Opening the Backdoor: Lobbyist Registration

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“Open government” is a fundamental democratic principle in this nation and something that separates us from lesser democratic ones. One of the ways to show that government is “open” is by showing with whom the elected official is meeting. As former San Diego Council Member Donna Frye noted, “The public has a right to know who is meeting with their elected officials and why.” Without transparency on meetings, a culture of secrecy emerges making it easier to have the cliche “back-room” deals.

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Half-Baked: Idea of Creating Mello Roos Areas to Postpone Developer Fees

Half-Baked Pic

The City of Chula Vista has never had a worse idea than the one it’s proposing for the west side of the city. The City wants to pass the buck (in the way of $20,000 in “development impact fees” plus ten years worth of interest) from the developer to the owner of the house ten years later.

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“America’s Best” Grocery Store May Be Coming to Chula Vista

Aldi Logo

America’s Best” grocery store may be coming to Chula Vista. As a business prospectus seems to indicate, the west side of Chula Vista may be getting a new grocery store chain called “ALDI.” The store uses a completely different model altogether from your usual grocery store. It is somewhat like Food for Less, somewhat like Trader Joe’s, somewhat like Costco, and somewhat . . . well, just different. It’s owned by a German company with 10,000 stores around the world (in 18 countries) and with plans to open about 25 stores in Southern California.

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Improving the Process to Fill Council Seats

Vote By Mail

There is probably no more of a political and sensitive task than filling a vacancy created by the resignation of an elected official. In Chula Vista, the options are limited depending on how much time is left in the term of office:

” . . . if a City Council seat becomes vacant with more than 12 months and less than 25 months remaining in the term, the Council may fill the vacancy by appointment or call a special election; and so that in any special election to fill a vacancy, a candidate receiving over 50% of votes cast is deemed the winner with no run-off required.” (Source: Ballotpedia)

When given the choice, there has been a great deal of debate over how to fill those vacancies. Those who favored appointment did so because they said it saves money and those who favored a special election did so because they said it was more democratic.The last few times that the City filled a council seat, there has been a great deal of controversy.

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Olympic Gold or Fool’s Gold? 

Fools Gold

UPDATE: On Tuesday, February 9, the Chula Vista City Council gave the green light to staff to go forward with this unique venture. Here is the background material:

Olympic OTC Legislation Text

Channel 10 segment

What is new is the addition of a third-party operator called, “Point Loma Trust”? No information is given on this mysterious organization that, apparently, was just created since it doesn’t seem to exist on the Internet. Is this organization financially viable? Who is on its board? Where are the guarantees that the General Fund will never be used? Who would be responsible for new infrastructure? This creates many more questions.

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Let’s be honest, the Olympic Training Center (“OTC”) never achieved its desired potential. People thought it would help bring tourism to the area and to be a great community partner to the city where it is located – Chula Vista. On both counts, the center fell short of achieving those goals. Although, located in Chula Vista, the center was never a very good community partner (according to City Hall insiders) and it didn’t generate enough public events to help much with tourism.

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Need Grocery Stores, Not Promises

Haggens Store Closing

Haggens will now close the rest of their stores as more and more grocery stores around the city of Chula Vista go vacant. An Albertsons in Rolling Hills Ranch closed last year, Fresh and Easy closed two stores and now Haggens will be closing all of their stores.

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The City’s Cool Zones Are Not So Cool 

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While this hot summer weather is not normal for our area, we do get hot summers once in a while. The City of Chula Vista is part of a San Diego County program called, “Cool Zones.” The point of the Cool Zones program is that people can escape the heat by visiting certain public locations throughout the city that have air conditioning. This is not only to escape an uncomfortably warm home but it can be life-threatening for some people.

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