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Complaint goes nowhere Allison K. Sampite | Thu, Jan 27 2011 12:00 PM

A complaint filed with the Chula Vista Board of Ethics against councilwoman Pat Aguilar was recently dismissed by the seven-member panel.

During the board's Jan. 19 meeting, the Chula Vista Ethics Committee reviewed a complaint dated Dec. 10, 2010 and filed with the board Jan. 11.

The complaint filed against Aguilar alleged she violated the city's code of ethics by putting her interests before the residents of Chula Vista.

The complainant, whose name was redacted on documents released to The Star-News, cites three instances in which Aguilar's integrity was called into question.

Once of the complaints was based on a vote Aguilar opposed for a 389-unit condominium project at the southwest corner of Wueste Road and Olympic Parkway.

During the council meeting when the project was proposed, Aguilar abstained saying the particular piece of land was so special that it called for further review of the Design Review Board and more input for the public.

Aguilar served as the president of civic organization Crossroads II from 2003 to 2009

The letter read, in part:

"Ms. Aguilar has been the "face and voice" of Crossroads for the last six years. Ms. Aguilar has not stepped down from that position...

As a charter member of Crossroads, I can attest that there has been no notice of her resignation from her position as president nor a call to elect her replacement.

1. December 14, 2010 Ms. Aguilar opposed a condominium project even though it had met all the requirements imposed on it by the City.

2. At the Crossroads breakfast December 16, 2010 her position was lauded as a David v. Goliath victory.

3. Having insisted upon referring this project back to the Design Review Board on December 20, 2010 Ms. Aguilar attended that meeting sitting in front of the Board and taking notes leading to the perception of intimidation.

The complainant said that the credibility of the city has been damaged by Aguilar's actions.

In a letter to the board, Crossroads II vice-president Peter Watry attempted to address concerns about Aguilar's involvement with the organization.

While Aguilar was technically the president of Crossroads II since last November, after her election win, the group's board did not meet again until early this year.

During Crossroads II Jan. 9 meeting, Aguilar submitted her resignation as president and David Danciu was elected the new president to avoid any conflicts, Watry said.

Currently Aguilar is a nonvoting member of the board. A portion of her resignation letter read: "I would neither participate in deliberations nor vote on matters before the Board that may eventually go to the City Council for a decision. However, I am willing to provide facts and information on items that may go to the Council, it the Board desires."

Watry said Aguilar has not voted on anything related to Crossroads II since the fall of 2009.

"If the person who files the complaint had to put a name to it, it would stop a lot of the complaints being filed," Watry said. "The council had been trying to change the campaign for that reason-because this keeps happening, where people can file frivolous complaints."

Watry said people file frivolous complaints so in future campaigns the candidate would have an ethics complaint against them.

"And here we go again. It makes me mad. I wish they had a way to know when something was junk and they would just throw it out."

According to city attorney Simon Silva, the complaint was dismissed orally Jan. 19 because no probable cause existed that Aguilar violated the city's code. A letter will be sent to the complainant after it's drafted by staff.

At the same meeting, the commission discussed a complaint aginst ethics board member Chris Shilling.

The complaint relates to Shilling's campaign for a seat on the Otay Water District board of directors.

The committee will review the complaint in greater detail in February.

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