San Diego teens host mayoral candidate forum

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SAN DIEGO — Candidates for the mayor of San Diego sounded off Wednesday evening about issues affecting the city, but this time it was teens in the community who asked all the important questions.

Questions came from students of high schools throughout the city and centered around key issues for its youth, including improving community connection and diversity in city government.

“I’m going to bring in people who haven’t been at the table, who haven’t had a voice and who need to be heard if we’re going to have a city that’s going to work for all of us,” said Pro-Tem Barbara Bry.

“If I am your mayor, I’m going to be looking long and hard at moving the people who have been there for years and years and years bringing up the workforce from within city government,” said candidate Rich Riel.

Students also asked how each candidate would approach their time in office.

“The mayor leads a city employee force of 11,000 positions and that’s opportunity to give women, people of color, folks with disabilities and folks of LBGTQ community opportunities to have a chance to get their foot in the door,” Assemblymember Todd Gloria said.

All the candidates were asked if they’d be in favor of lowering the voting age from 18 to 16 and all but city councilman Scott Sherman said yes.

Housing costs and availability for younger generations moving into the future were also hot topics.

“We need to start building that middle market housing, that next wrung in the economic ladder so people can move out of subsidized housing and people waiting can move in,” Sherman said.

“We’re dealing with gentrification in many different neighborhoods and we need to stop that as well,” said community advocate Tasha Williamson. “Nobody is talking about that. They move us and shift us and recycle people every day.”

A second youth forum will be held Thursday night at the downtown central library for county Board of Supervisor candidates.

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