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Chula Vista's city council moved a step closer toward district elections in their July 17 meeting. The Charter Review Commission presented their report/recommendations to the council. Council members refined the proposals. Though the discussion on the dais was politically charged, the most frequently repeated wish was to "de-politicize the process."

The council will meet again on August 7 to finalize the ballot language for district elections. Voters will decide the outcome in November.

Council member Steve Castaneda said that his two goals for the process were to ensure that people who eat, sleep and work in a district, get elected from that district. His second goal was that the largest number of voters possible participate in electing their representatives.

The council majority concurred with those ideas. Candidates will be elected by district in the June primary and will advance to city-wide elections in November.

The majority of the council members also opposed the idea that a candidate could be elected in the primary with 50% + 1 votes. The argument made by several council members was that the June primary has an increasingly smaller turnout, which means city officials might be elected by fewer and fewer people.

By way of example, Castaneda pointed to Chula Vista's last mayoral election. Mayor Cheryl Cox was elected in the primary with a 57% majority, according to Castaneda. However, voter turnout was only 30%. Finishing the math, Castaneda suggested that it was a matter of concern that only 16% of the registered voters in Chula Vista elected the mayor. Castaneda stressed that though his analogy was specific to the last mayoral election, his concern was about democracy and any elected position.

Although the Charter Review report recommended that a commission be established to draw up the district boundaries, the majority of the council members favored a "simplified" alternative. For example, council member Patricia Aguilar suggested the city clerk, with some assistance, might be able to process the data and draw the boundaries. The council will consider other alternatives August 7.

Council member seats will be phased into the process of district elections. No sitting council member will go through the process.

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Comments

VigilantinCV July 20, 2012 @ 9:51 a.m.

I did not listen to the whole discussion, but not once did I hear the principal unique feature of Chula Vista mentioned -- old Chula Vista on the west side, new Chula Vista on the east side; lower-income Chula Vista on the west side, wealthier Chula Vista on the east side; planned communities on the east side, un-planned communities on the west side.

The solution should be obvious: within the boundaries of Chula Vista, draw three EAST-WEST lines -- that would result in four districts, EACH OF WHICH would include west AND east Chula Vista. Each would have a Hispanic majority. Each would have rich and poor. Each would have planned and un-planned communities. Then wiggle the lines to make the population numbers equal.

Ta-da -- done. You're welcome.

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Pancho July 20, 2012 @ 2:42 p.m.

Sounds too simple for the three amigos on council right now that run the show.

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Susan Luzzaro July 20, 2012 @ 10:48 a.m.

VigilantinCV,

I think you propose an interesting idea--though I have a lot to learn about districts and boundaries. However, your proposal would have the added benefit of uniting the eastside and the westside around issues.

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Pancho July 20, 2012 @ 2:40 p.m.

Wow! Castaneda still sounds bitter from losing the mayoral primary with only garnishing less than 30% of the vote. Newsflash to Castaneda: after your recent acts of ignoring the public during the June 28, 2012 council meeting, you are done as a politician in the South Bay. There are thousands of people that will vote, just to make sure they are no longer voting for you! Your arrogance and lack of knowledge was most evident when you consistently rolled your eyes at the throngs of speakers that came to speak before you on that day and you still ignored them, claiming they were not real Chula Vistans.

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Susan Luzzaro July 20, 2012 @ 8:15 p.m.

Hi Pancho, just to be clear. You say "Castaneda still sounds bitter..." So, I'm not sure what you mean by "garnishing less than 30% of the vote." Unclear what or who you refer to with the word garnishing. The stats were to indicate that only 30% of the voters turned out and that 16% voted for the mayor. So who garnished?

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Pancho July 20, 2012 @ 9:41 p.m.

Hi Susan,

See link (page 11 of 13): http://www.sdcounty.ca.gov/voters/Eng/archive/201006bull.pdf

Castaneda got 29.66% of the vote for Mayor, so yes, if he is still talking about it, he is bitter. Sorry for the confusion, I assumed, that since you wrote about Castaneda's experience running for Mayor, you also new the results from the election. I don't understand the math that you quoted him saying, but that may just be me.

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VigilantinCV July 20, 2012 @ 10:01 p.m.

Pancho -- Cox got 18,771 votes in the Primary -- there are a bit over 100,000 registered voters in Chula Vista, so she became Mayor with only 18% of the REGISTERED voters (but 57% of those few who actually voted). So that is Castaneda's point. Only 33,000 people voted in the Primary -- probably double that number voted in the General Election in November, so that is why Castaneda wants to the top two REGARDLESS of the Primary vote to also have to run in the General.

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Pancho July 22, 2012 @ 6:22 p.m.

Thank you for the continued clarification on matters. The general election from November 2010 looks like about 54,000 people voted, hardly the double you and Castaneda presumed there would be (see page 7 0f 19):
http://www.sdcounty.ca.gov/voters/Eng/archive/201011bull.pdf

So in essence, by your numbers, 54% of the electorate voted. Then again I'm not really a math person. Nevertheless, I'm sure we can all split hairs over the numbers, but I think Castaneda's point is on a very slippery slope.

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