At a Wednesday night Chula Vista City Council and Mayoral forum at Southwestern college candidates clawed, roared and pounced on their opponents at every opportunity.
Mayoral candidate and former councilman Jerry Rindone started the barrage.
“One of the major aspects that sets me apart from my opponent is that, I’ve always completed every term for which I have been elected or appointed,” he said about his challenger Mary Salas.
“And I did not stop my service in mid-term to seek higher office. I have always remained committed to the voters, and unlike my opponent who by multiple occasions has sought higher office in the midst of a current term. If elected, my opponent will end up costing the taxpayers over $1 million to fill a vacancy on the city council seat by special election.”
Rindone said his experience and leadership as a former councilman and on numerous organizations he has been a part of gives him the upper hand in the election.
Salas countered Rindone’s attack by endorsing Proposition B.
“Mr. Rindone is mistaken about a special election costing the city,” she said in regards to Rindone’s claim that she will cost the city more than $1 million if elected. “We have a proposition on the ballot this November that I hope that you (voters) support is proposition B which will allow City Council to make an appointment in the course of a special election to fill a vacancy.”
Salas said she wants to work to bring more small businesses to Chula Vista.
Former mayor and ex-port commissioner Steve Padilla said unlike his opponent, he will work with the city council as a team to better prosper the city.
“It takes leadership that is less concerned with self-promotion,” Padilla said. “It does not take leadership that is concerned with taking credit for everything and responsibility for nothing.”
Padilla is running for City Council seat No. 1 against former councilman and Sweetwater Union High School District board member John McCann.
McCann was absent from the forum because he said days before the forum that he had a scheduling conflict. On numerous occasions Padilla called out McCann to accept his invitation to a debate.
Padilla also questioned McCann’s commitment to his constituents by not showing up to the forum.
Chula Vista City Council seat two candidate and attorney Dan Smith said he is running for city government because he wants to bring more jobs to Chula Vista.
He said he differs from his challenger, Pat Aguilar, because he feels Chula Vista needs more jobs and less housing.
“My opponent says that she would like to keep Chula Vista residential,” he said. “We’re not a retirement community.”
Aguilar is the lone incumbent running in the three races.
Aguilar quickly defended herself from Smith’s claim that she wants to make Chula Vista a retirement community.
“My opponent said that I want to keep Chula Vista a residential community, nothing could be further from the truth, she said.
“And the fact that he said that tells me that he doesn’t come to many City Council meetings, because if he did, he would know that we talk all the time on the City Council about what we call a jobs-housing in-balance in Chula Vista.
We have too much housing and not enough in the way of jobs.”
Aguilar highlighted her many successes as a councilwoman such as adding operating hours to city libraries, creating a budget that would hire more police officers and as part of the council she approved the city’s code of ethics.
Chula Vista resident Daniel Green said the forum didn’t really help him make up his mind for who he wanted to vote for in some of the races.
“It was interesting, semi-informative,” he said.