Navarro: The Mercury News’ failure to mention me in editorial
Ruben Navarro is running for San Jose City Council in District 6 again. Photo courtesy of Ruben Navarro.

I was very disappointed that the Mercury News failed to mention me as a San Jose City Council candidate for District 6 in its Jan. 21 endorsement editorial.

By not mentioning the only District 6 candidate who grew up in the lower-income neighborhoods of District 6, in which income disparity, affordable housing, public safety and homelessness are critical issues that demand their representative’s attention, they did a great disservice to the entire city.

The high cost and limited availability of housing in San Jose drives financial inequality in our city and threatens to transform our diverse neighborhoods into highly polarized pockets of privilege and despair.

Housing policies and priorities of the current City Council majority, of which my opponent in the race to represent District 6 is a member, have only exacerbated the problems we now face and have put the quality-of-life in jeopardy. We need a fundamental mind shift in City Hall in order to come up with innovative solutions to our city’s homelessness, affordability and public safety.

That’s why I’m running for San Jose City Council on a progressive, pro-housing platform. If elected, I would address the housing crisis differently. Unlike other candidates in my race, I have direct relevant experience setting housing policy that protects renters. I would continue to strengthen the rights of renters in our city where 51% of renter households are rent burdened and many of them are a paycheck away from being displaced.

Second, the number of homeless individuals has increased by almost two thousand in the last two years. If the city of San Jose would have invested more in homeless prevention, as I first urged the housing department to do a few years ago, we would not have had such a large increase in our homeless population. Investment to prevent homelessness is a cost-effective solution that can save our taxpayers millions of dollars.

Third, as probably the only candidate to have experienced homelessness, I understand the necessity of stopping the dehumanizing of our homeless residents and to start addressing the root cause of homelessness in partnership with the county, so we can curtail the continual increase. As important as my experience with housing policy is, however, my life experience is more important still.

I’m the only candidate that has more than a decade of community service in our district, 20 years in the tech Industry negotiating hundreds of millions in contracts, served as a nonprofit board member, and most importantly, I have fought to get equitable access to the most prized soccer park in our district to our neighborhood children. I want to represent my community because I’m of the community and my wife and I are raising our young children here.

I wish we would have connected before the editorial so the editors could have come to the conclusion, like many in District 6 and many of our community leaders who have endorsed me, that what sets me apart from my opponents is the breadth of experience in the community and ability to offer innovative solutions to issues, particularly those involving our housing crisis.

I’m a good listener with an independent streak that enables me to put the best interest of our most vulnerable neighbors first. I ask that the newspaper reconsider its endorsement. Everything that I have done in our community, the knowledge I have about my community and my problem-solving skills make me the better choice as San Jose confronts the critical housing and public safety issues that will shape District 6 and the city’s future.

Ruben Navarro is a District 6 resident, San Jose housing commissioner and candidate for San Jose City Council.

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