Runoff election heating up for District 7 S.A. City Council seat


Two candidates with similar platforms — one with hefty fundraising support and another who says he’s building a grassroots campaign — are vying for an open District 7 seat on the City Council.

Driving the news: Early voting in the nonpartisan election begins Tuesday and runs through June 6. Find a polling place online. Election Day is June 10.

Catch up fast: The District 7 race went to a runoff after Marina Alderete Gavito and Dan Rossiter received the most votes but not the majority required to win the election.

  • Alderete Gavito gained 43% of the vote in the May 6 election. Rossiter took 21%.
  • The seat was left open after Ana Sandoval resigned in January. Rosie Castro, a longtime civil rights activist, has temporarily filled the District 7 seat since March but did not run in the election.

What they’re saying: “We’re very thrilled with the (election) results,” Rossiter tells Axios. “After raising 1/20 of the dollars of our opponent, we received the same result” of making the runoff.

  • “None of us ever expected not to have a runoff. There were five candidates and an open seat,” Alderete Gavito tells Axios.

In interviews with Axios, the candidates described issues they would focus on. Each offered similar ideas but cited their work and civic backgrounds as differing experiences that would make them best suited for the job.

Infrastructure: Both Alderete Gavito and Rossiter placed an emphasis on fixing traffic flow and improving safety on high-profile streets. Alderete Gavito wants to address Bandera Road, while Rossiter mentioned Culebra Road.

  • Rossiter also wants to make the entry and exit points of subdivisions safer.

Transparency and communication: Rossiter wants to look at updating city technology so staff can be more responsive to residents’ needs and work more efficiently.

Housing and homelessness: Alderete Gavito said she supports ongoing efforts by the City Council to expand affordable housing options and address increasing homelessness.

Police and safety: Both candidates tell Axios they support growing the city’s police force.

  • Alderete Gavito also wants to expand the city’s SAFFE officers, who work in community policing. Rossiter would support exploring the root causes of crime, but not without an increase in officers.

The big picture: Whoever is elected will offer a different perspective than Sandoval, who served nearly three terms and often joined progressive members in votes that split the council.

Their experience: As executive director of SA Digital Connects, Alderete Gavito worked with state and federal governments to obtain funding for broadband expansion.

Rossiter worked on transportation projects at Southwest Research Institute. As a streets committee member for the 2022 bond, he says he pushed successfully for a change in the city’s funding formula to get more money for failing streets.