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On May 25 at noon, city councilmember and mayoral candidate Steve Castaneda called a press conference on the steps of city hall to announce his exoneration…again.

In 2006, the district attorney’s office, acting on an anonymous tip, investigated Castaneda for allegedly trying to use his office as city councilmember to purchase a condo at a special rate. Ultimately, he was charged with perjury. In 2008, a jury found him innocent.

Then, in November 2009, Angel Castillo filed charges against Castaneda for election irregularities. According to a 10news.com report from that time, “Castillo found public records filed by Castaneda about his campaign finances. He said those records helped him discover 83 cases of misconduct.” However, Castillo never filed a records request with the city, which leads Castaneda to conclude “that someone fed Castillo the records.”

In 2006, Castaneda was running against Cheryl Cox for mayor; Mayor Cox is currently Castaneda’s major opposition. Castaneda said Cox has been using her recent campaign mailers “to make full political use out of this investigation.”

Julia Sylva was the outside attorney hired by the City to look into Castaneda’s alleged violations from 2006 and 2008. On the steps of city hall, Castaneda read from Sylva’s findings: “Therefore it appears that the complainant [Castillo] is forum-shopping and that he filed the complaint to keep the allegations alive… It is unfortunate that the complainant chose to make serious allegations which compelled the City to respond to what actually were frivolous allegations. The City expended valuable resources to prove him wrong.”

Valuable resources were a dominant theme at the press conference. Castaneda said the investigation will cost over $25,000, and it comes at a time when the City is struggling financially.

Alicia McGinnis, a community member who attended the press conference, said in an interview later in the day, “They spent a million dollars when Bonnie Dumanis did her investigation…at the end of this it came up that nothing was there. Then, when Steve Castaneda is running for mayor, all of a sudden we have more charges. Think about it: if he could have spent all the money he spent on attorneys on his campaign, what would happen? And to use our city funds to do an investigation that they knew was unfounded because it had already been investigated five years ago, how does it make sense to anybody?”

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Comments

Founder May 27, 2010 @ 8:42 a.m.

Steve Castaneda is the BEST choice for future of Chula Vista and lots of $pecial interest folks don't like that he is not on the take as this article shows...

I hope the folks of Chula Vista realize what a great Candidate they have running and support him instead of voting for "more of the same" Candidates that are just wasting valuable City funds instead of using them wisely to make Chula Vista a Better, Safer City!

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sagatana May 27, 2010 @ 8:57 a.m.

Cheryl Cox is using her bully pulpit to eliminate competition. It's the way those guys do what they do. Her last election, she accused everyone in the city of wrong-doing, perceived or real, including Councilman Castaneda (remember she wanted her buddy elected).

Yet Cox has been in office now for nearly four years and she hasn't done anything but isolate herself from the rest of the council.

Cox cannot garner a consensus, she argues and belittles with constituents who appear before the council, and she's botched handling the city's finances worse than any previous mayor.

Yet, Cox still continues to blame past administrations for the ills of the city.

Never you mind she has tried to raise taxes upwards of four times (what a great Republican!), she has paid consultants tens of thousands of dollars to do studies in order to help her buddies defeat her enemies bond measure (this was the same year we could not afford a Fourth of July, and don't even get started on reduced library hours), Cox hired a known sexual harasser in former City Manager David Garcia and then basically condoned his porn surfing behavior by merely sending him a mayor letter of admonishment asking him not to do that and Cox even had a chief of staff who she let get paid by another entity to do that entity's job on Chula Vista taxpayer's dime.

Yeah, you're right ............ Steve Castaneda is a crook.

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thacerro May 27, 2010 @ 10:24 a.m.

These ridiculous charges against council people that have no basis in fact have to stop. The city can not afford all these unnecessary investigations. The negative advertising by Tom Shephard and the Lincoln Club all started when Cheryl Cox first ran for mayor. I don't know about the rest of Chula Vistans but I want this to stop. If that means getting rid of the instigator of it all then I hope we do this June 8.

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CVblogger May 27, 2010 @ 12:37 p.m.

What a joke! Castaneda is a cheating politican and has skirted the law for years. OJ Simpson was aquitted of murder and if anyhone thinks HE was innocent then I have a bridge to sell you. Not finding someone guilty and their actually being innocent are completely different. Guys like Castaneda eventually get caught...just like OJ. It's in their nature!

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VigilantinCV May 27, 2010 @ 7:11 p.m.

What in the world does OJ Simpson have to do with frivolous charges being filed against Steve Castaneda? Fact is that someone was successful in getting Angel Castillo to file 83 bogus charges at a council meeting against Castaneda. An outside attorney found none were valid. This little witchhunt cost us thousands of dollars. Now Derrick Roach is getting his 15 minutes of fame by filing charges against Mitch Thompson which will cost us more thousands of dollars. If Mayor Cox were a leader stopping this would be a high priority. NOT LIKELY!

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Founder June 6, 2010 @ 12:06 p.m.

What is it about San Diego "Area" Politics that causes good folks to accept the level of name calling that we have and once those accusations are PROVED UNFOUNDED don't hold those who caused the furor in the first place not only responsible but also just stop listening to them?

What's next San Diego, America's Greediest City?

Clean elections will help!

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