Social media influencer and self-proclaimed educator, Dulce Vasquez, who is running for Los Angeles City Council District 9, is facing fierce backlash on her social media platforms for refusing to answer tough questions and blocking residents from exercising their first amendment rights.
In the age of social media, where people feel most connected with their public officials, Vasquez is being labeled as a “Tia Tom,” over claims she is directly contributing to the gentrification of South Los Angeles.
Vasquez, who was born in Mexico and grew up in Florida, relocated to District 9 in 2020 with her husband David Leuchter, an Executive at Mass Electric based in Texas. Mass Electric, a subvendor with the City of Los Angeles, currently has a multi-million dollar contract with LA Metro.
The Los Angeles Sentinel on March 10 ran a story with the headline “Dulce Vasquez Criticized for Misleading Voters in Council Campaign.” In the article, the Sentinel quoted local teachers who were enraged over Vasquez’s self-proclaimed occupation as “educator,” demanding that she stop misleading voters with her ballot designation.
Vasquez, who does not hold a teaching credential, is currently employed by Arizona State University as Director of Strategic Partnerships where she was earning more than $140,000 a year as of 2020, according to public records.
Since the story was published, District 9 residents have started the hashtag #SouthCentralisNotforSale.
On social media, critiques wrote:
“You should be more transparent if you want people to vote for you. Also blocking critics is not a good look for a public servant.”
Another person stated, “Liar liar gentrifier! Instead of using your identity as an excuse to not take accountability, answer the ?s, from people who you want to represent.”
Another commenter stressed, “Just because you ignore questions and block people does not mean those questions are not relevant.”
A user added, “Maybe this isn’t the best platform for you if you’re going to block anyone with a tough question.”
“Being in politics you have to take the bad and the good. If you do get elected and your page if [sic] for city council you can’t block your constituents,” wrote an individual.
Others questioned if Vasquez has what it takes to run for City Council having had no previous experience in politics. Individuals accused Vasquez of “identity politics” and promoting herself as a formerly undocumented Latina who went to a private university rather than focusing on the most pressing issues that are impacting the District 9 community.
Vasquez is looking to challenge LA City Councilmember Curren Price in the upcoming June 7 election. Councilmember Price, a native to District 9, has built a reputation for being one of the most progressive Councilmembers in Los Angeles having led the fight for the City’s Guaranteed Basic Income (GBI) program (the largest in the nation), increasing the minimum wage, Ban-the-box, which prohibits employers from asking candidates about their conviction history before making them a job offer, and “Hero Pay” which provided an extra $5 an hour to essential workers at grocery stores and drugstores for 120 days.
By contrast, on Vasquez’s TikTok account, a user stated, “Curren Price, the man she is running against, is by no means perfect. But he is a black man who has stuck his neck out for latinos. He’s a good man.”