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Stories by Susan Luzzaro

Eastlake – growing pains

Peace east of Eastlake It was inevitable that there would be development. The Olympic Training Center sits on land donated by Eastlake, the sprawling development to its immediate west. Every time I pass through Eastlake, ...

Retirement suits Chula Vista Elementary administrator well

Chula Vista Elementary School District’s former assistant superintendent for instructional services, John Nelson III, retired last summer. As many predicted, he’s already found a new career as a consultant for a large for-profit district client. ...

Did citizens lose when Councilman McCann won?

Aurora Clark, a community advocate, has been ordered to pay Chula Vista councilman John McCann $99,918 to cover legal bills in connection with a 2014 election challenge. According to a recent U-T article, San Diego ...

Chula Vista’s city jail loses major green

Why is Chula Vista's jail filled with young Hispanic women?

March 16, 2016
Chula Vista addresses homeless crisis

The agenda for the City of Chula Vista’s council meeting on March 8 was the homeless situation in the city. After innumerable multi-colored PowerPoints, a speaker from the audience said — “the city is in ...

Educational turf war down south

In the latest round of charter-school wrangles, the legality of Otay Ranch Academy for the Arts has been challenged by the Chula Vista Elementary School District. On February 25, the San Diego Union -Tribune reported ...

New plan for Chula Vista's west side

On February 9 the Chula Vista City Council declared their intent to form the first Community Facility District on the western side of the city. The city proposes to use this district and the deferment ...

February 23, 2016
Crisis at Bayfront Charter High

The troubled United States University is looking to break its lease on 830 Bay Boulevard in Chula Vista. In 2013, the Reader’s Don Bauder reported the school was fined for falsifying Pell grant loan applications ...

February 18, 2016
Sense of mistrust at Southwestern Community College

On February 5, The Sun, Southwestern College’s newspaper, reported that the school had been “slapped with a warning by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC).” In 2010 Southwestern Community College was in ...

...and then a politician listened to people in need

Individuals with developmental disabilities, their family members, and staff from the Arc of San Diego packed senator Marty Block’s office on January 22. “Finally, a legislator opened the door to us,” said Raquel Vasquez, an ...

Our son's autism test score was down to 15

“So, the whole of my front yard is 100 percent edible,” says Jeri. "There’s not one thing — not even the hibiscus, which can be used for tea — that is not edible. I have ...

January 13, 2016
Brace for culture change, Chula Vista

“Parking on Third Avenue is an issue and will become more of an issue,” said Chula Vista councilmember John McCann shortly before the council voted to sell two lots that provide parking spaces for the ...

January 4, 2016
Chula Vista condo plan misses mark again

On December 16, residents gathered a second time to review a proposed development on Third Avenue and K Street in downtown Chula Vista. Although city staff provided pastries and coffee, the mood of the crowd ...

December 20, 2015
Chula Vista's cleanup act

EyeCandy, a nude dancing establishment, opened in Chula Vista in October 2012. Seven Mile Casino, a gambling establishment, opened on the same street as EyeCandy in August 2015. EyeCandy is gone for good, and Seven ...

December 13, 2015
Vogue Theater for sale — not to be destroyed

After more than 60 years in business, the Vogue Theater in Chula Vista closed its doors in July 2006 — and people have been waiting for it to reopen ever since. The single-screen theater opened ...

Chula Vista fetes Seven Mile Casino as FBI investigates it

Travel Interstate 5 through the South Bay and you will notice the flashy billboards beckoning you to Seven Mile Casino. Located on Bay Boulevard in Chula Vista, the casino is an extravagant piece of work ...

November 18, 2015
Chula Vista goes all 21st Century

Chula Vista has tiptoed closer to transparency. On November 3, the city council approved an ordinance that compels elected officers and candidates to electronically file economic interest statements, also known as Form 700, and campaign ...

November 13, 2015
Chula Vista considers all-mail voting

Chula Vista opted for democracy-on-the-cheap last January when they filled a council vacancy through appointment rather than special election. Then, shortly after Steve Miesen was appointed to mayor Mary Casillas Salas's open seat, Chris Shilling, ...

November 4, 2015
Development-crazy on Chula Vista's west side

A five-story building with 80 condominium units has been proposed for the northeast corner of Third Avenue and K Street in downtown Chula Vista. When the proposal was brought before the public in mid-October, it ...

October 29, 2015
Nonprofit bingo hall proposed for Chula Vista

Many media outlets recently bid a sentimental farewell to Chula Vista’s Fun-4-All, a micro-sized amusement park that had offered kids batting cages and boat rides since the 1970s. But some unexpected entrepreneurs may fill the ...

October 21, 2015
Big trouble in Eastlake III

If you live on the eastern side of Chula Vista, you likely belong to a homeowners association. The association governing Eastlake III and its 32 neighborhoods, located in the Otay Lakes area, has been a ...

September 25, 2015
Next up: Sweetwater's sodbuster supe

On March 12, the Sweetwater Union High School District met in closed session to interview three candidates. They selected Phil Stover to serve as interim superintendent until the search for a new superintendent is completed. ...

Something is not right at Sweetwater

Dr. André José Branch became president of the San Diego chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in January. The professor at San Diego State University’s College of Education has a ...

There won't be a test and there will be a party

Over 50 parents and teachers from throughout the county packed a Chula Vista home on a recent Saturday (February 21) for an “opt-out party.” Kristin Phatak and Heather Poland, educators and parents who believe that ...

Road repair dilemma in Chula Vista

Screaming the loudest for road repair is a waste of time.

