Running on a platform of repealing the Welcoming City Proclamation, on Friday, March 8th Hector Gastelum filed papers with the city clerk to run for mayor of Chula Vista.
His candidate’s statement read, “Hector Gastelum will introduce a motion on day 1 to get rid of Sanctuary City status aka Welcoming City. America is the best country in the world—by far— because citizens respect the Rule of Law… and the same will happen to the Marijuana!”
Gastelum, who became director of the Otay Water district 4 with 56 percent of the vote in the last election, came under fire in February 2017 for his anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant tweets. One tweet said, “Let’s pressure OUR Legislators to increase list of so-called #MuslimBan to prevent #SubHuman #Scum from #USA to #MAGA.”
Those aroused attended Otay Water District Board meetings in order to denounce Gastelum. They called for his resignation and promised to launch a recall campaign. Political figures stepped up to denounce Gastelum, including director of Otay Water district 2 Mitch Thompson and Chula Vista City councilmember Steve Padilla.
By April citizens took their concerns to the Chula Vista City Council. Fayaz Nawabi, a leader in the Resist Hector Gastelum movement (who is now running for San Diego City Council District 6) told council members that Gastelum was unfit to hold public office, in particular because his area of public service includes approximately 200 people who attend the Islamic Center of Eastlake.
On April 22nd the Otay Water board slapped a censure on Gastelum in a 4-1 vote. Although he could not be removed because he was elected by voters, the censure did prevent him from sitting on any of the water district’s internal committees and organizations.
Then on April 28th Chula Vista’s City Council voted unanimously to have the city become part of the Welcoming America Network. The Chula Vista police captain, Roxana Kennedy, affirmed that the police would not enforce immigration laws because it was the responsibility of the federal government. At the same meeting, the Chula Vista City Council officially asked for the resignation of Gastelum in a 4-1 vote with councilmember Mike Diaz dissenting.
Gastelum, however, refused to budge. The Chula Vista Star News quoted him in January 2018. “I have to be who I am and I won’t change for anybody,” he said. “So, if people don’t like what I post (on social media) it is on them. I can’t change who I am and I can’t change my opinions to get people to like me.”
Friday was the deadline to file nomination papers for the June 5, 2018 election in Chula Vista. Current Mayor Mary Casillas Salas also filed her papers along with Arthur Kende (teacher) and Daniel Schreck (parks supervisor). In June the two candidates who receive the highest number of votes will go on to the November election.
Reacting to the news of Gastelum’s run, Mitch Thompson wrote in an email, “I am surprised he's not running for governor. He's run for every other office. He should spend some time learning the water business so he can properly represent the people who elected him. He is a young man who hasn't learned to focus yet.”