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The results have been tallied and the Chula Vista City Council has spoken -- through a two-paragraph press release dated September 9. The top three finalists to replace Councilmember John McCann during his yearlong deployment to Iraq are planning commission member Mitch Thompson, contractor Kevin O'Neill, and former interim port commissioner William Hall.

In the month since the council decided to fill McCann's seat in early August, Chula Vista residents were anxious to see how Mayor Cheryl Cox and city councilmembers Pamela Bensoussan, Rudy Ramirez, and Steve Castaneda would select an interim councilmember.

In all, 27 qualified applicants submitted the necessary paperwork to the city clerk's office, but the city council revealed little information on the selection process, leading some residents to feel the process was rigged.

"I didn't know they were releasing the names, but I did expect them to do so hastily. This isn't a surprise," says Ed Herrera, president of the Chula Vista Civic Association and McCann supporter.

Ever since the council decided to fill McCann's seat, the name Herrera expected to see was Mitch Thompson’s, a close friend and political ally to councilmembers Bensoussan, Castaneda, and Ramirez.

"[The Chula Vista Civic Association] predicted that Mitch Thompson was the favorite for the interim position, even before he applied, even before they decided to fill the vacant [council seat]. This camaraderie has opened the floodgates to backroom deals. It just looks politically motivated."

This correspondent asked Thompson on August 12, around the time that his name began to circulate as the frontrunner, to respond to claims that certain councilmembers had handpicked him to fill McCann's seat. "I am touched and honored that some people in Chula Vista think I might be a viable choice based on my involvement in civic affairs in the City over the last few years," replied Thompson. "I trust in the open public process that the Council is using to make a decision that is best for Chula Vista, whoever is ultimately selected to serve."

The city council will hold a special meeting on September 22, at 1 p.m., to conduct interviews with the remaining three candidates and decide who will be the next Chula Vista councilmember.

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Comments

MiguelBlanko Sept. 13, 2009 @ 5:31 a.m.

So what is the solution to keep these people honest?

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ChulaVistan86 Sept. 18, 2009 @ 2:51 a.m.

Well Miguel the only honest and democratic option to appoint a city council member is the Sunnyvale solution. This solution was used previously when a council member was called to active duty in Sunnyvale, CA. The second highest vote getter in the previous election would take over as the temporary council member. Plus this would not allow the corrupt politics that plague Chula Vista city hall to continue. In case you were not aware Mitch Thompson was a financial supporter of all three of the council members that now serve the city. Mitch Thompson endorsed all three council members during there most recent elections. He was also endorsed by council member Castenada, and Ramirez when he unsuccessfully ran for the Southwestern College board. Mitch Thompson also was the spokesman for the Prop A campaign which was an attempt to raise the sales tax in Chula Vista. So obviously even if the current mayor votes no on appointing him to the vacant seat the other three members votes will over power hers which still puts him in the seat. It is obvious that this is a case of you pat our backs and we will pat yours. This just proves to me that all this council wants to do is continue business as usual at city hall and not attempt to change the leadership that is running this city into the ground.

What else I find funny is the person who received the second highest votes in the last election Russ Hall was one of the only applicants who was active in fighting against the proposed sales tax, obviously the council didn't want someone on there who will do what is best for the city, someone who will not let the current members dictate where his vote will go, that is why Russ Hall would have been the best choice to fill the vacant seat in my opinion. It also seems to me that one of the qualifications to get this seat is you have to be a supporter of the sales tax, and not be an independent mind who is willing to stand up for what is right. This is just another case of political corruption and I thank the Chula Vista Civic Association for waiving the red flag and not allowing this to go by unnoticed. What the council needs to know is come elections next year the voters will see your true colors and you can kiss your council seats goodbye.

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ProtectChulaVista Oct. 4, 2009 @ 1:16 p.m.

The San Diego Union Tribune Editorial Confirms it today:

"Thompson didn't even have time for a celebratory glass of punch before he was called upon to seal the back-room deal."

http://www3.signonsandiego.com/stories/2009/oct/04/chula-vistas-back-room/

Chula Vista Civic Association's Press Release after the decision:

http://www.chulavistacivicassociation.org/documents/20515154/News%20Release:%20Political%20Conspiracy%20Shrouds%20Chula%20Vista%20City%20Council%20and%20Port%20Appointments

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