Christian Ramirez, the human rights director for Alliance San Diego who grew up in Nestor, confirmed Thursday that he will announce that he will run for the city council seat held by David Alvarez.
Alvarez is termed out and leaves office in 2018. (He was not available to comment late Thursday afternoon. Georgette Gomez declined to comment.) (Alvarez has expressed interest in running for county supervisor Greg Cox's seat in 2020.)
Ramirez praised Alvarez, especially in light of the less active roles played by many of the communities in the district.
District 8 begins just south of downtown and includes Barrio Logan and Logan Heights, Sherman Heights where Ramirez lives, Grant Hill and Stockton. It is split by the cities of Chula Vista and National City, with Otay Mesa, San Ysidro and the Tijuana River Valley among the District 8 neighborhoods near the border.
Ramirez has served as human rights director of Alliance San Diego and director of the Southern Border Communities Coalition, with more than 20 years as an advocate for the rights of documented and undocumented residents, and for justice and respect in communities that are mostly marginalized and overlooked.
The San Diego visit by U.S. Attorney General Jefferson Sessions and Department of Homeland Security chief John Kelly left Ramirez feeling like he needed a new platform to speak from.
"They characterize our city as a dangerous lawless place and our people as criminals, in a way that tells me they know nothing about our region," he said.
While this will be his first foray into politics, Ramirez has been at the dais for plenty of controversy, including the seven-year campaign to hold U.S. Customs and Border Protection accountable for the death of Anastasio Hernandez Rojas, the criticism of police conduct during a May, 2016 protest at a Trump rally and the push to get cities adopt welcoming policies toward immigrants. He has strong ties to the American Civil Liberties Union of San Diego and Imperial Counties and to labor unions including the Service Employees International Union Local 221, as well as a half dozen immigrants' rights groups.
Four generations of his family live in Nestor, north of the river valley.
Ramirez bemoans the "north of the 8'" view of Tijuana, where a lively art scene, great restaurants and affordable housing strongly connect Tijuana to San Diego. That and the approximately 50,000 Americans who live there and cross the border north for work each day.
He worries about the gentrification of Barrio Logan, and says he is worried about the families being pushed out by rising costs.