Alvarez, Zapf Join San Diego City Council

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – Overcoming challenges when they were young helped shaped their outlooks on government and the needs of constituents, the two newest members of the San Diego City Council said Monday.

David Alvarez and Lorie Zapf replace the termed-out Donna Frye and Ben Hueso, who was to be sworn in as a member of the state Assembly today.

At an inauguration ceremony at Golden Hall, both acknowledged the financial problems faced by the city.

The next four years will be “challenging times,” said the 29-year-old Alvarez, who called himself “a young man from Barrio Logan.”

He recalled his parents losing their home when he was a senior in high school, and going to live with helpful neighbors. His parents were later able to use a special program to purchase a house, he said.

Families around Barrio Logan and San Diego are facing bigger problems than the city, but they will pull together to find solutions, Alvarez said.

“No matter how hard we all try, if we don't do it together, it's not going to get any easier,” Alvarez said.

Zapf said much of her outlook on life was formed by growing up in the home of foster parents who encouraged her to become active in the community. Her grandparents ran small businesses.

“Our government is an impediment to business, it's too big, too stifling,” Zapf said.

She promised to be a reformer who would make government “a bridge to something better.”

Frye gave a characteristically colorful farewell address in which she congratulated her successor.

“I wish you the best, I really do,” Frye said. “It's a really weird place to work.”

Mayor Jerry Sanders told the audience, which filled about one-quarter of the available seats, that San Diegans “chose wisely” in picking the new council members.

Re-elected councilmen Tony Young and Kevin Faulconer were also sworn in. Young was expected to be made the council president at a meeting later in the day.

When the City Council convenes for its regular meeting at 2 p.m., the primary topic will be whether to bid out the city's information technology services, valued at $37 million.

Sanders said cash-strapped San Diego could save $10 million by having outside companies bid for IT work against the city's Data Processing Corp.

Voters approved the concept of competitive bidding for municipal services in 2006, but most members of the City Council were hostile to the idea.

Zapf raises the number of council members firmly on the side of managed competition from two to three — on an eight-person panel.

Categories: KUSI