Galindo fights for City Heights

City College alumna Sandra Galindo runs for City Council


Surrounded by protesters and campaign supporters from the San Diego Socialist Campaign, Sandra Galindo (center) speaks at a renters rights rally on Sept. 21 in City Heights. Official Facebook photo

Mike Madriaga

Sandra Galindo is fired up, and taking her issues straight to the top.

Galindo, the bilingual mother of three daughters, is a product of the academia at San Diego City College, receiving an associate of arts degree with honors in Chicano studies and language arts and wrote for the campus newspaper. She then continued her studies to receive her bachelor of arts in human services at Springfield College and is currently wrapping up her master’s degree by driving up to the Springfield campus in the city of Orange every two weeks.

Despite her academic accomplishments, her struggles are still too real. Originally born in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico, the 49-year-old San Diego City College alumna has been working two or three jobs at a time to stay afloat for years.

“I’m fortunate to have documents,” Galindo said. “I’m a single mother who receives welfare assistance and I haven’t been employed full-time in years.”

She is far from your typical candidate running for office, but Galindo is running for the San Diego City Council next year for District 9, with the support of the San Diego Socialist Campaign (SDSC).

“The campaign consists of organizers and activists who are fighting for immediate change and will continue to organize around movements and social justice issues once we get Sandra into office,” said Rafael Bautista, a founding member of the SDSC. “As socialists, we know that we can only win if we fight back against the interests that are corrupting our city government.”

Bautista, also a former City College student from 2002-2006, stated that despite their organization not having political or corporate ties, their campaign is already making a difference, eight months prior to the election.

“We don’t get money from any corporations; we get donations from people who want our voices out, and it is little compared to what the other candidates are getting,” Galindo said. “We will work with what we have and at least we are covered by the media.”

On Sept. 22, the San Diego Reader covered Galindo’s advocacy, when she lead a group of protesters to the front door of a slumlord. In the article, Galindo was bringing to light the horrid living conditions of a cockroach-infested property where the landlord was not addressing the crisis.

“That is why I am running for city council, at the end, Democrats and Republicans represent corporations and people in high positions,” Galindo said. “What I’m representing is ‘the person that is struggling to pay the rent.’”

On her website, Galindo says she is fighting for safe, accessible and affordable housing for all; $15 minimum wage; equal rights for immigrants families; police accountability and criminal justice reform; and a plan for a healthy, green San Diego.

“There are more than 100,000 people who are waiting for affordable housing and I’ve been waiting for 10 years,” Galindo said. “80 percent of the people living here (in City Heights) are earning less than $12 an hour and only 20 percent live well. Many of them need two or three jobs to make it. I’m representing the people that feel alone, the ones that feel no hope.”

When asked about her inspiration, Galindo referred to the people like herself who have been through the system and those who do not have that choice.

“Everything that I do is for these parents with no voice, no documents. They are unprotected so those people are my inspiration, including other ethnicities that live here in fear,” she said.

Galindo wishes City Heights could be a sanctuary for undocumented residents, but notices the change that is happening in the neighborhood, particularly the beautification via artistic installations to attract big investors.

“Instead of bringing in affordable housing, they are bringing in businesses,” Galindo said as she pointed to some of the spots by the 805 and 15 freeways on El Cajon Boulevard. “We need to stop stigmatizing undocumented people because the jobs that they are doing are the reason why the United States is so beautiful. We are the ones making this a first world country, but they are treating us like third world people.”