What qualifies you to represent 250,000 Chula Vista residents?
Hector Gastelum: I have a love for service, family, community and country. As a private citizen, I manifest my displeasure for the current local state of affairs by running for office and trying to bring a conservative voice to City Hall.
The confrontation of ideas is what enriches our democracy, at the present moment, it is not difficult to see City Hall has the ideas of a single party with very little conservative influence, that has to change so that the vast majority of citizens feel represented and not just a few.
Daniel Smith: With my wife, Layla Villegas Smith, I live and successfully run a real business here. For a decade, we have been involved in parent-teacher groups, organizing educational fundraising, volunteering in community clean up, Boy Scouts & Girl Scouts, to name a few. With a degree in economics I automatically run cost-benefit analysis to problems. With my law practice I understand the issues—when to fight a problem and how to fix the others with legal solutions. Chula Vista City Council needs businessman that runs a real business dealing with real problems with the experience and education to lead.
What should Chula Vista do about the increasing number of homeless in the city?
Smith: I noticed the disproportionate number of parolees walking by my office on the Third Avenue central corridor. I investigated. J.Keifer, supervising probation officer emailed me. Mr. Smith... “As for the offenders returning from state prison being supervised by state parole, my understanding is that the only parole office is the one you mentioned in Chula Vista.” I was outraged. My answer is to move the parole office to an industrial area where vocational training and jobs, such as NASSCO, are nearby. Who ignored the county dumping on us? Where was the Chula Vista City Council?
Gastelum: There was a study done by the Brookings Institute in 2009 that confirmed what our common sense tells us. If you follow this three-step recipe: 1. Graduate from high school, 2. work full time 3. Get married before having kids; there was only 2% of ending up in poverty and approximately 75% of ending up in the middle class.
The most important institution is family, and when the traditional family values decline, everything does. We have been electing politicians that tell us that big government is the solution to everything, and it is not.
Should the city of Chula Vista spearhead an effort to unify governing school boards in South County?
Gastelum: First, I would like to audit and clean both school boards.
Second, eliminate the redundancies in bureaucracy and make it more efficient so that more dollars get to the classrooms. Third, parents should have the freedom to choose schooling. Education cannot continue to be a monopoly, I would like to see more charter schools, parochial schools, home-schooling, and bring competition to education because competition makes us better. Every kid has the civil right of a good education, and I want for our education tax dollars to follow the student, and not the other way around.
Smith: I am opposed to unifying governing school boards until the Sweetwater District is cleaned up. Not just the shameful “so called prosecution” of the indicted, but the culture of “mordida” as they call it South of the border. We have to examine the relationships between the jobs the trustees have and the potential for the lure of impropriety, bribery, and nepotism. Then we must change the rules to limit the temptation to be the queen or king of the contracts awarded.
How do you increase revenue for the city of Chula Vista?
Smith: You increase revenue for the city of Chula Vista by increasing sales. Make the city business-friendly and remind people that everything you need is here. Recently there was an attack by code enforcement on signs of businesses on Third Avenue and elsewhere. I was told my “additional parking in rear” sign needed a permit when it is specifically excluded in the ordinance. The sign ordinance is poorly written and capriciously enforced. Read it. My point is that the city does not make money on “for lease” signs. Chula Vista businesses need signs to attract friendly business.
Gastelum: First of all, with greater prosperity and opportunity.
We have to make Chula Vista more attractive for wealth and job creation. Folks want to go where they are treated well, and the same applies to business/job creators. I will work tirelessly to reduce excessive bureaucracy and regulations and have the best school system in the country. Local government should play an important yet limited role in our lives, We need practical and new solutions, increasing efficiency with technology, reducing fees and bureaucracy for folks that: 1. Want to open or expand their business, 2. Get a permit of any kind, etc.
What issues need immediate attention?
Gastelum: A vibrant local economy and improving education levels will always be my priority. Both are vital to attracting private investment, and developing a workforce. Private investment not only creates opportunities for all of us, it also makes our programs sustainable. We have to take advantage of technology to make our local government more efficient and accountable to the taxpayers. All our taxes/fees, water rates, gasoline, health care, deficits are increasing, yet salaries, productivity, hours, and quality of life are decreasing. We have to start voting differently. Someone that believes less government, regulations, taxes and bureaucracy is the solution, but most importantly, believes in you and the free market system.
Smith: Immediate attention should always be to anticipate potential problems with public safety, fire protection, city infrastructure and city employees. If you see a problem developing, do not sit on your hands. The Bayfront Development needs to start ASAP. The residents have spoken in Prop 8 allowing free and fair competition, now let’s get started. Soon the 905 will connect with the SR-125, so how will that affect us? We cannot ignore the need for a four-year university close to the Olympic Training Center. We have the opportunity where a university and world-class athletics combine to create businesses and jobs.
What qualifies you to represent 250,000 Chula Vista residents?