Chula Vista's mayorship — Cheryl Cox, termed out; Shirley Horton, not interested
  • Chula Vista's mayorship — Cheryl Cox, termed out; Shirley Horton, not interested
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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 mayor in December, and the hope was for a wide field and fresh faces running for the mayoral seat.

The candidates for mayor are Jerry Rindone, who identifies himself as an educator and a business owner; Mary Salas, who is currently serving as a council member and was formerly a California assembly member; and Pamela Bensoussan, who will be termed out as a council member in December 2016.

Salas previously served as a council member from 1996–2004. Rindone served 16 years on the city council and also did a 4-year stint at the County Board of Education; he was defeated in his bid for a second term in 2012.

On March 7, Dan Muñoz, editor of La Prensa San Diego, espressed the wish for additional candidates that many community members had voiced. Muñoz wrote in his column “Tezozomoc Speaks”:

“Not exactly breaking news but it looks like Shirley Horton is done with politics and will not be running for mayor of Chula Vista… que lastima… doesn’t leave Chula Vistans with much choice… Mary Salas and Jerry Rindone??? Here’s hoping someone of substance steps up…”

The surprise came later, however, when people learned through a San Diego Rostra posting that Shirley Horton, former California assembly member and Chula Vista mayor, filed at the 11th hour to run for the State Board of Equalization.

The Chula Vista mayor’s race may be influenced by Sweetwater Union High School District’s problems.

Salas is working on a unification plan that could potentially break up Sweetwater and create several South Bay school districts. Further discussion on unification is expected to take place at council meetings in the coming weeks.

The unification plan has caused rifts in the South Bay in the past, and some in the community don’t want to see a district that is perceived as running well — Chula Vista Elementary, for example — saddled with Sweetwater problems or debt. For those people, Rindone, with his background in education, might pose an alternative.

Sweetwater plays into the upcoming race in another interesting way. There are six candidates for council seat 1: Robert Corcilius, a small-business owner; John McCann, businessman, Sweetwater trustee, and Navy reservist; Steve Padilla, small-business owner; Jason Paguio, business owner and commissioner; Heideh Rivera, salesperson and homemaker; and Scott Vinson, businessman and planning commissioner.

McCann and Padilla have name recognition. Besides being a first-term Sweetwater school-board member, McCann is a former city-council member. Padilla is a former council member and mayor of Chula Vista and served briefly as a port commissioner.

McCann’s term as Sweetwater trustee is up in November. If McCann makes it into the November runoff for council seat 1, will he walk away from his Sweetwater trustee position?

The race for council seat 2 is impacted with candidates as well. The candidates are Patricia Aguilar, who is running for her second term as city councilwoman; Hector Gastelum, identified as a businessman; David Gonzalez, Jr., business consultant; Willie Harris, office manager and parent; Dan Smith, small businessman; and Michael Spethman, businessman.

The list may thin next week. Candidates who filed on the last day still need to have 20 people who signed their nomination papers vetted by the city clerk.

Glen Googins is running unopposed for his second term as city attorney.

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anniej March 10, 2014 @ 6:41 p.m.

Regarding Council Seat 1 - well,,,,,, one person I will NOT encourage family and friends residing in Chula Vista to vote for is John McCann!!!!!!! While it would be an easy form of ridding our school district of this do NOTHING Board Member - I love the city of Chula Vista far too much to plague them with such a politician.

This month Ed Brand will be adding $400k to the Sweetwater District defense budget - that amount added to the already approved $600k and what we have folks is a District OUT OF CONTROL - John McCann, as a current Board member, is spending our District into insolvency.

Rindone as Mayor - you are joking, right?

Just my opinion!!!!


eastlaker March 10, 2014 @ 7:05 p.m.

Some of us don't have as much background on some of these people. Can anyone tell me why Rindone was not reelected to the County B of E?

So are we stuck with business as usual? And Please Not McCann?!

