San Diego mayoral candidates David Alvarez and Kevin Faulconer squared off this weekend at Hoover High School. The forum in City Heights hosted by San Diego 6 and community groups Mid-City CAN Youth Council and Cesar Chavez Service Club had a decidedly different feel than most political debates, thanks to youth panelists like Roosevelt Middle School sixth grader Hiyab Seadedin.

Speak City Heights

She thanked her mom before throwing a hardball at the candidates, asking them how they’d give young people from underserved communities a better chance of competing in San Diego’s job market.

Both candidates said they’d invest in underserved communities to create jobs and give youth the resources they need to be competitive. Alvarez said he’d use federal development dollars to do the job. Faulconer said pension reform, which he supports, would cover some of the cost.

Youth Council member Terry Stanley II said cohosting a debate close to home will make a difference even though many in the audience can’t vote.

“It actually shows a lot. It’s showing that we have a voice and that we can actually help our own community ourselves,” Stanley said.

We Stand Up for You. Will You Stand Up for Us?

Teens and young adults from City Heights helped shape the questions. They focused on crime, bullying and neighborhood resources. Watch the full debate here.

    This article relates to: City Heights, Community, David Alvarez, Elections, Government, Kevin Faulconer, Mayoral Candidates 2014, Mayoral Election Issues 2014, Neighborhood Growth, Neighborhoods, News, Politics, Share, Special Mayoral Election 2014

    Written by Megan Burks

    Megan Burks is a reporter for Speak City Heights, a media project of Voice of San Diego, KPBS, Media Arts Center and The AjA Project. You can contact her directly by emailing

    Jim Jones
    Jim Jones subscriber

    It's a good thing these kids are learning entitlement mentalities and serf reliance instead of self reliance early. It's much harder to make a welfare voter class out of them otherwise.

    David Molnar
    David Molnar subscriber

    what constitutes an "underserved" community?

    are there 'overserved' communities?

    and just plain 'served' communities?

    does anyone really believe that a mayor can have influence on preparing anyone to compete in today's job market?

    and why does this campaign seem to be about pitting people and communities against each other?

    shawn fox
    shawn fox subscriber

    Don't know, don't know, don't know, but good questions. Underserved probably means that the politicians haven't stolen enough money from taxpayers yet.

    Nope. It isn't the Mayor's job to prepare kids of any community for jobs. The school district has a school board, and many kids have parents, uncles, aunts, or some other kind of guardian or mentor. They also have their own brains to work with.

    Isn't that what nearly all political debates are about? That isn't breaking news to me.