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Passion for presidential candidates and concerns about income inequality – homelessness in particular – pulled in voters in neighborhoods surrounding Balboa Park and downtown on Tuesday.

I spent my morning talking to voters in the longtime Democratic stronghold of City Council District 3 and met many who were excited about presidential candidates and concerned about the city’s priorities.

Prabha Singh of Hillcrest told me her own experience living with her parents while working a low-wage job while she was in college convinced her of the need for the minimum-wage increase, Prop. I.

“I was fortunate enough to have people to support me,” she said.

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Alex Sandoval of North Park was proud to support Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and Democratic mayoral candidate Ed Harris.

Sandoval says he appreciates Harris’ opposition to taxpayer financing for a new stadium and greater focus on homelessness and infrastructure funding.

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North Park resident and Sanders supporter Barbara Smith, accompanied by 4-year-old daughter Rosalind, said she voted for the city’s minimum-wage hike because many in her generation are saddled with low-paying jobs and student-loan debt. She believes a mandated wage hike is one way to help.

“I know people are struggling,” she said.

Smith said she voted for Chris Ward, who hopes to replace Councilman Todd Gloria as District 3’s representative, because Ward supports both the local and statewide minimum wage hikes while challenger Anthony Bernal has come out against the state’s $15 an hour minimum-wage increase.

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After chatting with Smith, I headed to East Village, where homelessness has been on the rise.

I met Alfred J. Boja as he pushed his small shopping cart into the East Village Community Church.

Boja, who said he’s lived on the streets for three years, was proud to vote for Democrat Hillary Clinton for president because he believes she’ll do the most to help the poor and secure more housing for seniors.

Boja declined to say who he supported for mayor but made clear it was not Mayor Kevin Faulconer.

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East Village resident Catherine Pope, a Faulconer supporter, said she’d like to see the mayor focus more on homelessness, too.

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“The city has to do more,” Pope said.

Pope and her husband, William Carter, were more excited about presidential candidate Bernie Sanders than local candidates like Faulconer.

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“I’m a dreamer. I like Bernie,” Carter said.

Roland Hatfield, another East Village resident, was more excited about Clinton – and Faulconer.

He said both present a better image than Donald Trump and have proven track records.

Hatfield was particularly enthusiastic about Faulconer and the increased street paving that’s happening under his watch.

“I think he’s done some fine things with the city in a short time,” Hatfield said.

A few minutes away in Little Italy, I met Dolores and Raul Duron, who voted for Hillary Clinton and said they didn’t vote for Faulconer in 2013, or this time around.

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They’re hoping whoever is elected will focus more on homelessness and less on building a new Chargers stadium. (Faulconer hasn’t said whether he’ll support the Chargers’ convadium proposal but previously offered his own financing plan for a standalone football stadium.)

Fellow Little Italy resident Kevin Arnold was even more focused on homelessness.

Arnold said he voted for independent Lori Saldaña for mayor and Ward for City Council because he believes they’d prioritize issues that matter most to ordinary San Diegans.

“(Ward) is talking about what he’s gonna do about the homeless issue,” Arnold said.

Lisa Halverstadt

Lisa is a senior investigative reporter who digs into some of San Diego's biggest challenges including homelessness, city real estate debacles, the region's...

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