It was a bittersweet day at local city halls as four council members were sworn in and two said goodbye.
On Tuesday, Chula Vista incumbent Pamela Bensoussan and former councilwoman Mary Salas took their oaths of office, while termed out Steve Castaneda made farewell remarks.
For the last time, Castaneda stood and spoke as a councilman.
“This has been a supreme honor of my life,” Castaneda said. “Eight years ago I asked the city to trust me to shepherd them through unparalleled change … and I think today has served as testament that we’re stronger than we were.”
Castaneda, who was elected in 2004, said while on the dais, council members didn’t always agree on everything.
“Sometimes it was a little less than graceful,” he said. “But we banded together when it really mattered.”
Bensoussan was sworn in by her son David.
“I’m really honored to serve a second term and wish to thank anyone who placed their confidence in me,” Bensoussan said. “I don’t intend to let you down.”
She said that despite coping with personal matters during last term, including her mother’s death and surviving breast cancer, she was glad to continue serving.
“I’ve been convinced that I can make a difference in this community,” Bensoussan said. “With a renewed strength and a fresh perspective on life … my overriding goal is the help the city achieve economic health and prosperity and help it become an environmentally stable city.”
Bensoussan said the new year will bring a fresh start with the new council.
“We are approaching a new era, one of efficiency and cooperation,” she said. “…With the help of my fabulous staff I pledged to stay focused on these important goals to help keep the city on track.”
Salas was sworn in by her mother.
“I’m really happy to be here and I want to thank my colleagues,” she said. “…We’re on the cusp of a remarkable time for Chula Vista. Economic indicators show that we’re turning the corner. We need to learn from mistakes in the past and hold onto the reserves.”
Salas said the city needs to continue engaging the entire community of Chula Vista.
“As we look toward a bright future we can see that we have wonderful opportunities to make Chula Vista an actual job center rather than a bedroom community,” she said. “My pledge to you is to work really hard for you to make the city turn around.”
Bensoussan was recommended as the new deputy mayor.
Meanwhile in National City, Rosalie Zarate made comments regarding her tenure as she stepped aside for incoming Jerry Cano.
“I would hope that each and every one of the council members, even the mayor, would get together and try to work things out,” Zarate said.
Zarate said now is the time for her to relax and enjoy her family.
“I think when one door closes another one opens and I think God has a plan for me,” she said.
National City councilwoman Alejandra Sotelo-Solis was sworn in for her second term.
National City councilmember Jerry Cano did not return calls in time for deadline.