Catching up with John

New councilman served summons challenging his right to the seat

John McCann being served his summons on the dais, January 27, 2015
  • John McCann being served his summons on the dais, January 27, 2015

The makeup of Chula Vista’s city council continues to be shaky. In November, councilmember John McCann won a seat by receiving two votes more than his contestant, former mayor Steve Padilla. But, the match is not over.

Just before the January 27 city-council meeting, McCann was served with a summons, which could potentially unseat him.

Attorney John Moot filed a suit on behalf of Aurora Clark, a Chula Vista resident, in early January, which seeks to have 15 provisional votes counted by the County Registrar of Voters.

In order for the suit to advance, McCann needed to be summoned to a hearing which will now occur on February 2 at 10:00 in department 64.

According to Moot, there were many attempts to serve McCann: “January 20 @ 12:33 pm-No answer at the door, white Honda mini van parked in driveway; January 20 @ 3:40-same response; January 20 @ 7:48 pm-No answer at the door, lights on, garaged door open, blue car inside, white mini van in driveway; and January 21 @ 7:30 am-No answer, white mini-van in driveway.”

In response to a Reader query Moot wrote:

“We made several attempts to serve him first through his lawyer, then at his home and through the city channels. None were successful so as last resort was we served at the council meetings. As the city attorney [Glen Googins] can tell you, I made every effort to avoid having to serve them at the council meeting.

“I do not know if the voters [uncounted provisional ballots] are Democrats, Republicans or decline to state. I suspect they are a mix of both. Certainly if the McCann attorneys want to expand the ballots to be counted on the same legal basis they have a right to do so. It is possible more votes that should have been counted could emerge and it’s our position all valid votes should be counted regardless of who they voted for or how they are registered.”

McCann told Channel 10 on January 30 that the lawsuit was “frivolous” and that Padilla and Moot are both lobbyists for Inland Industries and stand to gain financially from these activities. Inland owns a large piece of industrial land on the edge of Chula Vista’s bayfront.

Another shift in the council’s litigious winds could unseat Steve Miesen, who was appointed on January 13 to fill the seat vacated by Mary Salas Casillas when she was elected to mayor.

On behalf of Chris Shilling, who is the president of the Chula Vista’s Board of Ethics Commission, San Diegans for Open Government threatened to sue the city for alleged Brown Act violations during the appointment process.

The selection procedure for filling the vacant seat began by four councilmembers submitting names. From those unknown names, a smaller group advanced to a public interview. Shilling’s public record request to see the initial round of names was denied.

Shilling, through the services of attorneys Cory Briggs and Livia Borak, threatened to sue the city if the names were not released. On January 28, the city released the list.

In addition to the list, the attorneys argued that when the councilmembers pre-selected candidates to advance to the interview it was an initial round of votes and it was conducted in secret. They asked for this remedy:

The city council and mayor need to: “1) formally and explicitly withdraw the prior votes made 2) properly agendize an open meeting for the selection of candidates for an interview process 3) provide an opportunity for public comment by members of the public…. 4) provide for the open and public vote by the Council and Mayor for candidates to continue onto the interview process.”

Many have expressed doubts about Miesen’s appointment.

He is the CEO of the sole source company, Republic Services, that provides waste services for Chula Vista. According to the statement of economic interest submitted by Miesen, he owns $10,000–$20,000 of Republic Services Stock Options.

On January 26, the Reader asked city attorney Glen Googins via email:

“As Mr. Miesen is a stockholder in Republic, will he be able to vote on upcoming projects in the east, or, for that matter, any new developments on or near the Bayfront?  Would large additions to the company's portfolio increase the value of his stock?”

Googins replied: “We are currently researching that.”

The second question posed by the Reader was:

Should the complexities of Mr. Miesen's situation require him to step down, where would the council appointment clock be? [The council had 45 days to appoint a replacement for Salas Casillas].  Would we [Chula Vista voters] necessarily be looking at an election?

