Mayoral Candidates in the Hot Seat: David Alvarez - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

Mayoral Candidates in the Hot Seat: David Alvarez

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  • San Diego Special Election

    San Diego Special Election

    A special election for the city of San Diego will take place on February 11, 2014. Check out related stories, videos and links on CBS 8's resource page. 
    A special election for the city of San Diego will take place on February 11, 2014. Check out related stories, videos and links on CBS 8's resource page. 

SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - In just six days, San Diegans go to the polls for a special election to replace Bob Filner. A CBS News 8 poll listed ethics and integrity in the mayor's office as the top concern for voters.

Even though the special election race is non-partisan, Alvarez has been officially endorsed by the Democratic Party.

Before going into politics, the San Diego native began his career as a social services worker and as an after-school teacher.

Alvarez, 33, is thrilled to have tossed his hat in for the mayor's spot, left vacant by the Bob Filner sexual harassment scandal that drove him out of City Hall.

"I think people are going to realize very quickly that as far as ethics and integrity, they can't get a better candidate for mayor than myself. That's the way I've portrayed myself and have acted as a councilmember, and not just on the council because I think whoever we elect to office is someone who shares those values over the course of their life experience. And that's definitely me," he said.

The issue of whether or not to build a new stadium for the Chargers has been kicked around for the past 10 years. How does Alvarez feel about stopping the team from leaving?

"Let's keep the Chargers here. Let's give the Aztecs a place as well, we want to make sure they stay in town. I think we can look at something really creative like… maybe we can attract a soccer team here and we can have a joint-use facility. I like the… location at the Q, it's well-connected to transit, to the highways. I think that's the best location and I'd like to work with (the Chargers) on keeping them here. One thing that I don't support is using taxpayer dollars to fund that. I think we can get to a point… we've just got to sit down and negotiate this," Alvarez said.

People are saying we're worrying about shrinking police department ranks and also fewer fire stations in town. What's Alvarez's plan to tackle these issues?

"Just a few days ago… the Council, we acted. We made sure that we passed a five-year plan to get up to the funding levels, and to get up to the levels of staffing our police department so our communities can be safe. It's not just police, it's also fire. A couple of years ago I headed a task force to put together a report that identifies the locations where we need more fire stations… because they're our first responders. When you call 911 you want to make sure somebody shows up to your house in time because every second matters," Alvarez said.

CBS News 8 viewers who voted in our poll put education as a top priority for a new mayor. If Alvarez wins, could he have any influence on local schools?

"We can have a major impact on our education system. Part of my blueprint for my vision for the future of San Diego makes sure that we partner with our schools. I will lead a task force that will create 10,000 internship positions with our high school students. We need to get our young people out into the community, get them to experience what it's like to be in the workforce, get them some exposure to some of the jobs that are available locally. What great does it do that we have the best biotech sector in the country, yet our own students don't even know what that means and they don't have those career paths? I think it's a very important, critical piece of our future," he said.

Former mayor Filner campaigned on a "neighborhoods first" platform. Will Alvarez go down the same path?

"I've always been about putting neighborhoods first. When I ran for Council four years ago, that was what my campaign was about. We have underinvested in neighborhoods and put all of our money downtown. It is time to focus our attention on putting money back into neighborhoods. Eighty-five percent of communities don't have enough parks space, and that goes from Rancho Bernardo down to San Ysidro. We've got to have enough park space to give places for people to go after school, with their kids on the weekends. It's really critical.

On the economy, David Alvarez says if elected he would expand the city's connection to Asia by promoting San Diego's businesses to investors and consumers there.

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