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Crowded field running for office Carlos R. Davalos | Sat, Mar 10 2012 12:00 PM

Daylight saving time starts this Sunday. That means there will be an extra hour of sunshine to shed light on that great American pastime — political campaigning.

The deadline to fill out canddidacy papers for local office in Chula Vista is 5 p.m. today.

Even if there are no last minute entries, it’s already a crowded field.

To date, running for seat 3 is incumbant Pamela “I Can’t Believe How Nasty Politics Can Be” Bensoussan, Bob “I’m Not My Brother” Castaneda, Larry “This  Close” Breitfelder, Arthur “Who?” Kende and Guillermo       “’member me?” Briseno.

Running for seat 4 is Mary “Been There Done That and That” Salas, Linda “My Time to Shine” Wagner, London “That’s My Name, Don’t Wear It Out” Minervy and Richard Gonzales.

To the average spectator, this season is like all the rest. A group of would-be players making a grab at power on the City Council.

For others, casual fans like me, the interesting part of the political game is the nuance.

For example, the last time an incumbant — Councilman Rudy Ramirez in 2010 — ran for office he ran unopposed.
The conventional wisdom is that running against an already entrenched officeholder is foolhardy because of the councilperson’s name recognition and ability to raise money with relative ease.

But in this go around, the incumbant, Pamela Bensoussan, has not one but four people trying to replace her: Larry Breitfelder, who ran against and barely lost to Patricia Aguilar in 2010; Bob Castaneda, whose brother Steve has served two occasionally tumultuous terms on the City Council and is termed out; Guillermo Briseno, who pulled papers to run for City Council in 2010; and Arthur Kende. That’s four people who think they can do a better job than Bensoussan.

When you consider that there is also an organization called Anybody But Pamela whose goal is, presumably, to get Bensoussan out of office, then the level of intrigue and curiosity rises.

Has Bensoussan been such a terrible representative that virtually anyone else would do a better job, or is getting rid of her just one move in a chess game between two players whose visions of Chula Vista are at complete opposite ends of the spectrum? Who knows? I don’t.

But it will be fun watching the games unfold during campaign season ’12.

Curious spectators can catch their first glimpse of the candidates at a March 14 forum at the Civic Center Library beginning at 6 p.m.

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