The candidates for District 6 of the San Diego City Council faced the Asian and Pacific Islander Community at a forum Saturday and answered questions ranging from their stance on a city minimum wage to how they would help the community to why they were running for office.
Chris Cate, Carol Kim and Mitz Lee answered questions from a media panel and the audience of more than 50 people at Angier Elementary School in Kearny Mesa. Two other candidates, Jane Glasson and De Le, were invited, but did not attend.
The forum was sponsored by the Asian Business Association, San Diego chapter of the Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association and the Civic Education & Policy Advocacy Network.
On the question of setting a minimum wage in San Diego, Lee said she was wary of the effect on small business and noted that she immigrated to America from the Philippines because of her belief in free enterprise. Cate, a former small business owner, also opposed setting a minimum wage.
But Kim, an education consultant, said a minimum wage would help families. “A ridiculous number of San Diego families are on public assistance of some form because they can’t make ends meet,” she explained.
On the question of how to help the Asian and Pacific Islander community, Lee said she would create an office dedicated to that community, and that in her mind “San Diego is the inspirational gateway to the Pacific region.”
Cate said he was the one candidate who could “hit the ground running” at City Hall because of his previous experience on the staff of then councilman, now mayor, Kevin Faulconer. He said he would move quickly to implement pension reform, competitive bidding and other changes already approved by voters to “make sure we are following a culture of economic growth.”
Kim said an important reason that she is running is to set an example for women in general, and women of Asian and Pacific Islander backgrounds specifically. She told the audience that her young daughter asked her recently, “What office should I run for when I grow up?”
Asked which public services would be their highest priority to restore, Kim said library hours coupled with after-school services, while Lee and Cate suggested money would be better spent on public safety.
Cate said the city needs to not only hire more police, but retain the experienced officers in the police department, and invest in equipment and infrastructure. He said he supports the efforts of the new chief, Shelley Zimmerman, to improve the culture in the department.
Lee, a former San Diego Unified School District board member, said that if elected, she would seek to build coalitions to move the city forward, lamenting that “it seems San Diego is moving forward and (then) we have to take two steps backward.”
Kim reiterated the importance of public service in her answers to several questions. She said former Mayor Bob Filner’s resignation in disgrace had eroded trust in elected officials, and she hoped to fix that if elected to the council.
>> Subscribe to Times of San Diego’s free daily email newsletter! Click hereFollow Us: