By Barbara Zaragoza
On Sept. 7, 2016, Chula Vista Chamber of Commerce and the Pacific Southwest Association of Realtors hosted a Candidates Forum at Southwestern College. Four candidates — two for District 3 and two for District 4 — debated each other in hopes of gaining your vote for Chula Vista City Council on November 8.
Less than 100 people attended the event.
New Districts For Chula Vista
As the second largest city in San Diego County, Chula Vista has approximately 250,000 residents. The eastern part of the City anticipates an influx of over 60,000 more people within the next two decades, in particular with the coming of a new University and the Millenia Project.
What’s more, last year Chula Vista changed from at large elections for its 4 city council member to district elections. The Mayor (the 5th council member) is still elected at large, but now residents can only vote for council members within their own district. (I covered districting back in July 2015.)
On November 8 residents will have the following options:
For District 3 — Steve Padilla (D) or Jason Paguio (R)
District 3 contains Southwestern Community College and will also have the new University. Currently, the economically important APACE [Asian Pacific American Cultural Economic] corridor also exists here.
For District 4 — Rudy Ramirez (D) or Mike Diaz (R)
District 4 is considered the most underserved area. While the other districts are primed to get the lucrative Bayfront, Millenia or University projects, District 4 has a reputation for crime and seedy bars.
The Candidates Forum
For one hour each, panelists asked candidates about homelessness, rent control, small businesses, the Bayfront development and infrastructure. Panelists included the publisher of La Prensa San Diego, publisher of Our Hometown, journalists from the SD Union Tribune and KPBS, and high school students. The moderator was from the San Diego Business Journal.
Because so few people attended this event meant to serve and inform the public, I have decided not to summarize or transcribe the forum. Instead, I am adding the most important video clips.
Nope — it ain’t pretty. It ain’t The Apprentice either. (You’re welcome.) The intention is to provide a published version of the event that allows Chula Vista residents to make informed choices. So without further ado, in pathetic footage, here’s what the candidates say they’ll do for you — in their own words: