ESCONDIDO — The City Council voted to appoint Christian Garcia, a current trustee on the Palomar College Governing Board, to the District 3 vacancy during a special Jan. 30 meeting.
Christian Garcia was one of several candidates who applied to take over the seat left vacant last November by Deputy Mayor Joe Garcia.
Joe Garcia, who created the District 3 vacancy after he was moved to District 2 during redistricting, ran successfully last year for reelection in District 2. Since Joe Garcia’s term for District 2 doesn’t expire until 2024 (an election year), the City Council decided to appoint a temporary council member to replace him for the remaining period of time.
According to the county Registrar of Voters, a special election would have cost the city anywhere from $350,000 to $600,000 and wouldn’t have taken place until November, leaving the City Council with only four voting members for the majority of 2023 and leaving the would-be elected council member to a 13-month term.
Christian Garcia will step down from his position as a trustee for the college to take over as the District 3 council representative. He said the decision to step down was difficult given how much he admired the college and the experience he gained there.
“It’s been a very good learning opportunity,” he said during his interview on Jan. 25.
Outside of his time at Palomar, newly-appointed Councilmember Christian Garcia is a high school math and social studies teacher with Futures Academy, president of his local HOA, an active member of the Latino American Political Association, and previously served with the United States Peace Corps in Cambodia.
He has a dual bachelor’s degree in international studies and political science from University of California Irvine and a master’s degree in public policy from the University of Southern California.
Christian Garcia grew up in San Diego County and has lived in Escondido for nearly five years with his wife and their dog.
“I love this city, I love this county and I love my country,” he said.
In his application, Garcia lists his top three priorities for the city include attracting more housing development for median income families, providing more investment opportunities for new and developing industries that would increase employment and raise wages for residents, and increasing overall city safety by funding the police, providing services that would shelter the city’s homeless population and improving partnerships with anti-gang organizations.
Garcia also noted in his interview that he would be open to various housing options including more dense, urban housing near transit centers to more single family housing in the eastern portions of the city.
He also said that the city needs to be compassionate in its approach to addressing homelessness.
When asked how he would address the city’s structural deficit, he recommended hiring an outside auditor to provide recommendations of where the city can become more lean and produce more revenue, similar to what has been done at Palomar College over the last few years.
The City Council voted in favor of appointing Garcia in a 3-1 vote with Councilmember Consuelo Martinez opposed because of her preference to have a special election instead.