Grand Opening Celebration a Big Hit

by Brent E. Beltrán 01.19.2014 Arts

Barrio Logan’s newest art space launches to large, art hungry crowd

By Brent E. Beltrán

La Bodega Gallery and Creative Studios held their grand opening celebration on Saturday night to a massive, art-loving audience. Hundreds of people from throughout San Diego made their way to Barrio Logan for the inaugural event.

“It’s great to see all the people come out and support,” says La Bodega’s Milo Lorenzana. “Everyone is excited.”

La Bodega, the creation of Milo, Chris Zertuche, Max Bojorquez and Bucky Montero, is located on the corner of Logan Ave. and Sampson St. In addition to housing a gallery it also hosts artistic studios from area artists and designers including The Spot, DJ V-Rock, Dos Caras Swimwear, San Diego Taco Company, Border X Brewing, Waist Knot Want Not, Spencer Little, Valor Fight Club and others. About eighteen artists studios will eventually be housed inside La Bodega.

Milo says that “we still have a lot of work to do.” The renovations to the building are about 60% done but enough work has taken place that the Bodega crew felt comfortable holding a grand opening.

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Thumbnail image for Barrio Logan Gateway Sign Project Breaks Ground

Barrio Logan Gateway Sign Project Breaks Ground

by Brent E. Beltrán 01.16.2014 Arts

“This design is of the community, by the community, and for the community.”

By Brent E. Beltrán

Barrio Logan, San Diego’s most historic Mexican neighborhood, is getting what most other local communities have: a gateway sign. This soon-to-be community landmark will span Cesar E. Chavez Parkway between Main St. and Newton Ave.

The Port of San Diego, in partnership with SANDAG, Caltrans and the City of San Diego, is the sponsor of the $1.7 million Proposition 1B funded Barrio Logan Gateway Sign and Port Access Improvements project.

In addition to the iconic sign this project includes crosswalk enhancements, lane adjustments and beautification improvements in the Barrio Logan area near the Tenth Avenue Terminal.

A ceremonial groundbreaking took place on Monday, January 13 with presentations by Bob Nelson, Incoming Chair of the Board of Port Commissioners, City Councilman David Alvarez, SANDAG Chairman Jack Dale, Caltrans Deputy District Director of Planning Bill Figge, and artist Armando Nuñez.

“This gateway design honors the legacy of Chicano Park and is an appropriate statement from and for the community,” said Bob Nelson.

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Improvements Coming to Chicano Park

by Brent E. Beltrán 01.12.2014 Columns

Community meets to discuss ways to implement $1.08 million grant

By Brent E. Beltrán

On January 8 members of the greater Chicano Park community met at the Cesar Chavez Continuing Education Center in Barrio Logan to discuss ways to spend a $1.08 million state grant to improve Chicano Park. Around fifty people met in a workshop conducted by Robert Chavez of Urban Corps San Diego. Urban Corps will be in charge of making sure grant regulations are followed as well as do the actual agreed upon improvements.

“The purpose behind the workshop is to really get a whole bunch of new ideas and get a sense of the visioning that a lot of these community residents have for Chicano Park for now and into the future,” said Chavez.

“What we’re really trying to get a sense of is what is the ultimate vision for the park for the folks in this community? We’ll prioritize and see what we can pay for out of that $1.08 million but then down the road we’d also like to refer back to whatever plan we come up with after this planning process and figure out what other resources are available to implement the entire vision.”

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Thumbnail image for Organizations Commemorate 20th Anniversary of Zapatista Uprising

Organizations Commemorate 20th Anniversary of Zapatista Uprising

by Brent E. Beltrán 01.05.2014 Activism

Enero Zapatista Committee Organizes Month Long Series of Events

By Brent E. Beltrán

Twenty years ago on January 1 an unknown, rag tag rebel group walked out of the fog and rain forest of Chiapas, Mexico and into the imaginations of millions of Mexicans, indigenous people and lefties throughout the world.

On that fateful day, from below and to the left, the Ejercito Zapatista de Liberación Nacional (EZLN/Zapatista Army of National Liberation) made their first of many appearances upon the world stage.

Named after the great Mexican revolutionary leader Emiliano Zapata the Zapatistas demanded work, land, shelter, food, health, education, independence, freedom, democracy, justice and peace not just for themselves but all Mexicans and oppressed people throughout the world.

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Thumbnail image for Using Creativity in the Battle for Barrio Logan

Using Creativity in the Battle for Barrio Logan

by Brent E. Beltrán 12.29.2013 Activism

Maritime Industry Has Money, We Have Our Imaginations

By Brent E. Beltrán

How does one fight what is possibly the largest industry in San Diego, an industry that has millions of dollars at its disposal? We use our creativity!

Barrio Logan is a laboratory of creative, artistic thinkers. Movements have sprung forth from its streets, homes, alleys and parks. With that kind of history it is no wonder that artists have decided to take on the behemoth that is Maritime Industry and their surrogates.

The first of many artistic projects has already begun. You won’t find this one in a gallery or on a pillar at Chicano Park. This project is only visible on the internet.

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Thumbnail image for The Narrative Shifts in the Battle for Barrio Logan

The Narrative Shifts in the Battle for Barrio Logan

by Brent E. Beltrán 12.17.2013 Activism

Alvarez comes on strong, shipyard labor calls out maritime lies and affordable housing advocates join the fray

By Brent E. Beltrán

On an unseasonably warm winter’s day in the heavily polluted community of Barrio Logan a shift in Maritime Industry’s false jobs narrative occurred.

At the home of Barrio Logan resident Hector Villegas (the same home that Councilman David Alvarez grew up in and caught asthma) the Environmental Health Coalition, under the leadership of Georgette Gomez, organized a press conference featuring Alvarez, Villegas, union leader Bobby Godiñez and affordable housing advocate Susan Riggs, executive director of the San Diego Housing Federation.

Before the assembled media hordes David Alvarez called out, in no uncertain terms, Maritime Industry lies and deception [see full text of his presentation below]. In his strongest opposition to the referendum yet he emphatically stated, “out-of-state billionaires launched and funded a referendum process to scare voters and overturn the democratically created and approved plan. It is truly regrettable that their paid petition gatherers have spread outright lies to fool voters into signing the referendum petition, threatening the City Council’s effort to create jobs and a healthy community for children.”

He went on to say, “The most egregious lie told by signature gatherers is also the easiest to disprove: it is categorically false that all maritime business must leave under the plan, all existing businesses can stay and expand up to 20 percent.”

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Thumbnail image for The Race for Mayor a Dead Heat

The Race for Mayor a Dead Heat

by Brent E. Beltrán 12.08.2013 Desde la Logan

New Poll has Alvarez at 46% only 1% behind Faulconer

By Brent E. Beltrán

The race for mayor has gotten a lot closer as a new 10 News/San Diego Union Tribune poll has big business friendly Republican candidate, and maritime industry minion, Kevin Faulconer at 47% with surging District 8 councilman David Alvarez coming in at 46% with 7% undecided.

The poll, conducted by SurveyUSA, has a margin of error of +/- 4.4% making this race a statistical dead heat. See full poll data here.

The question that the pollsters asked was: If the runoff election for San Diego mayor were today, who would you vote for? Kevin Faulconer? Or David Alvarez?

Though polls funded by 10 News and the SDUT have historically been inaccurate in favor of Republicans (see last year’s mayor’s race when they had Carl DeMaio up by 5% over Bob Filner) it is very interesting to see a poll by them that actually shows positive numbers for the Democratic candidate.

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