Googins replied: “If for whatever reason Mr. Miesen were to resign, this would create a new vacancy, and City Council would again have 45 days to appoint.”

Share / Tools

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • AddThis
  • Email

More from SDReader


Guess he forgot he's a public servant. Eddie must be so proud of his friend's new attempt at dodging. He taught that grasshopper.

I do wonder about who or what must be John's imaginary friend, or friends in his pocket.

He always seems to use the 'royal we' instead of 'I' when referring to himself...

Interesting that the author chooses to use this challenge to the registrar of voters to smear the councilman. But the real story in CV politics is the secret meeting Mayor Salas had with 20+ party activists and council members. Why no critique of the Mayor's secret meetings? Probably because the author of this story only critiques politicians she disagrees with politically. Just another example of extreme bias in reporting.


Perhaps you were reading another article somewhere else and got confused. Please point out where the author of this article sided with anybody. I see nothing but facts, clear statements made by CV staff. You need to adhere to your own message. If you have knowledge of corruption please share.

What facts in this story are you basing you comments on?

Wow Sjtorres....sounds to me as if you are the one doing the smearing, not the author of a fact-filled story about a legal process that McCann was apparently attempting to dodge.

IF you have facts about anything the Mayor has done that you think are newsworthy you should write an article yourself...just beware of that pesky old rule against defamation.

To help you stay on the right side of the fairness line, you should be reminded that FYI, the Mayor is still a US Citizen and free to meet with whomever she chooses and where and when (the Bill of Rights...look it up...it is the right of Assembly.)

Council members are only prohibited (the Brown Act) from meeting with more than one other Council person at a time if city business is discussed...are you alleging that she did?

Bias in reporting is when not all of the known facts are presented, or not presented in an even-handed way. I believe Susan's article passes that test and is bias-free. The reporter has the same Constitutional right that you and everyone else has...she can critique whomever she pleases as long as it is truthful.

What's your excuse for not knowing (or choosing to ignore) these basic and essential rules?

oski, SJ has weighed in on several of the Sweetwater posts with some interesting comments. They usually come across as "I know some things you don't know, and they negate this whole story." Oddly, or not so oddly, SJ never elaborates or pursues those allegations.

Now that Johnny is on the city council, and not on the SUHSD board, SJ can't blame the reports on the evil, nasty teachers union. If you cannot come up with something better, you can accuse the winner(s) of holding "secret meetings" in contravention of the Brown Act. So, SJ, when/where was the meeting? Who attended? What was discussed and what was decided?

Fill in those blanks, and you'll have some credibility. Stay silent, and your claims will remain incredible.

"IF you have facts about anything the Mayor has done that you think are newsworthy you should write an article yourself...just beware of that pesky old rule against defamation."

Have you read that pesky old rule? Once the Mayor got elected to office, that pesky old rule changed and she would look like quite the thin-skinned ogre if she started tossing out threats of lawsuits against her critics.

The rule about defamation does not change except that it is more difficult to prove against those in public office. Defamation is still defamation!

There must be something at risk for people to be this scrappy. The Bayfront project is a big deal, and will mean untold contracts will be awarded. For those 'business as usual' types, that must represent the Holy Grail, so of course 'sympathetic' council members would be high on the request list.

Why did the Mayor allow the list of potential candidates to be culled to that great degree? It almost looks like the usual backroom wheeling and dealing, but wasn't the Brown Act supposed to stop that sort of thing?

And how like McCann to pull the curtains closed and pretend not to be home (while both cars are there...) so he could avoid being served. Nice. I wonder how he explained that to his kids?

If Chula Vista gets sold down the river the way Sweetwater UHSD was sold down the river (for decades), it looks like we will know who, how and why, even if they do hide away. Sometimes the process of elimination works quite well.

The bottom line is McCann did NOTHING wrong, despite Luzzaro's continued unsubstantiated innuendo.

This is called smear.

On the other hand, Salas held a secret meeting in her home detailed by the Star News, including city council members and union activists to conspire on the council vacancy.

