Chula Vista news & stories

Breaking news and stories about Chula Vista, California. For event listings, blog entries, photos, and places to go in Chula Vista, visit the Chula Vista neighborhood page.

Standardized tests shunned by South Bay parents

“My son had been experiencing headaches”

One night last year, Gretel Rodriguez was playing the word game Hangman with her son who attends HedenKamp Elementary in the Chula Vista Elementary School District. He chose an unusual word. When Rodriguez asked him ...

School officials Gandara and Sandoval plead guilty

But what about the sentences?

Two major players in the South Bay corruption case, former Sweetwater superintendent Jesus Gandara and former Sweetwater trustee Gregorio Sandoval, both plead guilty to a conspiracy felony and a misdemeanor in a Chula Vista courthouse ...

Ed talks out of school

Sweetwater High teachers complain of class size, move one step closer to strike

The imminent strike action of teachers, librarians, and nurses in the Sweetwater Union High School district has gone one step forward and two steps back. On March 27 Superintendent Ed Brand called a press conference ...

Savoie Eatery hits Otay Ranch

An unexpected bid for fine dining supremacy from a Mexican seafood dynasty

Coming from the group behind the Karina’s Mexican Seafood restaurants, Eastlake’s new Savoie Eatery is...interesting, to say the least. Savoie has prime real estate in the Otay Ranch Town Center mall, which puts it in ...

Rankled by Sweetwater district meeting cancellation

Teachers, public, and a trustee espouse importance of dialogue before strike

A Sweetwater Union High School District board meeting was scheduled for March 17. The trustees were to consider several contentious issues: the annual evaluation of superintendent Ed Brand (which is months overdue); negotiations with the ...

Sweetwater trustees to vote on property sale

But the land is already listed for sale?

On March 17, Sweetwater trustees will vote on whether or not to sell district property deemed "surplus." The property, located at 435 Third Avenue in Chula Vista, was originally purchased for new district headquarters; proceeds ...

Sweetwater district teachers vote on strike

Healthcare cost, salary, class size, classroom safety at issue

Sweetwater Union High School District teachers will be taking a strike vote March 13–14. The vote, according to Roberto Rodriguez, president of Sweetwater Education Association, is to authorize the association’s board of directors to go ...

Community garden springs up in Chula Vista

“It's about people…. The kids don’t even know where their food comes from.”

Scrawny saplings are in the ground in rows — apple, peach, avocado, tangerine — and a gardener says you may be able to pick fruit from these trees two years from now. Landscaping tools are ...

Chula Vista candidates declare intent to run June 3

“Here’s hoping someone of substance steps up [for mayoral seat.]”

Chula Vista candidates were slow to step up for the June 3 municipal election. Many waited until the last day, March 7, to turn in their nomination papers. Cheryl Cox will be termed out as ...

Chula Vista receives EPA award

For climate mitigation and adaptation strategies throughout the city

This week the City of Chula Vista received the Environmental Protection Agency's Organizational Leadership Award for reducing greenhouse emissions. Only two other organizations nationwide — the University of California, Irvine, and the Sprint telecommunications company ...

Big plans for Chula Vista’s Vogue Theater

Opened in 1945, dormant since 2006

The building permit to renovate the Vogue Theater has been issued by the City of Chula Vista, giving the green light to bringing the currently dormant historical building back to life. Janice Kluth, the senior ...

Port district holds SD Bay master-plan forum

How about opening a southern entrance?

The San Diego Unified Port District is embarking on the first phase of a comprehensive master plan for the San Diego Bay, which is expected to take a total of five to seven years to ...

Sweetwater district meeting marked by chaos

Four-member board leads to bottlenecking on votes

Sweetwater Union High School District slid deeper into the tar pit February 18. After former trustee Arlie Ricasa was obliged to retire in December, the four-member board was unable to come to a consensus on ...

Plans for Chula Vista’s Orange Avenue park discussed

Concerns expressed for homeless habitués and leash-free dog area

The City of Chula Vista held a meeting in the Orange Avenue library February 12. Three representatives from the city, including landscape designers, explained to a roomful of residents the timeline for the construction of ...

County board of education occupies Sweetwater

Superintendent Ed Brand and nearly all board members not in attendance

On February 6, the San Diego County Board of Education held a meeting in the Sweetwater Union High School District boardroom to receive community input on the issue of area representation within the Sweetwater district. ...

Castle Park Middle School principal punches back!!

“Who is this Susan luzzaro bitch?!”

Throughout 2013, the Reader reported on Castle Park Middle School’s extracurricular priorities: recruiting Sweetwater students to Alliant, a costly private university; extending the Steven Hawking charter school into the Castle Park Middle site; questionable spending ...

Judge España goes easy on Southwestern College VP

Nicholas Alioto's felony reduced to misdemeanor

South Bay residents expressed disenchantment with decisions being handed out in judge Ana España’s South Bay courtroom on January 30; then, España reduced former Southwestern College vice-president of business affairs Nicholas Alioto’s felony to a ...

