Chula Vista City Council candidate Bob Castaneda said the reason he’s running is a simple one — change.
Specifically, Castaneda said he is running for seat 3 to replace incumbent Pamela Bensoussan. His other opposition is Larry Breitfelder.
Castaneda, 58, is the brother of Steve Castaneda who currently sits in seat 4.
He was born and raised in San Diego and has lived in Sacramento, where he was the senior assistant to formerCalifornia governors George Deukmejian, Pete Wilson and Grey Davis.
Castaneda is president of Castaneda Communications and, as a clean energy research and marketing consultant, works with the state and federal government on energy efficiency programs.
Castaneda attended Grossmont Community College and fell a few units short of graduating from Sacramento State University. His top priorities include job creation, public safety and eliminating special interests at City Hall.
Castaneda said he’d work to revive the local economy by developing coalitions in the community.
“When we have a deficit with housing, Otay Ranch mall can’t survive exclusively within a two-mile radius,” he said.
“We need to find the formula to bring people into the community to spend money.”
Castaneda said the biggest matter facing the city is the bayfront.
“I believe the bayfront is good,” he said. “What I’m opposed to is the elimination of the (Chula Vista Marine Group) boat works and the 200 good jobs on the working waterfront. We’re taking a viable industry and showing them the door based on special interests.”
Castaneda said he looks forward to working with the police department to shorten response times and put emergency personnel on fire trucks.
“We’re in a very, very tough budget year,” he said. “Right now law enforcement is at the lowest levels since 2004.”
Castaneda said when asking the people who put their lives on the line to take a pay cut, a person must operate in good faith.
“I spent many years in Sacramento with tough budgets and I know one thing — in terms of times like that, the budget needs to be about what we value as a community.”
Castaneda said city executives’ pay should be cut. “I am going to take the six-grand car allowance and send it to Norman Park and take 10 percent to the graffiti abatement.”
Castaneda said that most people know him as part of the group that organized community opposition to the Espanada Towers (on the corner of Fourth Avenue and H Street) in 2005.
“I think first of all, the towers at 185 feet were out of the character of the community,” he said. “Other concerns that the public had was eminent domain and (people) being placed out of their homes.”
Castaneda said leaders at City Hall didn’t seem to care.
“Today, on the same side, you have the proposal of Urbana,” he said. “…I can’t unilaterally support or oppose Urbana, but I do believe that sort of product is good for Chula Vista.”
Castaneda said he supports creating district elections in Chula Vista.
“I feel like district elections allow neighborhoods to become empowered,” he said. They allow a focused message coming from these neighborhoods … It will dilute the strength of special interests at City Hall.”
Castaneda lives in Otay Ranch and has two daughters.