It's a New Year, meaning the San Diego City Council just elected its new president and some would say the outcome came as quite a surprise.
District 9's City Councilmember Sean Elo-Rivera was elected in an 8-1 vote, ousting Councilmember Jennifer Campbell from the position. The 39-year-old first-generation college student said his new position is a critical role and one he plans to change.
NBC7's Marianne Kushi spoke with Elo-Rivera about what changes he plans for his new position.
As president of the City Council, his new responsibilities include setting the agenda for council meetings and then running them. One thing that remains the same, however, is how he prioritizes housing, addressing the city's homelessness crisis and his goal to hold councilmembers accountable by hiring an independent budget analyst.
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“The independent budget analyst is an incredibly important position that is meant to ensure that the council has the information we need to make informed decisions about the city’s finances," Elo-Rivera told NBC 7. "And, it’s supposed to be a position that provides the public the security of knowing the city is not making financial risks in the way they have in decades past.”
Additionally, Elo-Rivera said he and his team strive to make relevant information available to constituents in a digestible manner.
“Some of it comes with the social media work that we spend a lot of time on and make sure we have graphics that try to break down very complex issues into simple slides," he explained. "It’s email communication, it’s the conversation that you and I are having right now, it’s trying to meet folks where they’re at. People right now are in many different places and so that requires a lot of different tactics in terms of talking to them.”
Elo-Rivera says being on the city's council is a 7-day commitment, though he does try to at least take Sundays to unwind. However, his responsibilities to residents in his district are always on his mind.
“It’s very hard to unpack completely because you’re walking in your neighborhood or driving through your district and even if it’s not constituents coming to me with issues, I can’t turn that off in my brain," he said.
When he does have off-time, though, the councilman enjoys cycling, taking his pooch, Lexi, out for a walk and spending quality time with his wife, Angela.