Resident Spotlight: Rosa Calvario on Community Representation

Communities prosper when decisions are made by leaders who share life experiences with the people they serve.

While people of color and women make up most of San Diego’s population, they do not make up the majority of San Diego’s decision makers on boards and commissions. When San Diego’s decision makers don’t experience the same challenges as most San Diegans, they can’t make the best decisions about how to meet our community’s needs

Although San Diego is a democracy, our systems for choosing decision-makers favor the people and networks that have historically held power and prevent the majority of San Diegans from getting a seat at the table.

For San Diego to prosper, we need leaders who can make decisions based on life experiences they have in common with most San Diegans.

Join us at the September 26 at the Townhall on Community Representation, by San Diego Leaders, to learn how to help more people have a seat at the table—maybe even you!

"I participated in the Boards and Commission Leadership Training in 2018 to prepare to be on a board or commission.

It was very informative to be part of the process. I attended UCSB and majored in environmental studies, which focused on environmental law and planning. Through Mid-City CAN I was able to figure out how I could take that knowledge and apply it to real life and to my community. One of the things that I wanted to do was to join a board or commission, specifically a planning committee either in my community or in San Diego. I learned that the two different types of power are money and people power.

I learned it’s important to take initiative to create change because some of the boards & commissions don’t meet that often and lack diversitynothing can be done if you don’t get involved to create change.

The lack of diversity and representation in boards and commissions is a problem because they won’t reflect the needs of the community. This impacts the decisions they make. It’s very important to have diverse boards and commissions to represent the people living in our community. It’s especially important to have youth on boards and commissions who have a say in what happens in the community.

I would like to see change in City Heights but I know it can be complicated by the city, funding, infrastructurethe community is quite an old town. I’d like to see improvements in infrastructure but there is often miscommunication in the way the city handles things with their contractors, there are delays, and negative impacts on residents.

City Heights is largely ignored even though we contribute to the local economy as any other city. We also lack the number of voters that politicians would listen to because if we don’t vote they don’t have a reason to worry about us because we’re not the ones keeping them in office.

I’m currently part of the City Heights Area Planning Committee (CHAPC). It was actually very hard to attend a meeting because I couldn’t find the time and location easily online, I had to ask around and I found out about the meetings by word of mouthI was determined to join because it was one of my goals the moment I graduated from UCSB use my major to serve my community.

Compared to the previous years, CHAPC’s a lot more diverse. I’m very proud of how many young people are joininghaving someone to mentor us would also be nice. We also have more people of color and it’s nice to see us thinking more about other issues that wouldn’t be addressed by a planning commission and they’re very important things that impact the people who are living in the community, transportation, the environment, and air quality. With a more diverse board, we’re not only thinking of the impact on the economy and traffic but also what’s important for our community."

- Rosa Calvario

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