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An interview with 2020 San Diego mayoral candidate Gita Applebaum Singh

San Diegans will choose a new mayor on Tuesday, November 3. Hear what the candidates had to say.

SAN DIEGO — News 8 sat down in January 2020 with Gita Applebaum Singh, a nurse practitioner who is now running for San Diego Mayor. We asked her multiple questions that are important to San Diegans. 

They included: 

  • One of the biggest issues in San Diego is the housing crisis. Whether it is a shortage of inventory or residents being priced out of the market. What is your plan to deal with this issue? 
  • What do you see as the biggest issue right now with San Diego’s infrastructure? What is your plan to improve the overall quality of San Diego’s infrastructure?  
  • Climate change is an important issue for many San Diegans. Where can San Diego improve when combatting climate change? 
  • How will you deal with the differences and the particular needs of San Diegans when it comes to the White House’s policies on immigration and the border? 
  • Why should San Diegans vote for you?

Check out the full interview with Gita Applebaum Singh. A full transcription can be found below. 

Gita Appelbaum Singh (D)

Carlo Cecchetto [00:00:00]  I'm Carlo Cecchetto, joined today by San Diego mayoral candidate Gita Appelbaum Singh, thank you for being here. We've got kind of this routine down. Same questions for our candidates, the first one. San Diego is facing a housing crisis. What we have is too expensive. We don't have enough. People are leaving San Diego and some are being forced to the streets in growing numbers. What would be your solution to that problem?

Gita Appelbaum Singh [00:00:28] We really need affordable housing. We absolutely need affordable jobs so people can start saving to afford homes. Right now, the median home in San Diego is roughly about 500,000. And you have to average about 100,000 a year for that job that that house. And we are finding that the increased homeless population is people cannot afford rent and they cannot afford homes. So we need to find a solution. We need to come up with the city and the county finding a way of building affordable homes for our San Diego residents.

Carlo Cecchetto [00:01:13] Is there a specific way to do that that you see out there? Is there a specific path for that?

Gita Appelbaum Singh [00:01:18] [00:01:18] Personally, I like the tiny home project. I believe we should have -- everybody should have a tiny home and everybody should have a quality and a standard of life that's equal here in San Diego. We should stop having these sprawling mansions. And we're in Fairbanks Ranch, you know, and we have people in southeast San Diego County that are living on the streets, that are addicted to meth or cannot make their payments, their rent payments and being kicked out onto the streets. So, I think the tiny home project is a great idea. [27.0s]

Carlo Cecchetto [00:01:50] That would eliminate definitely,  that would help a lot with the homeless situation especially. What about for medium-range homes for the average person? Are there ways to get those projects done?

Gita Appelbaum Singh [00:02:01] [00:02:01]I feel we should train people to get better jobs and invest in a proper education. With our leaders here in San Diego so that we can get higher-paying jobs. We did raise our minimum wages, but still you cannot afford homes. People are used to working two to three jobs and still cannot make a basic rent payment. Much more afford to afford a home. [30.2s]

Carlo Cecchetto [00:02:33] You said $500,000 for the average purchase. It's a six-figure income.

Gita Appelbaum Singh [00:02:37] Yes. Yes. And generally as a nurse myself. I'm a nurse family practitioner. We average $100,000 a year. That's our average. So middle-class people probably can afford, you know, one hundred thousand. Having employment of a hundred thousand a year can invest in a house, you know, and work towards being a homeowner.

Carlo Cecchetto [00:03:00] So job issues are related to it, as you see it, inherently.

Gita Appelbaum Singh [00:03:03] Yes. Yes.

Carlo Cecchetto [00:03:05] Mayor Kevin Faulconer, one of his big projects, his big infrastructure project was fixing the roads in San Diego. He's talked about how many miles they've repaired in his time. What do you see as the biggest infrastructure problem in San Diego,-- in the city of San Diego -- and how would you address it?

Gita Appelbaum Singh [00:03:21] [00:03:21]Well, I really think it's our homeless population is our biggest problem here. We need instead of fixing potholes, we need more people-centered care here in San Diego. We need to improve the quality of people's lives. We are disconnected. We want average middle-class people to have voices here in San Diego and collectively come up to solutions. Our potholes. Sure. Yes. I don't like to get my tires flat in a pothole, but if I have somebody who's homeless and cannot buy food, that's more of a priority to me. [38.1s]

Carlo Cecchetto [00:04:03] San Diego, for a lot of people, climate change is a more important issue every day. Yes. How is it how are we falling short in the city of San Diego or the city officially? How are they falling short in goals and standards of improving climate change or attacking it anyway?