Sweetwater Union and Chula Vista Elementary districts to merge?

“It is a very complex process, and there are more questions than answers right now."

School-district unification raised its controversial head again at a January 28 Chula Vista City Council meeting. Councilwoman Mary Salas, who is a candidate for Chula Vista mayor in November 2014, moved to agendize a council ...

Classroom shenanigans in Sweetwater school district?

Teachers and public question need for charter school at Castle Park Middle

Administrators at Castle Park Middle School created controversy in August 2013 when they spent thousands to improve the school’s appearance for secretary of state Arne Duncan’s visit. Another controversial Castle Park makeover is now under ...

Sweetwater district corruption trial postponed

Defense attorney Pfingst requests delay

In a Chula Vista courthouse on January 24, Paul Pfingst, defense attorney for Jesus Gandara — the former Sweetwater Union High School District superintendent indicted on corruption charges — asked for a postponement of the ...

Final competition of Chula Vista robotics league

A game slightly reminiscent of basketball

The Vex Robotics League of Chula Vista held its final competition for the year at Sweetwater High School on January 18. While many praise robotics programs for their connection to the new educational buzz word ...

Chula Vista park trail stuck in bureaucratic muck

Fairy shrimp discovery leads to quagmire of legal pondering

The county and the Sweetwater Authority are still trying to figure out which agency is going to be responsible for moving a closed trail around a newly discovered patch of fairy shrimp, an endangered species. ...

Picket at Sweetwater trustee Cartmill's home

Superintendent Brand on Hawaiian holiday…skipping his evaluation?

Sweetwater teachers who are on the verge of a strike over health benefits, class sizes, and campus safety issues picketed board president Jim Cartmill’s house early January 18. There are only 30 days left for ...

Man suffers fall on Chula Vista trolley platform

Commuter back-up on southbound platform

Shortly after 3:30 p.m. on Friday afternoon, January 17, paramedics and firefighters responded to a report of a man who had succumbed to a head injury after a fall. The incident occurred at the Palomar ...

Free spay clinic for South Bay dogs

Only for chihuahuas and pit bulls, whose populations have boomed

Increases in the chihuahua and pit bull populations have led the Chula Vista city government to offer a free spaying clinic specifically for South Bay owners of those breeds of dogs. “A serious pet-overcrowding issue ...

No process yet to replace Sweetwater trustee Ricasa

Only three board members show up at special meeting

No one was surprised to see that the Sweetwater Union High School District board failed to agree on a process to replace former trustee Arlie Ricasa at a January 14 special meeting. (Ricasa pleaded guilty ...

Defendant bites back, sues IRS

Government said Three Rivers Provider Network founder stashed away money

In March of last year, a curious lawsuit was filed in superior court against the Internal Revenue Service; the plaintiff was "John Doe Company." Now, two healthcare-related publications, Healthcare IT News and Modern Healthcare, have ...

No tough justice for former Southwestern College official

John Wilson’s 16 counts reduced to a single misdemeanor

South Bay judge Ana España and district attorney Bonnie Dumanis do not appear to be on the same page. In a widely viewed January 2012 news report, Dumanis declared that “the widespread corruption uncovered in ...

Homeless in Chula Vista

Increase of over 16 percent from ’12 to ’13

In November, shortly before Thanksgiving, the City of Chula Vista sent heavy equipment and personnel to clean out homeless encampments in the Lower Sweetwater Valley. Tractors and trucks worked all day and then returned about ...

Chula Vista resident files class action lawsuit against Target for network breach

One San Diego resident has taken aim against big-box retailer Target and the retailer's recent admission that their credit card database had been compromised, revealing the credit card and pin numbers for nearly 40 million ...

Few details on Sweetwater district's student-data-sharing deal

Was South Bay Community Services "holding up money" for agreement?

A data-sharing agreement between Sweetwater Union High School District and South Bay Community Services/Promise Neighborhoods continues to be withheld from the Reader and the public from whom the data was collected. South Bay Community Services ...

Chula Vista's UltraStar theater to close

Bye-bye, dollar hot dogs and bargain tickets; hello AMC

There will be less options for low-budget South Bay moviegoers in 2014 when the UltraStar Cinemas movie theater in Chula Vista shuts down early in the year. "We've been purchased by AMC," said Cheryl Dodge, ...

Sweetwater school district invites more suspicion

Former felonious port commissioner David Malcolm appointed to committee

The Sweetwater Union High School District has four pieces of property it wants to sell. At the December 9 board meeting, Tom Calhoun, the executive director of facilities for Sweetwater, gave a presentation on asset ...

Sweetwater trustee Arlie Ricasa to resign

“I accepted gifts...with a value of $2099 and I did not report them."

Sweetwater Union High School District trustee Arlie Ricasa, who had initially been charged with 28 felony and misdemeanor counts in the South Bay’s schools corruption case, pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor today, December 18. Early ...