March 4, 2015
Transparent as mud in Chula Vista

Silver Wing Elementary parents showed up at a special board meeting on February 26 in hopes of convincing Chula Vista Elementary School District trustees not to construct a charter high school on their elementary campus. ...

Only a fence between them

At Silver Wing Elementary School on February 18, parents crowded into an auditorium to hear about Chula Vista Elementary School District’s plans to build a two-story high school charter on the elementary campus. Many Silver ...

February 20, 2015
The garbage man challenged

On January 13, the Chula Vista City Council — in the wake of an acrimonious standoff — selected Steve Miesen to fill the council seat vacated by Mary Casillas Salas when she became mayor. Although ...

February 16, 2015
Land sakes, Sweetwater, get it together

On January 26, Sweetwater Union High School District’s facilities director Tom Calhoun sent an email to Marc Litchman that surprised many. Litchman holds the title to some Sweetwater property through the nonprofit corporation known as ...

February 3, 2015
Catching up with John

The makeup of Chula Vista’s city council continues to be shaky. In November, councilmember John McCann won a seat by receiving two votes more than his contestant, former mayor Steve Padilla. But, the match is ...

February 1, 2015
Don't mess with Texas' labor pool

On January 26, newly elected trustees of the Sweetwater Union High School District played to a packed house and a packed agenda, but the biggest upset did not come until after 10:00 p.m., when interim ...

January 29, 2015
Okay…we'll take Steve

After two rough-and-tumble meetings, on January 13 the Chula Vista City Council settled on Steve Miesen to fill the seat vacated by Mary Salas. Salas’s council seat became available when she was elected mayor in ...

January 20, 2015
Condition: bleak

Sweetwater Union High School District’s new trustees are picking their way slowly through real estate land mines bequeathed to them by the previous administration. On January 12, the district held a workshop on several items, ...

January 16, 2015
Horton's at the door

An edgy Chula Vista council meeting on January 8 ended with the council’s failure to appoint anyone to the seat vacated by Mary Casillas Salas when she was elected mayor in November. At the same ...

January 10, 2015
The vote swinger

No fewer than five media outlets reported on January 2 that attorney John Moot filed a lawsuit challenging the San Diego Registrar of Voters to count 15 provisional ballots from the November election. In the ...

January 4, 2015
Everyone need not apply

In June, Chula Vista voters approved Proposition B, which allows the city council to appoint an applicant to a seat that “will sit vacant for more than 13 months but fewer than 25 months.” When ...

December 30, 2014
Lost the election, won the plum

On December 1, four South Bay mayors met in National City to appoint a new member to the board of directors of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority. The four mayors were: Ron Morrison ...

It would have been prudent...

At the regular November 20 Sweetwater Union High School district meeting, lame-duck trustees authorized the district to proceed with entitling 1130 Fifth Avenue in Chula Vista for 135 townhomes. The project, which is called the ...

November 25, 2014
Ed's gone, but this Sweetwater shenanigan isn't

“I’m not leaving the Sweetwater folks $34 million in the hole,” said Marc Litchman, a controversial figure who holds the title to Sweetwater Union High School District land. While Litchman’s statement might appear friendly to ...

November 19, 2014
Dollars and nonsense in Chula Vista

Chula Vista is changing the general plan (again) to increase housing density (again) in eastern Chula Vista. On November 4, the city council passed a resolution amending the general plan to increase the density for ...

November 11, 2014
iPads are great for porn and video games

Some Sweetwater librarians, teachers, and parents continue to question whether the district’s iPad initiative is a boon or a costly boondoggle. Similar to Los Angeles Unified School District, which recently canceled a contract to buy ...

November 5, 2014
It takes a Village card room…

The Village Club Card Room, located in Chula Vista, was one of two establishments raided by the FBI on October 29. In addition to the card rooms, 10News reported that a federal search warrant was ...

October 31, 2014
Good ol' boys' and girls' club

The Chula Vista Elementary School District board has long been viewed as a closed system. Trustees have often been appointed first, elected later; other seats appear to be an inheritance. On October 23, San Diego ...

October 25, 2014
Enough nepotism and cronyism

As the Sweetwater Union High School District elections loom closer, Chula Vista mayor Cheryl Cox and county supervisor Greg Cox are flexing their political muscle in the campaign. On October 14, many residents who live ...

October 21, 2014
McCann's plan a sham?

South Bay campaigning has been getting down and dirty recently, but John McCann, a Sweetwater Union High School trustee who is running for Chula Vista City Council, has chosen another route to the seat, chumming ...

October 14, 2014
Sweetwater board candidate stumps on civility

Campaigns usually don’t get ugly until election day nears, but disgraced Sweetwater former trustee Jim Cartmill, has already come out mud-slinging — against community advocates. Cartmill is running for seat 3 in the Sweetwater Union ...

September 25, 2014
These are the monsters, Mayor Cox

High-density housing developments and master-plan changes often provoke a fuss from residents — but opposition usually evaporates once a city makes a decision. Opponents to the Lake Pointe development in eastern Chula Vista, however, don’t ...

September 19, 2014
Busy week at Sweetwater school district

On September 5, the U-T reported that former Sweetwater Union High School District superintendent Jesus Gandara was released from jail on August 26. Gandara was sentenced to seven months in the county jail on June ...

September 6, 2014
Sweetwater cash cow improperly milked

Several years ago, the Reader published an article on cell-phone towers, safety concerns, and the Sweetwater Union High School District. This old story has a new twist. When the story was published three years ago, ...

September 3, 2014
Pimp hand strong in Chula

The San Diego Lincoln Club, which defines itself as a pro-business political action group, has endorsed two Chula Vista candidates for the November general election: Jerry Rindone for mayor and John McCann for city council. ...

August 24, 2014

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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