Mayor Sam Abed announced this week that he received the endorsement of the Latino American Political Association (LAPA) of San Diego in nearly unanimous vote, a notable coup for a non-Latino incumbent.
LAPA is a non-partisan political organization whose mission is to promote leadership and unity in the Latino community and promote and increase Latino participation in the political process and representation in government. LAPA endorses candidates who demonstrate the greatest ability to promote benefits for the Latino community in line with the mission of LAPA. “An immigrant to the United States, Sam Abed has demonstrated that he clearly understands the importance of promoting involvement, unity, and inclusiveness in a diverse community of voters. We’re confident that he’s the best choice to lead Escondido,” said LAPA President Delores Chavez.
Asked about why he personally felt LAPA chose to endorse Abed, Vice-President Jordan Gascon said, “There were several major issues that were taken into consideration including Mayor Abed’s selection of Latinos to serve on boards and commissions in Escondido without regard for their party affiliation, and his work to unify people from diverse backgrounds. Also very persuasive, was Abed’s leadership in eliminating deficit spending and creating budget surpluses earning the city an AA- bond rating. His leadership is a prime example of good government.”
According to those present, some members also expressed opinions that among the two candidates, Mayor Abed was the one who had advanced the interests of Latinos through an inclusive approach to help them integrate into mainstream government for them to achieve economic prosperity in Escondido.
Abed’s opponent Paul McNamara pronounced himself skeptical that the organization’s endorsement is valuable. “LAPA is a San Diego based organization that doesn’t represent the Latino population in North County, nor in all probability San Diego Latinos when you consider the endorsement audience was less than 20 people.
“While claiming to be non-partisan, it historically endorses right-wing candidates. Abed’s endorsement is no surprise to anyone who knows the organization. The reality is North County Latino organizations have in fact endorsed me. That said and as stated on my website, I am purposely not listing my endorsements since Escondido is already divided, and the side choosing endorsement process exacerbates that division. This city has tough challenges in its future. What the city needs is restoration of its sense of community to address those challenges, and leaders who are no beholden to special interest who can then act in the best interest of the city and its residents.”