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Moore takes the 'baton' Allison K. Sampite | Sat, Feb 26 2011 12:05 PM

Ann Moore wanted to be a lawyer since she was 12 years old.

"My desire to go to law school was the result of seeing how people who did not have access to attorneys could be taken advantage of," said the recently appointed Chula Vista port commissioner.

Moore, 53, grew up in Chula Vista. Her mother immigrated from Japan and her father was a civil servant.

"Both of my parents were great inspirations for me," she said. "They worked really hard. Sometimes my dad would hold down three jobs at once to support our family."

Moore said that her parents encouraged her to do anything she wanted, which made a big impression on her.

Moore's first job after graduating from the University of San Diego School of Law in 1986 was as deputy city attorney for Chula Vista.

"I saw the first subdivision map and fell in love with land use." she said.

Moore said she enjoyed representing general public interests when she was with the city.

Moore served as a city attorney for Chula Vista from 1995 to 2008 before joining the law firm Norton, Moore & Adams, where she represented developers and governmental agencies in processing land use entitlements for large-scale residential, commercial and industrial projects.

With more than 20 years of professional law practice, she said serving on the port was a natural next step.

"I feel very invested in Chula Vista," she said. "I've seen the growth on the eastern side and that the bayfront is the next major hurdle the city has and I wanted to be involved with that."

Moore was the primary attorney in handing all development in East Chula Vista for nearly 15 years, where she built consensus between developers and cities, environmental groups and citizens.

"She negotiated things with developers and investors and got those things done, which were a value and benefit to Chula Vista and the region," Councilman Steve Castaneda said.

In 2009 she ran against former mayor Steve Padilla for a seat on the Port Commission after then commissioner Mike Najera resigned.

At the time Moore was supported by Mayor Cheryl Cox and Castaneda but lost 3-2.

When it came time to appoint a new commissioner for 2011, Castaneda asked Moore to run for the position and she was voted to serve a four-year term at a City Council meeting Jan. 11.

She replaced Padilla in a 4-1 vote, with Councilwoman Pamela Bensoussan opposing her appointment.

As secretary of the board of port commissioners, Moore is in line to hold the chair position in 2013.

Moore said she and Padilla had an excellent working relationship but the two have not spoken since Jan. 11.

"I gave him a big hug and he said he was happy for me," she said. "I told him I know that I have big shoes to fill."

During public comment at the council meeting Jan. 11, Bensoussan said Padilla was in a great position to negotiate further progress for the land at Chula Vista's bayfront.

"It would make absolutely no sense to throw away that accomplishment and his standing among the port commissioners," she said.

Moore was a part of the initial team that discussed locating development on the bayfront, when Gaylord Entertainment visited Chula Vista in 2005.

Moore said there were many people in addition to Padilla who contributed to the progress of the bayfront, including City Council and staff, the port district and its past and present commissioners.

The progress on the bayfront is a balancing act between development and public need, Moore said.

"It's an understanding that you have to preserve natural resources and still have development," she said.

"The goal is to see the power plant demolished and the beginning of infrastructure built on the bayfront, like a signature park."

Moore said that the approval of the master bayfront plan by the Coastal Commission and coming up with a feasible financial plan for the infrastructure will be an important aspect of progress with the bayfront.

"To me it's a relay race and the baton has been passed to me," Moore said.

Since the appointment, a letter to the city of Chula Vista from Briggs Law Corporation has caused debate regarding the appointment process. (See related story, page 1.)

The letter, dated Feb. 10, stated that the city violated the Ralph M. Brown Act on Jan. 11 by not lawfully informing the public that the council would take action on the appointment of Chula Vista's representative to the board of port commissioners.


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