Santa and Grinch visit Sweetwater District meeting

Teacher negotiations at impasse, trustees may resign Friday

The continued presence of three JDS security guards at Sweetwater Union High School District board meetings is a monthly reminder of the deteriorated relations between the district, the public, and teachers. Even with the presence ...

Former South Bay schools officials have day in court

Sweetwater and Southwestern administrators make pleas in corruption cases

On December 6, readiness conferences began in the South Bay courthouse at 1:30 p.m. and lasted until 4:00. All of the Sweetwater Union High School District and Southwestern College defendants appeared in court with the ...

Sweetwater district spent big for Arne Duncan visit

$17,000 stage, $3000 worth of flags, $5000 in banners

When Arne Duncan visited Sweetwater’s Castle Park Middle School in September, it created quite a stir — not because he is the U.S. secretary of education but because there were concerns that the school, and ...

All Things BBQ: Lil' Alex BBQ

A little bit about a new-ish Chula Vista barbecue joint and a lot about why there's no rushing barbecue.

Another entry in the barbecue-without-a-smoker category is Lil’ Alex BBQ (4020 Bonita Road, Chula Vista), a self-described “mesquite wood grill” where the meats get their smokiness from a smoky grill instead of the authentic barbecue ...

Gloria Allred files sexual harassment suit against Eyecandy Showgirls in Chula Vista

Celebrity lawyer will represent clients who felt pressured to buy nude lap dances from so-called "fatties."

Even as her sexual harassment lawsuit against ex-Mayor Bob Filner gropes its way through the courts, Gloria Allred is taking on a new challenge: suing hippy strippers for pushing their portly product on queasy customers ...

Sweetwater teachers may strike over district policies

Health-care plans, class sizes, trust at issue

Sweetwater teachers held demonstrations at the October and November school-board meetings. For over a month, many teachers have been “working-to-rule” (performing no unpaid jobs) and picketing before and after school. Outside the November 18 board ...

Sunny Donuts and the incoming Dunkin's

As America's favorite donut chain prepares to descend on San Diego, a local franchise preserves the past in perpetuity.

Dunkin’ Donuts’ imminent arrival in San Diego is understandably big news; perhaps even more so now that the company has officially returned to California with the opening of a store in Barstow! San Diego’s glut ...

Future Chula Vista sewer bills discussed at breakfast

Percentage increases may be hard to stomach for some

Chula Vista sewer bills were a surprisingly popular topic at city-council member Pat Aguilar’s Third Thursday breakfast. Over 25 people attended the November 21 gathering to listen to city engineering staff discuss two unpopular proposals: ...

Chula Vista school admin moves forward with Common Core Standards

Resistant parents say they are ignored and harassed

The Chula Vista Elementary School District had their first public hearing November 13 on how to deploy 4.6 million state dollars to implement “Common Core State Standards” and the “Smarter Balanced Assessments.” The rollout of ...

South Bay skaters hit the slope

"We scream 'car!’ if a car is coming."

In high school, Joshua Aguirre would gaze across the 805 freeway from Hilltop High’s campus at a steep incline that curved wide at the top, had a sharp turn near the bottom, and ended in ...

Sweetwater Athletics Hall of Fame scrutinized

How much spent? Who chose Ed Brand’s name for award?

Most people were expelled from the October 23 Sweetwater Union High School District board meeting. So, public comment allowed prior to specific agenda items was not so public. To several trustees and apparently superintendent Ed ...

South Bay schools defendants get day in court

Felonies dropped against former Southwestern superintendent Chopra

Readiness hearings for Southwestern College, Sweetwater Union High School District, and San Ysidro School District defendants were held October 29 in the South Bay courthouse. Defendants indicted in pay-to-play corruption cases had been ordered to ...

Memelas' Thai tacos disappoint

Confused Mexican-Thai fusion in Bonita hits all the wrong notes.

My imagination went bonkers over Memelas (3001 Bonita Road, Chula Vista). One look at the sign that said TACOS + THAI + ROCK was all it took. Visions of hypothetical molé drunken noodles and chicken ...

Cops kick out public from Sweetwater board meeting

Trustees retreat to back room upon realizing massive turnout

Only one month after Donna Frye, on behalf of Californians Aware, addressed the Sweetwater Union High School District board on potential Brown Act violations, the superintendent and trustees swept the meeting room clean of anyone ...

Donna Frye asks Sweetwater school board to make information available to the public

While she’s at the meeting, trustees allow an earlier public comment

Donna Frye attended the September 23 Sweetwater Union High School District board meeting to offer superintendent Ed Brand and the trustees some legal advice. Frye volunteers for an open-government, nonprofit organization called Californians Aware (CalAware). ...

South Bay mayoral candidate forum held in San Ysidro

Disregarded candidates invited; Faulconer and Fletcher no-shows

Forty-eight people sat in the audience as mayoral candidates answered questions about the South Bay on Wednesday, October 16, at San Ysidro High School. The gathering, hosted jointly by the San Ysidro Chamber of Commerce ...