Rafael Castellanos has not been in San Diego long. He moved here nine years ago. He wanted a walkable neighborhood and chose the East Village.

He’s a commercial attorney who specializes in helping developers get their projects from idea to groundbreaking.

And he is making a clear, land-use, urbanist case for his campaign to become the next city attorney.

Land-use decisions, development and construction projects are the heart of City Hall and he’s just the guy to make sure they get done, he says.


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“That’s sort of the bread and butter of any municipality of any sort of local government is getting projects completed successfully. That’s sort of the meat and potatoes of the city — planning. You would think that you would want your general counsel your city attorney to have expertise in those areas,” he said.

Castellanos was the latest to sit down with me for an hour-long conversation on his background and to make his case for being elected city attorney. See my interview with his Democratic rivals Mara Elliott and Gil Cabrera. I’ll be sitting down with Republican Robert Hickey in November.

Castellanos said that having someone with land-use expertise is crucial as the city deals with a growing population and tries to build the kind of smart-growth projects millennials want.

“I think it’s really, really important right now when millions of dollars are at stake and people’s way of life, that we have some subject matter expertise in the leadership of the office,” he said.

Castellanos told the stories of his parents’ immigration from Mexico and how he was a law student in Barack Obama’s class. He also addressed my question about a sexual harassment lawsuit he and his law firm faced.

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    This article relates to: Must Reads, Politics, Voice of San Diego Podcast

    Written by Scott Lewis

    I'm Scott Lewis, the editor in chief of Voice of San Diego. Please contact me if you'd like at scott.lewis@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.325.0527 and follow me on Twitter (it's a blast!): @vosdscott.

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