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Keeping score in politics Carlos R. Davalos | Thu, May 27 2010 03:52 PM

Anyone who makes it out to the fun zone at the San Diego County Fair this year might want to check out the shooting gallery.


Let me know if any of the tin targets out there are in the form of Chula Vista Councilman Steve Castaneda. If so, do any of them have holes in them? The real Castaneda appears to be as bullet proof as Superman dressed in Kevlar tights.


On Tuesday the councilman read a statement from special prosecutor Julia Sylva in which the Los Angeles attorney says allegations of campaign finance violations were unfounded and did not require further investigation or prosecution.


Sylva's conclusion came after a months-long investigation was prompted by a complaint filed with the city by Chula Vista resident Angel Castillo.


For anyone keeping track -and there are plenty of people in the world of politics - that's Castaneda 2, prosecutors and foes 0.


Two years ago Castaneda was found not guilty of perjury charges filed against him by District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis's Public Integrity Unit.


And now this.


Castaneda, who has maintained his complete innocence in both episodes, understandably feels vindicated.


He has also maintained that, going as far back to the grand jury indictment that led to his perjury trial, he has been the focus and victim of a political witch hunt.   


While there's enough believable innuendo and circumstantial evidence available as to not completely dismiss conspiracy theories as ludicrous (as Sylva characterized portions of Castillo's complaints), there aren't enough dots that can be connected to prove that Castaneda's literal and figurative trials have been caused by Mayor Cheryl Cox and her political supporters, as he contends.  


But one fact does remain clear - Castaneda survives to fight another day.


With the investigation out of the way and his name cleared, Castaneda can spend the last two weeks of his mayoral campaign working to get past the primary and into the general election, either against Cox or Independent candidate Jorge Dominguez.


If Castaneda loses his bid for mayor, then he spends two years as a lame duck councilman and those who believe he is guilty of something can bide their time until he just goes away.


If he wins, however, then something tells me he'll spend the next four years looking over his shoulder as his political rivals and foes alike try to settle that  2-0 score.



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