It would be interesting to learn what positions some of these individuals would take on the Sweetwater corruption/Ed Brand's out-of-control spending/general fiasco-level of district mess. Not to mention the teachers who may well be forced to strike over Brand reneging on contract medical benefit terms.


VigilantinCV March 10, 2014 @ 7:31 p.m.

Jerry Rindone's opponent was HEAVILY backed ($$$) by the American Federation of Teachers. I don't know what the issue was.


anniej March 10, 2014 @ 8:09 p.m.

VigilantinCV - in my humble opinion Rindone did NOTHING as a member of the County B of Ed. I recall contacting him on two separate occasions regarding 'the Gandara' - he advised his sec'y would be contacting me - 4 years later and no call back.

Why do we continue to recycle these politicians? It is almost as if they are playing musical chairs - sat in this seat, did nothing - time to move and do nothing in another seat.

I mean really - for Mayor - this is the best of the best? I would hate to see the worst of the worst. Oh that is right I addressed the worst of the worst in the first paragraph of my first post above.


oskidoll March 10, 2014 @ 9:03 p.m.

anniej hits the nail on the head. Rindone was AWOL in his term on the County Board of Ed...was it 8 years? Talk about fiddling while Rome (Sweetwater) burned. That position is supposed to represent the South County on the County Board!


anniej March 11, 2014 @ 10:57 a.m.

Elections, time to bring in the new and say goodbye to the old. Many who consistently comment have made reference to the importance of the November elections myself included. However, what will the elections bring, more of the same? Yet another group who values Party lines more than community needs?

A couple of weeks ago I had a conversation with a friend. This friend and I were disagreeing on Ms. Salas's epiphany to merge school districts. My comment - "here we go, upcoming elections and all of a sudden a call to address the total dysfunction of Sweetwater". Friends response - "this is good news, at least someone is finally speaking up". Let us focus on the word 'FINALLY' - and so I ask "where has she and all of her fellow politicians been for the past many years (at least 5 by my count) while the community has been begging for help, have been fighting the battle as a grass roots effort? How many millions have been wasted or possibly misspent at the hands of the elected officials and superintendent of Sweetwater?

And so to ALL candidates running I say the following "We are tired of elected officials who are content to draw the paycheck for work they are hesitant to do. We expect elect officials to represent the people NOT THE party. I can agree to disagree with a politician that I respect, I realize each issue brings many points and counterpoints. What I am asking is that politicians begin DOING SOMETHING, ANYTHING more than showing up at football games and flipping coins or speaking at luncheons. You personally research the important community issues, you personally meet and speak with those you represent. Take a risk and speak up - DO WHAT YOU WERE ELECTED TO DO - DO YOUR JOB,,,,, Help return our community to the once respected community we heralded.


Jmbrickley March 16, 2014 @ 5:20 p.m.

anniej writes "Let us focus on the word 'FINALLY' - and so I ask "where has she and all of her fellow politicians been for the past many years (at least 5 by my count) while the community has been begging for help, have been fighting the battle as a grass roots effort? How many millions have been wasted or possibly misspent at the hands of the elected officials and superintendent of Sweetwater?

annie, annie, annie! That was then, and this is now... campaign season. During campaign season all of the community's problems are brought into the mix by the various candidates as "campaign promises." Each candidate will act SHOCKED at all the shenanigans in SUHSD and make vague promises and pay lip-service to cleaning up the mess... kinda like John McCann did in my backyard to a group of concerned citizens regarding Jesus Gandara. However, just like has happened with John McCan't, after they are elected, all those pesky issues become something for someone else to deal with. These newly elected "officials" will have more important things to do... like post old campaign signs on City property, make howdy-doodie speeches at every graduation, and walk out of board meetings to chase down a two-bit sign.

Come on annie, you know I speak truth!


Bvavsvavev March 11, 2014 @ 9:13 p.m.

