By Barbara Zaragoza
I’ve been covering South Bay elections all week, but the most important in the June 7 primary is Chula Vista’s City Council seat for District 4.
In July 2015, the City Council approved 4 Districts for Chula Vista. That means Chula Vista residents will only be able to vote for people running within the boundaries of our specific districts. It also means our council representative must live in the District for which they are running.
Two District Seats are up for election in 2016: District 3 and District 4. Because only two candidates qualified for the District 3 elections–Steve Padilla and Jason Paguio–they will go directly to the November ballot.
That leaves District 4.
This district is located in the southwestern corner of the City. In terms of area, it is the smallest and includes the San Diego Country Club and the historic Salt Works. The total population is 60,966 and 75.68% identify as Latino.
District 4 also is considered to be a struggling part of the city. The candidates need to address homeless issues and there are a number of mobile homes in the area, so issues like rent control are important. The elementary schools in that area are also struggling, many ranking 6 out of 10 at Greatschools.org. Castle Park High School is known for its dilapidated facilities. (Updated 4/17/2016)
The bottom line: a major reason Chula Vista created districts is precisely so that areas like District 4 receive the proper representation. So who best to serve the needs of District 4?
Four men are running for one District 4 council seat: Mike Diaz, Rudy Ramirez, Eduardo Reyes and Emmanuel Soto. You can read their ballot statements, ballot designation and their Form 700’s on the Chula Vista Government website.
Here’s a summary.
Eduardo Reyes: Trustee On The Chula Vista Elementary School Board
If you vote solely along party lines, the San Diego County Democrats say that two democrats are running for this seat: Rudy Ramirez and Eduardo Reyes. They are endorsing Eduardo Reyes.
Eduardo Reyes was first elected to the Chula Vista Elementary School Board in November 2014 where he now serves as President. He has had many endorsements during his election to the CVESB.
Rudy Ramirez: Former Chula Vista City Councilman
Rudy Ramirez has received $320–the maximum amount of campaign contribution from a single person allowed–from Mark Watton of the Otay Water District. He has also received a campaign contribution from a well-known member of Crossroads II, a community group which has advocated for the betterment of Chula Vista for several decades.
Ramirez was a Chula Vista City Councilman from 2006 to 2015. He was termed out and was succeeded by current councilmember John McCann (who is not up for re-election this year). Ramirez ran for California State Assembly District 79 back in 2012, but also lost during the blanket primary in June. He then ran for the Chula Vista Elementary School District Board of Education in November 2014, but lost.
Voice of San Diego ran an article about Ramirez dated June 2014 when Ramirez cast the only vote against MTS’s proposed $240 million operating budget. Ramirez maintained that the public transportation in the region is systemically inequitable and, by voting against, he wanted to address the inhumane treatment of riders.
Emmanuel Soto: Worked At San Diego Youth Symphony
The San Diego County Republican Party endorses Emmanuel Soto. Similar to the conservative County Board of Supervisors, who a while back told KPBS that their main concern was public safety, so too Soto maintains on his website that he is most concerned with strengthening public safety.
He also says, “Homelessness has quickly become an area of concern and frustration among many residents of District 4. We have to first understand that often times homelessness can be a result of disabilities, mental health issues, domestic violence or economic instability. That is why as your Councilmember, I would like to focus on seeking out programs that can provide services and housing to veterans, families and individuals facing homelessness. Allowing individuals to stabilize their lives will be a priority in addressing the homelessness issues in District 4.”
He served as a Cultural Arts Commissioner and now is the Parks and Recreation Commissioner. He also worked with the San Diego Youth Symphony and was mentioned in VoSD.
Mike Diaz: Retired Firefighter
Mike Diaz is not endorsed by the Democratic or Republican parties. He is a proud firefighter and, like Soto, emphasizes public safety. In his candidate’s statement, he explains that he retired from the Escondido Fire Department after 27 years of service. He has lived in west Chula Vista for over fifty years.
He ran for Chula Vista City Council in November 2000, but lost to Jerry Rindone (who is currently running for San Diego School Board of Education). During that election, Mike received an impressive 47.69% of the vote.
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