Coalition of San Diego organizations call on SANDAG to hire visionary new CEO during Sept. 8 press conference
On Friday, September 8th, coalition members representing over 15 diverse organizations including Mid-City CAN, held a joint press conference calling on SANDAG to employ an open, transparent, and community-involved hiring process to replace CEO Hasan Ikhrata and to pursue an equitable, sustainable vision for San Diego transportation.
Mid-City CAN Organizing Director Ariana and Base Builder Lupe were part of the press conference. Lupe was one of the speakers and talked about the importance and impact of the Youth Opportunity Pass program. Excerpts from her speech:
"Many of our youth advocates are dependent on public transit, including our newest member Mia. Mia depends on public transportation to get to school out in Mission Bay, because her local high school doesn’t offer college prep courses. Almost daily, her commute is about 2-hours when she travels from Sherman Heights to Mission Bay to then City Heights. Despite the long commutes – she is determined to have a better education and is pursuing a career as a school counselor.
I am amazed by our youth’s work, of how much they care about their community and are eager to be part of the changes that will improve their surroundings. Like Mia, YOP gives youth the opportunity to participate. Personally, what saddens me the most is when someone has potential and the capacity to do great things in life but are unable to reach their maximum potential due to the lack of opportunities and resources. YOP helps give youth a fair chance regardless of their socioeconomic background.
Like many others, I would like to see a permanent program that will benefit youth for years to come. The next SANDAG CEO needs to demonstrate commitment to the needs of youth and our working families. In addition, SANDAG’s next CEO must support and implement the 10 Transit Lifelines, to meet the needs of our transit dependent community."
The press conference took place in conjunction with the first SANDAG Board meeting since Ikrata announced his resignation (effective Dec 29). The organizations also gave public testimony during the meeting.
The environmental, health, mobility, social justice and community-based organizations, who co-authored this press statement will advocate for hiring another preeminent transportation planning expert. We want to ensure the new hire will expand on Ikhrata’s accomplishments and surpass state mandates to achieve an equitable, sustainable future for all residents of San Diego County, with clean air, healthy communities, and green jobs.
View photos from the press conference by clicking here.