This is the last of a three-part series. Previously: How Barrio Logan’s Fumes Pushed David Alvarez into Politics and On City Council, Alvarez Took Up Anti-Establishment Cause.
It was Christmastime and Rachael Ortiz’s Barrio Station nonprofit received a $100 donation for a needy family to buy gifts. Ortiz thought of the Alvarezes, a poor family from Mexico that had just moved in down the block from the community center she ran. A few weeks later, Ortiz knocked on Alvarez’s door again, this time with a job offer. Barrio Station needed a janitor, and the father, Jose Alvarez, had told Ortiz he was a hard worker.
Jose Alvarez took the job and for the next quarter-century he was a janitor and handyman at the Barrio Station community center. When he retired, Ortiz and Barrio Station gave him a gold-plated watch.
Barrio Station was part of the lives of Jose Alvarez’s kids. David Alvarez, now a Democratic City Councilman, spent much of his free time there growing up. A photo of it appears near the beginning of a video David Alvarez produced to introduce his mayoral candidacy.