Kelvin Barrios. Campaign photo

City Council candidate Kelvin Barrios issued a public apology Friday as controversy surrounded his campaign for District 9 in central San Diego.

“As a candidate seeking public office, a son, a brother, and an uncle, I cannot begin to explain how embarrassed I am that I have let not only my family down, but also my supporters and voters,” said Barrios in a statement. “I am sorry that we are not talking about the issues impacting District 9, because they have been overshadowed.”

Barrios, who is a former staff member for Council President Georgette Gómez, apologized for financial errors involving expense reimbursements by the San Diego County Young Democrats five years ago and reporting errors made when he served as the treasurer and campaign manager for a Chula Vista school board candidate.

No disciplinary action has been taken, Barrios said, though he acknowledged that the San Diego County Democratic Party issued a warning.

His opponent, Sean Elo, a trustee of the San Diego Community College District, accused Barrios of lying and called for a suspension of his campaign.

“Kelvin Barrios issued yet another misleading statement about his serial financial impropriety, which included several more lies about the money he took from the San Diego County Young Democrats,” said Elo.

Amid the controversy, Barrios has been endorsed by California Senate President Toni Atkins, a former city councilmember.

“City Council District 9 needs a councilmember who will fight for them against inequities and move our city forward. Kelvin’s experience as a former policy advisor to our City Council president is what this community needs during this time,”
 said Atkins this week.

Barrios led Elo in the March 3 primary by 31.6% to 20.5% in a crowded field that included five other candidates.

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.