Everyone need not apply

Over 40 residents vie for Chula Vista council seat

In June, Chula Vista voters approved Proposition B, which allows the city council to appoint an applicant to a seat that “will sit vacant for more than 13 months but fewer than 25 months.”

When Mary Salas was elected mayor in November her council seat opened up and several people have applied to fill her seat.

On December 29, the last day to apply for the position, there were 44 applicants. The way the selection process works is that now Mayor Salas and councilmembers Patricia Aguilar, Pamela Bensoussan and John McCann review the applicants’ résumés and put forward their recommendations.

Any applicant who receives at least two council recommendations will be interviewed on January 8 at 4 p.m. According to the city website, “When interviews have ended, the City Council will deliberate in public until an applicant receives at least three confirming votes.”

The applicants are: Richard Andujo, Javier Angulo, Kari Genevieve Braun, James Clark, Craig Collins, Rob Corcilius, Lorna Dennison, David Diaz, Bryan Felber, William Field, Mario Fragomeno, Jill Galvez, Hector Gastelum, Todd Glanz, Thomas Glover, Bernard Gonzales, Ofelia Gutierrez, William Hall, Willie Harris, Shirley Horton, Willard Howard, Roger Hyde, Michael Jackson, Mark Liuag, Kirin Macapugay, Scott Melligan, Steven Miesen, Lisa Moctezuma, Patricia Morris, Kevin O'Neill, Benito Orozco, Jason Paguio, Michael Palomo, Devin Price, Jesseca Saenz-Gonzalez, Jose Serrato, Mike Spethman, Felicia Starr, Sandy Stonesifer, Daniel Vaccaro, Linda Wagner, Cheryl White, Majid Max Zaker, and John Zarem.

Humberto Peraza, who serves as a trustee on the Southwestern College board, said on December 30, “It’s a good sign for Chula Vista that so many people have applied. This is an exciting time for the city because of the Bayfront and University developments; people want to be a part of creating that future.”

If the council fails to appoint anyone by January 23 then the seat will go to a special election. A rumor is circulating that perhaps some councilmembers would prefer to see this go to an election.

Peraza said he’s heard that rumor, but offered this statement: “Let’s hope that politics don’t leave the community paying $500,000 for a special election. It would be sad if out of 44 people, many of them who are clearly qualified, the council could not agree on one.”

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So Shirley Horton wants back in the game. After her recent high-dollar campaign, she came up empty-handed. Poor Shoyl! Yes, with plenty of qualified applicants they SHOULD be able to pick one good one. Ahh, but how does define "good?" The Johnny-boy definition, or some reasonable definition? Does this all mean that whomever is chosen must have his vote? Probably not, but he does have supporters. Without those supporters he never would have had his two-vote-margin landslide election.

CV, keep one big thing in mind. Whomever is selected then becomes the "incumbent" in the next election cycle. That has been a huge contributor to the corruption in the three school districts, and likely in the city of CV. So, if they fill the vacancy by appointment, that person will likely be with the system for a long time to come.

You know, maybe a costly election isn't such a bad idea after all.

Take a look at each candidate and find out what their connections are to the current council is. I'll bet the appointed one will have the most connections. An election would be good for sure.

Visduh, you make some great points. There are several on the list who have been around the campaign block recently and not been elected by the public.

Sorry to say, I was remiss in my reporting. If selected for the next two years, the council member will then have to sit out a year before running, per the proposition. Nevertheless, he or she will , as you as you point out, accrue incumbency creds.

But Chula Vista is also creeping toward district elections...

No one should be appointed that is a political activist or a pal of a politician like they did at Southwestern College. And why did you interview registered lobbyist Humberto Peraza for this story?

Why contact "registered lobbyist Humberto Peraza for this story"? Because he usually knows what is going on and where all the bodies are buried! That is what good reporters do.

18,446 Chula Vistans voted for Steve Padilla in this recent election. He received only two votes less than his opponent. Maybe he should be seated to fill the vacancy without restrictions. Short of a special election, this would be a way of respecting the wishes of the people, and prevent political favoritism.

Good point. Although it doesn't appear that he could "be seated to fill the vacancy without restrictions." Susan points out that the proposition that spells out the rules for appointment also has the restriction about running for the same seat when the term is over. That would be a real slap in the face for McCann, whereas he won the election and his opponent ends up on the council anyway. A very good idea.

I am pleased to see so many individuals interested in serving a limited term to fill the current vacancy. I am also pleased to see that Mayor Salas has developed a clear and transparent process for the Council to use in evaluating the candidates and selecting the interim member of the Council. I hope the City Clerk has been diligent and professional in acknowledging the applications and informing the applicants of the process.

Recall that when the last vacancy arose (I think it was in the early 2000's when Patty Davis resigned due to ill health) that things were not so transparent.

In fact, once the applications were received by the City Clerk's Office by the deadline, which was a Monday, there was no public information about the process. No one knew what would happen next. Surprise.!!!....on the following Friday a few were invited to be interviewed by the Council, with little public notice. The City Clerk's Office sent NO 'thank you for applying' letter or any acknowledgment to the candidates, and individuals were not were advised of the outcome once it was decided to appoint neophyte Patty Chavez to the remainder of the term. It was one of the shadier things to happen on then Mayor Padilla's watch.

I am glad Mayor Salas and the City Clerk seem to be handling this vacancy much more professionally. I will be interested to see how it all turns out.

oskidoll, Every community needs a memory...or two. Thanks for recalling the last appointment. I was reminded by your post that when Steve Padilla was mayor, the council appointed Patty Chavez to the city council. Chavez had no political experience at the time, but has come a long way. She has been the PR person for South Bay Community Services. She recently resigned from the city's districting commission.

Odd how populous Chula Vista is, but how few names continue to circulate. It will be interesting to see who the council appoints this week...or if they somehow choose to go to an election.

Thanks Susan. In re: Patty Chavez, her appointment was a meteoric, if somewhat secretive, rise to the dais, after a sketchy and hastily built resume, entirely at the last minute. Interesting to say the least.

Now, Chavez finds herself in the company of Shirley Horton, et al., with South Bay Community Services, the so-called non-profit organization that exists (and pays hefty salaries to top folks including Horton and Kathy Lembo) entirely on public grants (more than $1mill from the Sweetwater School District alone, as well as the City of CV). Others involved in the ranks of supporters for SBCS include Kevin O'Neill and Cheryl Cox, not to mention David Malcolm and San Diego Gas and Electric Company.

The heartening thing about the list of applicants for the current vacancy is that it includes so many new names. I agree, it will be a most interesting process.

I do hope the City Clerk's office is better equipped to communicate with the applicants this time around. Failure to send at least a 'thank you for applying' acknowledgment is at best a lack of good civic manners.

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