Unfortunately, although Chula Vista feels like a small town, it is a big city. It takes a lot of connections and money to run for a major position like mayor or city council. As a result, we see the same names regurgitated in various posts in the city. Speaking of regurgitation, John McCann is a disaster as a politician. He has done nothing as a Sweetwater Trustee other than agree to all of Ed Brands bad decisions and wasteful spending. He is a poor choice for city council as well and I truly hope voters do more than rely on name recognition to base their votes on. I see his lawn signs all over Eastlake.

Obviously, many Eastlake residents have not been paying attention to him allowing Brand to open boundaries causing Eastlake schools to be overcrowded, nor to Brand constantly borrowing from the mello roos fund, nor to him allowing Brand and Tom Calhoun lie about the fire alarm situation in our schools. There are many other examples of his poor leadership and lack of good decision making as a trustee. He is a passive aggressive bully who uses his position of power in an attempt to intimidate parents.


VigilantinCV March 11, 2014 @ 9:43 p.m.

Shirely Horton quitting politics?? NOT! Will she have to give up her lucrative salary at South Bay Community Services if she wins the seat on the Board of Equalication? How much does a BOE Commissisioner make? I think she is in charge of real estate at South Bay Community Services. On tonight's City Council agenda there was a proposal by SBCS to renovate an office building at 192-198 Landis Avenue into 7 apartments for the homeless. The City would be ponying up as much as $450,000 toward this $1.2 million project -- to help 7 homeless! Who are they buying this building from? At last count, SBCS owned at least 18 different pieces of property, but like Lucy in "Charlie Brown," they like real estate!


erupting March 12, 2014 @ 7:59 a.m.

It will be interesting to see what McCann does on Monday. The board is finally evaluating Brand after all the public outcry. Will McCann help get rid of Brand for cause or continue his political spiral down hill. Who knows he may pay him to leave,remember the Gandara. With all the politicians except Rhindone coming out against Brand maybe we will get lucky. The teachers are taking the strike vote on Thursday and I believe they will go out. We need real leadership now more than ever. I'm also concerned about ROP the monies will not be available to restore the programs because of the IPADs and appears Pearl has given up the fight. Hope to see a crowd at the closed session on Mon.for Brands evaluation. The property is also on the agenda,but we can't afford to pay benefits for our teachers.


Wabbitsd March 12, 2014 @ 3:25 p.m.

McCann could do himself some good by going hard after Brand...but we know he won't.


Jmbrickley March 16, 2014 @ 5:22 p.m.

I needed a laugh today. That was a hoot!


oskidoll March 12, 2014 @ 11:45 a.m.

Vigilantin CV.... Shirley Horton lists her occupation with the registrar of voters as 'development director'. I believe she makes well in excess of $100,000 with the SBCS.

If she is elected to the Board of Equalization, she will be paid $131,250 (per website)...will she be allowed both jobs at the same time? Certainly the Board of Equalization is an easier job than mayor, and likely easier to obtain. seems McCann continues to be a basket case. I think Rindone's strategy is to let others take Brand out and not get in the mix...he was silent about the entire SUHSD mess, even when community members begged the County Office of Ed to do something, during his tenure on that board. Pearl has no reason to dig in....the writing is on the wall for her,(what happened to Ricasa). It appears she will continue to take the easiest road to the finish line. Poor Pearl!


Wabbitsd March 12, 2014 @ 3:04 p.m.

Oskidoll, you don't give Ms. Horton enough credit. the 2013 990 form for SBCS says she was paid $120,382 plus $3,357 in "other" compensation.

the Bd of Equalization job is certainly somewhere she can :"sit" for a term before running for a higher office. Gal has "plans," I would say!


bbq March 13, 2014 @ 5:48 a.m.

oskidoll, Interesting articles on Ms. Ricasa in the Southwestern Student Newspaper. It appears that the students on the newspaper editorial staff are wholly against Ms. Ricasa continuing in her position at the College.

They feel that if she could not maintain high standards in her public role as an elected offical, why should she continue to be supported by the student body and public at the College.

