Last June Republican Larry Breitfelder emerged as the top vote-getter in his bid to win seat 2 on the Chula Vista City Council.
Heading into the November general election runoff against Democrat Patricia Aguilar, Breitfelder acknowledges that while he is a man of the people, he may not always be popular.
"At some point you have to decide if you're going to be the people's representative or the union's representative," Breitfelder said. "I've decided that my first priority is representing (residents), not the host of special interests. I've made that choice and I'm willing to live with the consequences."
Breitfelder's priorities include open decision-making, which allows for decisive leadership in the community, increasing prosperity and the resulting tax base by streamlining regulation; holding the line on taxes and attracting quality companies, and dedicating the resources of a revitalized local economy to enhance the quality of life in Chula Vista neighborhoods.
In light of a recent $12.5 million municipal deficit next year, Breitfelder said it was an important step for city staff to take cuts first and showing leadership.
He said top issues facing the city are without a doubt pensions and overtime.
"We've kind of taken a Band-Aid approach to this from the beginning," he said. "We have to get to a much more fundamental solution to the problem. It boils down to getting control on spending - you have to make sure that obligations for pay and pensions are stable," Breitfelder said.
He said the city should seek out a qualified outside individual with a track record for maximizing the efficient use of public safety and other city staff.
He said this should not be someone with a personal axe to grind.
"Essentially what we have to do is figure out our resources for the coming years - our fixed costs - and set aside a portion left over for pay and benefits, and leave some for the future," he said. "Some of it should be used to recruit new businesses for Chula Vista."
An important and somewhat controversial topic for this year's election is ballot measure Proposition H, or the telecommunications utility tax. If passed, the measure could generate up to $5.6 million that could prevent even deeper cuts to city services.
Breitfelder, president of the Chula Vista Taxpayers Association, said he is opposed to it.
"...Half of it is good, it modernizes an old ordinance," he said. "The bad part is it's done in such a way that is very unfortunate (it increases taxes)," explaining that the ballot language is still not clear.
Breitfelder also said that unless medicinal marijuana could be distributed in a medical setting, he is opposed to allowing medicinal marijuana dispensaries in the city.
"The bottom line is unless we can do this in a pharmacy-like environment, we shouldn't do it at all," he said. "It has to be done responsibly from places that won't degrade our communities."
Breitfelder said that conservation is another very important issue for Chula Vista.
"There's the financial aspect of it - the money we save on electricity and water consumption," he said. "That's one of our many moral responsibilities."
He said that the cost-versus benefits is an important aspect of it.
"Pretty much everything we do in terms of the environment - you have to analyze what the value is of what we're getting in terms of the cost," he said. "Solar power is all fine and good - as long as it pays for itself in a reasonable period of time, it's a good thing to do."
Breitfelder said his background, especially in property management, makes him a viable candidate for City Council.
"It's about being fair with people and investing and reinvesting for the future," he said.
Breitfelder said that streamlining regulation is an important aspect of increasing prosperity for the city and attracting quality companies. "We have to harness our current business leaders to attract new business leaders. Streamlining is more than a series of details - it's a matter of corporate culture."
In moving bayfront development forward, Breitfelder said that instead of caving into union-only construction bidding, he would insist on as much cost-saving competition as possible.
"Excessive expense makes financing and investment for improvements impractical," he said.
Breitfelder said the ways he would help bring more jobs to Chula Vista are by holding the line against increased taxes and excessive fees and curbing regulations and excessive wait times that harm new and existing businesses.
Breitfelder said he is a better candidate than Aguilar because he has already held office, referring to his stint on the OtayWater District board of directors.
"I don't think she has the same reach," Breitfelder said of Aguilar.
He said if he does not win he will continue working with the Taxpayer's Association. "I'll do what I can to serve the public from there," he said.