Mayoral candidate and nightclub impresario Cesar Ascarrunz, 76, has lived in San Francisco more than 50 years and run for mayor many times over the past several decades.
Ascarrunz came to America in the 1960s to escape the violence and horror treading the streets of his native Bolivia. Ascarrunz’s father Macedonio Ascarrunz was a respected international attorney and Bolivian congressman. Unfortunately, he was gunned down in the streets of Potosi, Bolivia during a guerilla attack.
“This point in my life is very vague to me now, but every day I strive to be what my father knew I could be and this led to a decision of me choosing to leave my home country and go abroad for better opportunities,” said Ascarrunz, during an interview with a University of San Francisco student reporter.
When Ascarrunz came to the United States in the 1960s, he earned an undergraduate degree in economics at the University of California at Berkeley. Soon after, he studied for his master’s degree in psychology at the University of San Francisco.
“The 1960s and 1970s in San Francisco was a special place to be a part of and I would never change the decision I made to come here,” he said. “I have been a citizen of this great city for nearly 50 years and I feel I have the qualifications to make San Francisco’s economy fluid and open-ended, make San Francisco a better place for citizens to reside, and a more prosperous place for future generations.”
After graduate school, Ascarrunz started a music production company. “This business of mine was my way to give back my appreciation of music and arts to the citizens of San Francisco,” he said. Cesar’s Productions is an event promotion company that has provided entertainment for many prominent San Francisco events.
As an experienced mayoral candidate and runner-up, Ascarrunz believes his business leadership skills are what the city needs. According to his campaign website, in 1983, he came in second to incumbent Mayor Dianne Feinstein. (According to campaign records, Feinstein took approximately 80 percent of the vote.)
“Over the last thirty-years that I’ve run for mayor, people around me had been telling you’ve got to run. We need you,” he said.
Ascarrunz said his love for music and art will motivate him to make San Francisco one of the top cultural cities in the world. “My father taught me as a little boy to appreciate Latin music with my ears and honor those artists with my hands and eyes,” he said. “My life desire is to provide the best bands and music in the world and bring them to the Bay Area for our citizens to enjoy.”
In acknowledgment of his contributions during the 1996 mayoral election, Mayor Willie Brown appointed Cesar Ascarrunz to San Francisco’s Parking and Traffic Commission. “I believe since I have the experience of being traffic commissioner of San Francisco, I can positively enhance our public transportation and have it effectively working for the city again,” he said.
If elected mayor, Ascarrunz insists that after he fixes problems with Muni, he plans to change “insane rent control” issues so middle and lower-class families can afford to live in the city. “If we are able to change our economy and promote fiscal responsibility in our city government that is properly regulated, affordable living for single person households, students and small families will no longer be an issue.”
As for the poor and homeless, Ascarrunz is confident that more communal resources and public spaces around the city can be used to support and help revive depressed parts of the city.
If elected mayor, Ascarrunz would direct more of the city’s budget to healthcare, after school programs, art events, street fairs, and nightlife productions.
Cesar Ascarrunz campaign website: http://cesarascarrunz.org/