In the city of San Diego, with five City Council seats open and dozens of candidates, the ballot is crowded. District 9 has seven candidates vying for the seat that represents the following neighborhoods: Alvarado Estates, City Heights, College Area, College View Estates, El Cerrito, Kensington, Mountain View, Mt. Hope, Rolando, Southcrest and Talmadge.
The plethora of communities and cultures that comprise the district have something in common: the streets people not only travel on, but sleep on too.
Candidate and non-profit executive Sean Elo told NBC 7 he used to live in his car while attending law school. Homelessness is a major priority he would like to tackle if he wins the election.
"Just behind us at this park, there will be dozens of people who sleep here tonight. It will be 44 degrees outside and we've got to do better than that. There’s no way we can call ourselves America's Finest City if thousands of people are sleeping on the streets," said Elo, referring to the library at the heart of City Heights.
Kelvin Barrios is hoping to fill the seat left open by his former boss Georgette Gomez. He currently serves as the director of government affairs for a local labor union.
"It doesn't matter what neighborhood you're in, we have potholes. We have degrading sidewalks. We have streets that are in need of repair," said Barrios.
In City Heights, scientist Johnny Dang told NBC 7 he's been waiting too long for the sidewalks and street lights to be repaired. He would like the city to shift the millions in advertising dollars toward infrastructure. He spoke about this topic at a recent City Council meeting while councilmembers were discussing Measure C.
Small business owner Andrew Gade said he wants to give a voice to the residents of District 9. Gade also mentioned the deteriorating roads he encounters every day on his route to work. He emphasized the need for affordable housing and finding solutions for the people that need it now.
“I know that it’s gonna take some hard decisions. It’s gonna take work and time and I’m willing to put in the hard work and willing to put in the time because this is the state I want to spend the rest of my life in," said Gade.
Non-profit executive Sam Bedwell told NBC 7 the lack of housing affordability can have a ripple effect on the community.
"On everybody from the coffee shop to Qualcomm. You know Qualcomm employees can’t afford to live here, the coffee shop loses business," said Bedwell.
Ross Naismith is musician and non-profit leader, according to his campaign website. He lists the issues he would like to prioritize as housing and homelessness.
Alex Soto is a veteran, who served in Afghanistan. He told the Union Tribune, he enlisted in the army after 9/11. He discussed with the newspaper how he feels District 9 needs a voice and a solution to homelessness.