The District Three City Council race: It’s about results, not orientationAround the City, Commentary Thursday, April 30th, 2015
In the race for the Third District seat on the San Diego City Council, there has been an outpouring of pervasive dialogue insinuating that the District Three Councilmember must be from the LGBT community. This insinuation has even gone so far as to suggest that every seat on the San Diego City Council is reserved for a person of a particular origin or background. While there is no denying that all of the City Councilmembers are representatives of their communities, it is reprehensible to believe that any of the seats on the City Council are pigeonholed to any one identity or ethnic background.
For decades, I have been and continue to be a proud member of the LGBT community here in San Diego. No matter the circumstances, we have stood up as a united front and made our needs and demands for equality (and otherwise) clear. But, what is truly discouraging is that after years of fighting for equality and equal opportunities for underserved populations and the LGBT community, we would dare seek to dismiss a candidate that does not share our lifestyle.
If a Latin man or woman living in Council District Four wants to run for City Council, he or she should be empowered to do so and not immediately dismissed because he or she is not African American. In the same light, the representative for Council District One should not be expected to be Caucasian and affluent.
In Council District Nine, the City Heights neighborhood is home to a large population of African and Middle Eastern residents. Yet, their current, democratically elected City Councilmember is Marti Emerald. For the record, she is not of African or Middle Eastern descent. However, she is still a progressive leader that effectively represents her constituents and their interests and has even been re-elected.
What we must fundamentally recognize is that the voters of San Diego have elected and entrusted leaders at local, state and national levels to represent their interests. Some have been straight. Some have been LGBT. Nevertheless, those leaders have advocated for and advanced the LGBT agenda because it’s what we want. So, to say that a straight person could not effectively represent the LGBT community is abhorrently false and it undermines the careers of elected officials such as Congresswoman Susan Davis and California Gov. Jerry Brown.
The bottom line is this: the race for the Third District seat should not be based on someone’s sexual orientation, which, to date, it seems undoubtedly about. What this race is about is who has both the qualifications and experience necessary to effectively represent and get things done for the residents of District Three. That person is Anthony Bernal.
We cannot ignore that, for more than six years, Anthony has served as the director of community and business projects on Todd Gloria’s staff. Every day, he is helping the residents of the Third District receive City services – an accolade that his opponent cannot receive. Further, Anthony has worked alongside outgoing Councilmember Todd Gloria to represent and advocate for the LGBT interest. Understand, however, that Anthony did this not because it was his job to do so, but because he believes in us and our movement. So, to disregard the skill set and accomplishments that Anthony has accumulated is a substantial oversight.
In June 2016, I strongly urge my LGBT brothers, sisters and siblings to not be fearful of electing a straight man to office. Rather, we should come together to support the person who has and will continue to deliver results for our community, Anthony Bernal.
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