April 20


Velasquez is eyeing the D3 race

Gabriel Velasquez, the combative activist with a cultural bent who lead the public outcry over the restoration of the Mission Drive-In mural, is mulling a run against District 3 Councilwoman Leticia Ozuna.

Ozuna, a cyber-security specialist, was appointed early this year to fill Jennifer Ramos' unexpired term. The field of applicants for the seat included Velasquez, although he was not one of three candidates who made it to the final round.

Ramos had appointed Velasquez to the Arts and Cultural Advisory Committee, which makes final arts-funding recommendations to City Council and develops arts-funding policy. He'd already accused the City's funding process of favoring Anglo institutions over indigenous initiatives before he raised the alarm that the City would require a faithful restoration of an insulting mural at the Mission Drive-In (the City has always maintained that it never intended to force a faithful copy of the original mural on the neighborhood). Ozuna quickly replaced him with musician Ernesto Olivo.

Velasquez, 47, is a South Side native who lives in the Highland Hills neighborhood. He said he believes citizens appointed to City boards are there to be watchdogs.

"Board members are on boards to hold city government accountable," he said. The mural debate, he added, could not have come out better.

"The City, they have to be very sensitive when entering areas of town where citizens have clear visions of who they are and there they want to go," he said.

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