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.