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Better than a television show Carlos R. Davalos | Sat, Jan 15 2011 12:00 PM

"Lost" is more than the name of a former television show that - because of its convoluted story line, unbelievable plot twists and menagerie of odd, eccentric characters - left viewers bewildered week after week. It's also an apt way of describing how viewers feel tuning into Chula Vista City Council meetings.

Just like with the show, there are times when you watch council and you find yourself wondering, "Wait, what? What the frankfurter just happened?"

Take, for example, Tuesday's episode.

Former Chula Vista Mayor Steve Padilla had been serving as this city's port commissioner. But by the time the City Council had finished meeting, Padilla was adding former to his port commissioner title.

Previously, Padilla had been controversially appointed after his predecessor, Mike Najera, had fallen out of favor with Chula Vista Mayor Cheryl Cox.

Padilla's appointment came minutes after the eyebrow-raising appointment of former Chula Vista councilman Mitch Thompson (who was temporarily filling former councilman John McCann's seat on the dais while he served on a one year active duty deployment).

Many viewers believed Thompson was brought on board the five-member panel because he could be counted on to vote for Padilla. And he did.

After having barely more than enough time to turn on his microphone, Thompson joined council representatives Rudy Ramirez and Pamela Bensoussan in appointing Padilla to the San Diego Port Commission.

Meanwhile, Cox and councilman Steve Castaneda had cast their votes for Anne Moore.

Moore had served as Chula Vista's city attorney until 2008 when, presumably, she had had enough of public service.

(Incidentally, Moore was the city attorney at the same time Padilla was serving as mayor and alienated voters by hiring a personal bodyguard with taxpayer money. She was also the city attorney when current City Attorney Glen Googins was serving as a deputy city attorney but reportedly left the city because the two didn't quite see eye-to-eye on how to run an office.)

Flash forward a year later.

By most accounts Padilla has met and exceeded everyone's expectations. The bayfront power plant is shut down, power lines have been buried and land swaps have been negotiated.

Nevertheless the council on Tuesday, specifically Cox, Councilwoman Patricia Aguilar, Castenada and Ramirez, voted to appoint Moore to a full four-year term on the port commission.

Lost yet? So am I. But it makes tuning in to City Council meetings almost as compelling and comical as must-see TV.


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