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City Council District 9 candidate Kelvin Barrios, the subject of a criminal investigation by the district attorney’s office, has lost the support of his former boss and one of his highest-profile endorsers, at least for now.
San Diego Council President Georgette Gómez said Wednesday she is halting any involvement in Barrios’ candidacy, pending the completion of the DA’s investigation.
“As far as I knew, Kelvin, like my entire staff, followed all city ethics rules when he worked for me – he did constituent work in City Heights and worked on transportation policy,” Gómez said in a written statement. “What I’m learning now is concerning, and I’m not going to disregard it simply because Kelvin worked for me in the past and I endorsed his campaign.”
The Union-Tribune reported Sunday that the DA’s Public Integrity Unit was investigating transactions made by Barrios when he was the treasurer of a political club, the San Diego Young Democrats. Barrios was previously fined more than $4,000 by the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission for spending money from a campaign he worked on and a different political club on personal expenses.
Barrios said Monday that his opponent, San Diego Community College Trustee Sean Elo-Rivera, was behind the allegations of financial impropriety, but erroneously claimed that he had already been vindicated by four different organizations. In fact, the district attorney’s office refuted his claim that it had dismissed a complaint against him, and neither the FPPC, the city attorney’s office nor the Democratic Party’s ethics committee had cleared him of wrongdoing, despite his claims that they all had.
Gómez said it was important to seek accountability from those seeking public office – “especially those who we support.” Gómez is running for Congress in California’s 53rd District, against fellow Democrat Sara Jacobs.
“While Kelvin appropriately resolved his issues with the FPPC, it is the District Attorney’s job to hold public officials to account – without regard for politics – if wrongdoing occurs, and no one should interfere with or prejudge any investigation,” Gómez said in her statement.
“Therefore, I’m pausing my involvement in Kelvin’s campaign until the DA’s review is completed.”
Late Tuesday – after his lawyer told the U-T that the press release in which he claimed to have already been vindicated by the district attorney, city attorney, FPPC and the party’s ethics committee was sent in error – Barrios apologized in a series of social media posts.
“I’ve made some mistakes in the past which I take full responsibility for,” he wrote. “This week in particular, those mistakes have been amplified because I did not handle my business well and more mistakes were made as a result. That stops now. There will be no excuses and no more finger-pointing. This is on me.”