Gita Appelbaum Singh [00:04:20] [00:04:20]Well, we're trying to recycle our plastics. We're trying to clean up all oceans. Those are two basic primary reason solutions to global warming. I feel personally we should plant more trees to help with climate control. [17.6s]

Carlo Cecchetto [00:04:40] So you think initially you would start an initiative to plant a lot of trees in San Diego is being one of the ways to do it - to wash the carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere?

Gita Appelbaum Singh [00:04:48] Absolutely. Yes. [00:04:50]Look at what's going on. For instance, in Australia, we're having, you know, more carbon dioxide in the air, causing more fires everywhere. And as you know, San Diego is a fire hazard place too. So we definitely need more trees. [14.0s]

Carlo Cecchetto [00:05:05] Some have talked about the transportation issue being related to it and the production of greenhouse gases. Is there something the city of San Diego can do on that end?

Gita Appelbaum Singh [00:05:15] Yes. Well, [00:05:15]we definitely need to improve our transportation system. I believe we need a better mass transit. Right now, our trolley or bus system, it's disconnected. We need a more efficient system here. We need less cars on the freeway. Yes, we have a problem with overcrowding of cars on our freeway traffic. You know, smog could control the air quality control. Yeah, absolutely. We need a better transportation system. [27.1s]

Carlo Cecchetto [00:05:43] Is that a City of San Diego or is it a regional thing? Do we have to work out with the county and figure out better ways to solve this?

Gita Appelbaum Singh [00:05:49] I think it's a partnership with the city and the county. That is how we can work on improving our infrastructure, our global warming, many awful problems. We have to come together. The city and the county.

Carlo Cecchetto [00:06:04] Mayor Faulconer has, I guess you'd call it, a complicated relationship with the White House when it comes to immigration especially. How would you deal with the differences or the particular needs of San Diego when it comes to immigration and the border and the White House's policies on that?

Gita Appelbaum Singh [00:06:20] [00:06:20]Well, this is a very complicated situation right now. As you know, we're having so many kids that are being held at the border. And it's very they're having very inhumane situations. The ACLU is working on some issues with that right now. I personally feel immigrants have a right. They can come in legally. We can process them. We can treat them with dignity. America has been a place of opportunities for people. San Diego is a border town. So let's do things the legal way, the proper way to treat people with dignity. You know, these these these children that are being locked up and treated as criminals because they came to escape, you know, the drug cartel in San Salvador, you know, Central America, these are people that are escaping for a better life. These are not criminals. These are families, mums and dads and children that have to come through this way while being killed and then to be treated as criminals here at our border. Myself, I'm an immigrant. I came here on a green card and I have that story where it takes a lot of hard work in America and you can succeed. And these people are coming for a better life. [79.9s]

Carlo Cecchetto [00:07:41] So it's the human aspect that is the most important to you it sounds like.

Gita Appelbaum Singh [00:07:46] Absolutely. I'm a medical provider and I love to take care of people.

Carlo Cecchetto [00:07:49] So be an extension of that really?

Carlo Cecchetto [00:07:53] Last thing we do, in a minute or two; why should people of San Diego vote for you to be their next mayor?

Gita Appelbaum Singh [00:08:01] Well, [00:08:01]I feel I'm a medical expert. I'm a family nurse practitioner. I diagnose and treat people exactly as a physician. I feel I am somebody who is very people-centered. I want to be that mayor that anybody can approach me with a problem. I want to be the voice of San Diego. I am an immigrant with an immigrant story. And I am multicultural, educated to handle immigrants, refugees, every color-treated with this with respect. I feel that I can be somebody like that in San Diego in a leadership position. I've lived here 40 years. I've known San Diego. I've seen a change. I saw Horton Plaza erected. Now it's coming down. You know, I've seen San Diego really, really grow in 40 years here. So I feel I'm an intricate part of the fabric of San Diego. [54.1s] And it's an honor to be a mayoral candidate and also to be here on this show. Thank you so much for having me.

Carlo Cecchetto [00:09:03] It's a pleasure. Gita Appelbaum Singh, thank you for making time for us and coming down there running for the mayor of San Diego. Good luck.

Gita Appelbaum Singh [00:09:08] Thank you so much. Vote for Gita Appelbaum Singh,  San Diego's next mayor in 2020. Thank you so much.

To see the interviews with the six other candidates, click here.

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