Trash man cometh not

Conflict of interest concerning Chula Vista councilman Steve Miesen still unresolved

Steve Miesen’s conflicting interests as garbage man and councilman don’t go unnoticed.
  • Steve Miesen’s conflicting interests as garbage man and councilman don’t go unnoticed.

The yearlong legal battle over the status of Chula Vista city councilman Steve Miesen, who also happens to be a top executive with the city’s trash-pickup provider, Republic Services, shows no signs of abating soon. Miesen was appointed by the city council in January 2015 to serve out the final two years of the term of Mary Salas following her election as mayor. That brought a yet-to-be resolved lawsuit by resident Chris Shilling alleging that Miesen got the council seat through secret skullduggery. Further controversy ensued regarding whether the council had violated the California Political Reform Act, which the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission said it hadn’t. Now comes the commission again, this time with an opinion barring Miesen from voting on permits for a fancy new residential and commercial complex at Third & K. The five-story Vista Del Mar project, designed by Studio E architect John Sheehan for developer Hamid Mani, is controversial among some residents for its size and proximity to a single-family neighborhood.

The state’s political watchdog says lucrative trash generation by new residents is the issue with Miesen. “As the Division Manager [for Republic], the Councilmember is responsible for overseeing day-to-day operations, maximizing productivity, optimizing profitability, approving expenses, and managing the budget, among other responsibilities,” says a November 12 letter to the city from commission chief counsel Hyla P. Wagner. “The Councilmember receives a salary from Republic for serving as a Division Manager, and in addition to his salary, he is also eligible for a performance bonus from Republic. The performance bonus may be up to 25% of [Miesen’s] salary and is determined based on several weighted components.”

The letter describes the Vista Del Mar development as “a mixed-use project consisting of 80 residential condominium units, a common area, commercial space, and parking,” adding that “Republic would earn $20,172 in additional annual revenue” hauling away newly created trash. Thus, opines Wagner, if the city council votes to approve the project, Miesen “will be more likely to receive a higher performance bonus from Republic based on that additional revenue.” As a result, the opinion concludes, Miesen should be prohibited “from taking part in the decision on whether to approve the development because the decision will have a reasonably foreseeable material financial effect on his interest in Republic.”

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Steve Miesen was a poor choice because of his position with a company providing exclusive services to the City. There were no doubt many talented business owners who could have been chosen that did not provide direct services to the City. Miesen has every incentive to influence the Council in favor of the company that provides him incentives to increase profits and business.

Absolutely right, Alex. While there are exceptions I know, in most cities in the county and state, such a built-in conflict of interest would have precluded a guy like Miesen from any consideration. But in So County this sort of thing is now commonplace. Just recall the recent scandals involving school districts and board members/superintendents in that area.

I wonder if he voted for any of the variances in Eastern CV that led to more residential units? There are 2 specific areas the council allowed variances on recently so apartments or condos could be built. If so, why wouldn't the same reasoning apply?

The City professional civil service staff handle these contract issues. A guy who is going to keep a city council seat warm for one year only, and will be recused from any discussions or votes on said issue, is not a problem. So don't try to invent one.

The dark secret that is being kept is that Miesen is INELIGIBLE to serve according to state law. The city attorney and mayor have ignored this while the state attorney general won't touch this problem with a ten foot pole. Having filed the ethics complaints earlier this year, i can tell you first hand about the intentional cover-up and obfuscation by Glenn Googins and Mary Salas. By state law definition Miesen is considered a "consultant" to the city in his job with Republic. The law clearly states that a 'consultant" is considered a "pulbic official" therefore creating "incompatible offices". In short the law says you can't hold two public offices at the same time. Reference: ca gov. code sec. 82048 and 18700.3 This has been a massive cover up. City Attorney Googins and Mayor Salas are wholly and completely responsible. I am shocked that no news reporters have picked any of this up. Why?

Just one more element of the "Mystery of South San Diego County", the continuing saga of interests so special that they lead the "leaders".

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Wow Jerey, lots of unsubstantiated falsehoods and innuendo there. Why don't you blame Mary Salas, she's the one that put him on the council.

Besides, Steve Miesen is and has been considered a highly ethical pillar of the community for decades.

I am Jerry Thomas and always use my real name in comments. I confront people on issues to their face. I advocate for the Southwest Chula Vista, libraries, park, and schools. I consider Steve Miesen a man of integrity and principles. I want to make it very clear to my friends and neighbors that Chula Vista Jerry is not me; Chula Vista Jerry is a phony to make such an attack and not use his real name. I agree with SJTORRES statement “Steve Meisen has been a highly ethical pillar of the community for decades.” Tell your full name Chula Vista Jerry or be a hypocritical coward - SHAME ON YOU.

Good for you, Jerry Thomas. As a matter of fact, Mr. Miesen has never been allowed to vote on any development matter, and he would not have been allowed to vote on the 3rd & K project. I don't think the writer of that article did his homework.

This is an example of corporate greed, Mr. steve is out for himself and his corporation. I have been following the city council from the 70s. Mr. steve is the worst. Even if he did not have these major conflicts of interest, he doesn't seem to know what he is doing and is the worst councilman I have ever seen. I have to defend mi hermana mayor salas. Mr. steve never told her that he owned stock with trash company, or that he helped negotiated trash contract with the city and that he gets a 25% bonus at the trash company. Mr. steve must go él es corrupto

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