Where Are the Community Groups?

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Chula Vista has over a quarter of a million residents and about three civic community groups in the whole city. That’s it – three: Crossroads II, Northwest Civic Association, and Southwest Civic Association (missed any? Post it below). For the most part, these groups focus on the west side of the city. While Crossroads II takes on city-wide issues, there are no groups that are mainly focused on the east side (Looking at you Eastlake!). None.

Why so few community groups? It’s probably because it’s hard work. It usually takes one, or a few, very dedicated residents who do most of the work. The rest of us only need to attend meetings and take these efforts for granted. But, we do so at our own peril.

Why are community groups important? Because no one else is looking out for your neighborhood’s interest. Sure, there are homeowner associations but these organizations are more reactive than proactive. For example, they rarely invite city staff to address issues affecting their neighborhoods. Some areas don’t even have HOAs (Hello Rancho del Rey!). In contrast, community groups actively inform their members of the important issues that affect their areas. Community groups even sometimes rally to protect something that the rest of the city may not care about. A recent example was Southwest Civic Association’s efforts to save the Library Park.

Why are some community groups effective? It’s an old cliche but still true: it’s the squeaky wheel that gets the oil. If no one speaks up, the city believes that it’s fine to proceed or just ignore. If there is a pothole or a graffiti problem, the area will have to put up with it. It takes a person to speak up and bring the problem to the city’s attention. And what is better than one person speaking up? A large group of people speaking up.

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7 Responses to Where Are the Community Groups?

  1. Eastlake Times says:

    There is a new Business Group located in Eastlake portion of Chula Vista. It is called The Eastlake Business Association (www.eastlakebusiness.org)

    I agree, it does lots of work to get any group (business related for not) to get it off the ground, but in my opinion, once you have it off the ground, the benefits are outstanding.

    Mark Archer
    Eastlaketimes.com

  2. Eastlake Times says:

    There is a new biz group in eastlake, called the Eastlake Business Association. (www.eastlakebusiness.org)

    I agree, as with most things, you only “get” what you ‘give’.
    Great post
    Mark
    http://www.eastlaketimes.com

  3. Thank you, Mark, I really like your website as well. Great resource.

  4. Carmen says:

    I agree there isn’t a community based group on the east side. I see business associations, such as Chula Vista’s “Third Avenue Village Association,” as a group of business owners who are working together to promote their enterprises. Same as our Chamber of Commerce, this is a network of business owners promoting their best interests and often is at odds with residents’ desires and goals. I know I was a business owner in Chula Vista from 2005 through 2010 and a member of the Chamber for the first couple of years when I opened my office.

    In contrast, I envision a community-based effort like Crossroads promoting quality of life issues for its residents versus promoting sales for shop keepers. Business is important but owners often have a different focus than those who solely live in the area. So I agree there is no community voice for the residents who call east side home.

  5. David Danciu says:

    I believe it will take one or two major issues to generate the energy needed to gather enough residents to form a group. As the East side ages, that issue may be infrastructure needs or it might be related to development or crime. Business groups are fine but the residents need a strong voice for neighborhood concerns. Eastern Chula Vista is a long way from city hall but we appreciate your participation in civic matters and we will offer encouragement and advice if you choose to form a new association. In the meantime, we are here for you!
    David Danciu
    president, Crossroads II

  6. Have you heard about the Chula Vista Democratric Club that was meeting at Villa Capri, and later moved to The Kings Fish house in east Chula Vista? The meet every fourth Thursday at 6 pm
    The South Bay Forum also deals with Border patrol, police and education issues on the east side.

    • Yes, you’re right. South Bay Forum is a longtime community group. As it goes through its transition in the next few months, it will be interesting to see what form it eventually takes.

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