Telling that Salas' crony Luzzaro chooses to totally ignore this activity.

Sj, as I pointed out above, when was the "secret" meeting, who was there, what did they discuss, and what did they decide? It wasn't secret if the Red Star knew about it, was it?

Name some names.


I find it humorous that there would be a meeting of 20 plus and everyone in San Diego new about it including you...but it was secret.

There were tons of tweets about it including from the meeting itself. Pls tell why this was newsworthy. I have not heard that it was illegal. There were several high power mtgs that week. Oh and pls tell Salas I am her crony. That hasn't played out for me yet but gosh it could be great.

Around Chula Vista @OtayRanchTweets · Jan 12 “@StarNewsRobert: CV Mayor Mary Salas says she held a meeting this weekend in her home to discuss appointment process.” Brown Act conflict? 0 replies 1 retweet 2 favorites

We all hope that the council will become stable as there are so many important decisions before the city.

The best thing for CV will be unseating the unstable McCann. Start counting, tick-tock.

While not a McCann fan or being able to recognize Ms. Salas at Sprouts, we are as they say where we are.

So rather than continue the name calling and who is who's lackey, how about we start taking a good solid look at the pending issues within Chula Vista. I will admit I am not on top of what the next few years will bring with regards to the Council.

Other than deteriorating infastructure, a stalled Bayfront project, expansion of projects in the eastern end of the city, what issues will the illustrious council have to contend with, Contracts, Taxes, disaster plans?

Please we are spending too much time on the players and not the plays (Decisions/Votes) or the game (Long Term Planning).

A few of years ago I attempted to serve McCann at a SUHSD board mtg.at Sweetwater High School. I was asked to do it because he was successfully evading everyone else's attempt. Some of you may remember that evening. I approached him and he physically ran from the meeting. He jumped in his car and waved at me with a big smile on his face as he sped out of the parking lot. He later told the press that he received an emergency call and had to leave. When he was served this time before the City Council meeting one of his stupid comments was to vote for McCann. What a bad actor this man is. I must say I did take pleasure in this successful attempt.

Did he really think he could avoid service long enough to prevent the legal action from going forward? I think there are alternate methods of getting service, such as publishing the action as a legal notice in the local newspaper.

Evading service when you are hundreds or thousands of miles away from the court of jurisdiction might be a successful strategy, but for Pete's sake he attends council meetings, and lives in the city. With every passing day he comes across as a bad actor, as you say, and a sort of court jester for the city and So County in general. The real mystery is how he can keep landing on his feet politically in spite of his crazy antics.

Let's all face it - JOHN MCCANN WILL NEVER CHANGE - John will be John. In age he is a man, however that is where the growth stopped - he will forever be one of those persons who never grew out of his childish ways.

His propensity for playing victim, playing the vet card and least we forget his continuous reminders of his car accident has left us wanting him gone from politics and out from in front of the camera.

bbq - least we forget it is the 'players' that carry out the 'plays'.

SjTorres - you Sir/Ms. continuously seem to find yourself rooting for those who find themself involved in questionable behavior - no matter where it is reported (UT) or who does the reporting. The facts are there for you - was it 18 convicted in the corruption cases in the South Bay? And who was the reporter that began reporting on the corruption LONG BEFORE the 'antagonists' were ever heard of? WHY BY GOLLY - IT WAS NONE OTHER THAN SUSAN LUZZARO. TOUCHDOWN!!!!!!!!!!

just my opinion

Honest Tallying AnnieLuv. Hoping for more.

Anyone who wins an election that was not won in a landside needs to be humble as they were only voted in by a small majority of those who voted. They need to work hard to represent all of their constituents and not just the few who elected them. But then one must follow the money to see who really owns the politician.

sjtorres, I appreciate that you feel you have some inside information that brings another viewpoint to the table, but you are difficult to follow, and you leave only innuendo. Can you be more specific about your allegations?

this article is kinda all over the place but at least I found out I got one vote to be interviewed for the city council position! :)

Log in to comment

Skip Ad