Interesting thoughts, maybe I've been too hard on the SUHSD for not teaching independent thought...

nah, after a couple of years away from High School, many of the young adults/newspaper staff have realized that the "College Prep" courses that were foisted on them were BS and only now are seeing the world as it is, not the way Dr. Brand and the Board wanted them to see it.... To make my point, McCann's infamous "I'm a war Hero" speaches.... BBQ, CAVE


oskidoll March 13, 2014 @ 11:12 a.m.

Thanks bbq -- the Southwestern Sun, student paper, article reports on a 'poll' taken regarding Ricasa's suitability to retain her position at SWC. it does not elaborate on the poll itself, although it may be reporting the unscientific 'poll' the Chula Vista Star News sometimes posts on current issues. That said, what folks think is appropriate treatment for Ms. Ricasa's employment and what the College has legal standing to do are two different things. Given that our judge Espana allowed her to plead down to a misdemeanor, there isn't much there upon which to base dismissal from her College position. However, the exhibits in the Grand Jury investigation leading to the indictments do show that Ricasa used College equipment (fax and email) to conduct political business, which is strictly prohibited for all College employees per District policy. That may be the only 'hook' the District has with which to consider dismissal. Unfortunately, being a poor role model for students is not actionable as far as I know --- even for academic administrators such as Ms. Ricasa.


eastlaker March 13, 2014 @ 11:09 p.m.

No, the poll in question was taken by the reporter on the Southwestern campus, according to what I read. 115 people polled. 91 said she should go, 5 said she should stay, the rest weren't sure...

But what is really interesting to me is that she--Arlie, that is--had a letter of support from Marty Block, who remarked on all the good she has done for the community. Mr. Block was questioned about all the charges she had against her, and he said he wasn't really that familiar, that a staff member had written the letter. Oh---and Arlie Ricasa's brother works for Marty Block.

So--is Arlie safe because she has Marty's protection? If so, what does that say for our elected officials? That they ignore the law because they do favors for friends?

Not very inspiring. Rather, this is a clear demonstration of how in-bred the politics are here. Revolting.


eastlaker March 14, 2014 @ 12:04 a.m.

Correction: Arlie's brother used to work for Marty Block, but Arlie's sister-in-law still works for Mr. Block. I guess loyalty is more important than actually following the law.

Too bad that is the lesson the students are getting as well.


anothereastlaker March 12, 2014 @ 8 p.m.

In an earlier UT article Burt Grossman was also listed as a candidate. Has he already dropped out of the race? Or is he on vacation with Ed Brand trying to figure out a way to get on the school board? Heaven help us!


Susan Luzzaro March 13, 2014 @ 8:05 a.m.

I tried to paste a part of the candidate log that the city clerk sent on Friday but it didn't quite work. Grossman took out papers but then there was no more action on his part. He didn't file nominating papers with the required 20 signatures. In other words he is not a candidate .

Burt Grossman 02-13-2014


anniej March 13, 2014 @ 8:56 p.m.

bbq - oskidoll

The one fact that seems to be lost in Ricasa's plead is this - I believe in her statement she stated she her vote had been influenced. She did not stand there and simply plead guilty to a misdemeanor - She had to admit to 'almost' exactly what she did, even if it was plead down to a misdemeanor.

Bottom line folks, we need change - lets start with these elections - remove Brand - terminate some of Brand's cronies and start fresh. This time we simply MUST continue to monitor all that goes on - no longer should we vote them in and walk away - look what that has gotten us in the past up to now.

Brand's evaluation is on the agenda for this months (Monday night meeting) and so is the property - however the property is on the CLOSED SESSION agenda - why???? Our money yet they are talking about spending it behind closed doors????????


eastlaker March 13, 2014 @ 9:44 p.m.

Yes, anniej, it is very wrong that the public never seems to be included in the spending of the public's money.

I keep asking, who are the real estate people who are involved in all these transactions? Because it does take licensed professionals to accomplish these purchases, slick "trades" that keep Sweetwater paying yet not owning...surely there are records of the people involved?

More favors for Ed Brand's friends? Fronts? What?


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