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Sep 20th
Home Columns San Diego Happenings Fil-Am Leader Runs for San Diego Council Seat
Fil-Am Leader Runs for San Diego Council Seat PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - San Diego Happenings
Tuesday, 07 August 2007 03:23

The News UpFront: (TOP STORY) as of Tuesday, 7 August 2007

~ It's at least 10 months before the primary elections in June and at this time, a Filipino American has indicated her intent to contest a seat in the San Diego City Council. San Diego School Board Member Mitz Lee is among the early worms gunning for District 5, the vote-rich northern area where a huge Asian community resides.

Mitz Lee Launches Candidacy for San Diego City Council District 5


San Diego School Board Member Mitz Lee is among the candidates gunning for a city council seat in District 5, which would be left vacant next year when the incumbent is termed out.

But even before the formal filing of certificates of candidacies is due in February 2008, the Lucena, Quezon-born Lee disclosed that she was already being swayed to withdraw.

"They are pressuring me to get out of the race," she said in an interview with the Philippine Village Voice. Lee said "they" included special interest groups, lobbyists, the power people and developers.

The primary election is set on June 3, 2008. If none of the candidates for city council seats muster a 50-percent-plus-one vote, the two top vote-getters will square it off in the November 2008 polls.

Lee calls herself an "outsider" who would speak an "independent voice" on behalf of constituents in nine communities comprising District 5.

The area encompasses the northeastern neighborhoods of Carmel Mountain Ranch, Mira Mesa, Rancho Bernardo, Sabre Springs, San Pasqual, Scripps Ranch and Sorrento Mesa with a voting population of almost 83,000, the city’s third largest after districts 1 and 2.

The district is home to a big Asian population of Filipinos, Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Laotians, Hmongs, Cambodians, among others.

Lee said she wants to represent the varied interests of these groups and be their voice in the city council.

If Lee succeeds in sewing up their support and wins, she would be the second Asian to occupy a council seat in more than three decades.

"The fact that special interest groups are worried (about her candidacy) is already a win for the community," she explains.

That’s because the Asian community is now getting noticed by the mainstream. "I want them to view us as a group that could mount a decent campaign," Lee says.

In the last two-and-half years that she has been with the San Diego School Board as a trustee for District A, Lee said she gained a lot of experience in hands-on management and executive decision-making.

With a $2.2-billion budget and a total of 15,000 employees, the San Diego Unified School District overseen and managed by the Board is much bigger than the City of San Diego, according to Lee, who was vice president in 2004, 2005 and 2006.

That experience gives her the competence and the ability to seek the council seat now held by Brian Maienschein.

"I’m not afraid to stand up against the same people" who, she said, had backed Mayor Jerry Sanders in considering the appointment of his anointed candidate.

Lee claims the city needs to be reclaimed from politicians who are in cahoots with special interest groups. "The city is actually run by developers," she says.

Though she says she doesn't know Sanders well enough, she believes "he's a good person".

Lee vows to remain independent and beholden to no one but the people only. "One thing I can not do is compromise my principles," she states.

Lee, according to her bio information, "has been a grassroots education reform advocate for more than a decade. Her trademark is building multi-ethnic community coalitions around that central American value of opportunity through education."

She is married to Jeff Lee, a retired U.S. Navy Commander. Their two sons, Scott, age 17, and Jeff, age 15, attend Scripps Ranch High School.

BREAKING NEWS - A PhilVoiceNews Exclusive

A community service of San Diego's Philippine Village Voice ( or at 619.265.0611) for the information and better understanding of the public.

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Last Updated on Thursday, 25 October 2007 07:48

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