Eleven of the 12 candidates running for two seats on the Chula Vista City Council shared their vision for the city at a candidates forum Wednesday.
Residents filled the Chula Vista Civic Center Library to listen to what candidates had to say about some of the city’s most pressing issues such as the revitalization of Third Avenue, what to do with a local strip club and the recent surge of medical marijuana dispensaries.
One of the biggest rounds of applause of the night came for seat one candidate John McCann, who offered his solution to revitalizing downtown Chula Vista.
“We need to get rid of the (parking) meters on Third Avenue,” he said. “We actually need to get rid of those because when I talk to residents the reason why they don’t shop there is because of the meters.”
Homemaker Heideh Rivera, who is also running for seat one, wanted to see Broadway revitalized along with Third Avenue.
She also suggested a simpler solution to bringing more shoppers to the county’s second largest city.
“Stop shopping at Plaza Bonita, it is not part of Chula Vista,” she said.
On the topic of Eyecandy Showgirls, Hector Gastelum said the adult venue is not needed in Chula Vista.
While most of the candidates agreed that there is no home for Eyecandy in Chula Vista, seat two candidate Willie
Harris brought a different perspective:
“I think the key is maybe move it somewhere else, honestly. We want business, it’s a business. It’s money.”
But Harris also provided a solution to get rid of the strip club and medical marijuana dispensaries.
“If they’re here, we didn’t mean for them to be here so tax the heck out of them until they are gone.”
A proposal to unify the two school districts in Chula Vista should be up to the voters to decide and not elected officials, said seat one candidate and former Chula Vista Mayor Steve Padilla.
“It has to be about the students, it has to be about the children and students and what is best for them,” Padilla said.
“If what helps our students succeed is unification, great.”
Mike Spethman, who is a candidate for seat two, opposes unification because he said it won’t work.
He also said it’s important for the community to have a great public school system.
“Let us make no mistake, a community is judged by its schools,” he said. “When prospective residents look at a community, the first thing they are going to look at are the schools, how they perform.”
Hector Gastelum said he would like to see both districts audited.
Regarding term limits, seat one candidate Jason Paguio said new faces is what the city of Chula Vista needs on the city council in order to prosper.
“We need to empower our voters and for us we need to be able to send a message that it’s not OK to keep having the same people come back over and over again,” he said.
Michael Gorski, a 17-year Chula Vista resident, said he came to the event with his mind already made up on who he was voting for.
Gorski said after hearing the candidates speak he is still voting for Gastelum.