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Underground talks in the open Robert Moreno | Sat, Sep 14 2013 12:00 PM

Chula Vista councilwoman Patricia Aguilar got the majority of council members on Tuesday to approve her request for a public discussion on an item about the proposed substation.

Council members agreed that the date for the public discussion will beduring the Oct. 1 council meeting.

The discussion sparks public conversation for the first time among council members and residents about the substation; the issue has only been discussed without public opinion in closed session.

“I think now is the appropriate time to transition from closed session to public session on this item; there has been a lot of community concern about it,” Aguilar said.

Attorney John Moot and several residents have accused the city of Chula Vista of breaking a 2004 memorandum of understanding with San Diego Gas & Electric for not undergrounding the entire substation.

SDG&E maintains that only 300 feet of the 5,000-foot overhead power lines won’t be placed underground.
Moot represents the Berg family, which has owned 20 acres of land across the street from the proposed substation since 1952.

Chula Vista resident David Danciu said the community is in the dark when it comes to information about what the city plans to do with the substation.

“I must say however, that I am dismayed by the lack of transparency regarding this issue and information being discussed in closed session that might have been presented in an open forum,” Danciu said.

Theresa Acerro, president of the Southwest Civic Association, said the time for council to hold a public discussion has passed.

“I think it is way late to start talking about this in public actually,” she said. “It is very unfortunate that it was not talked in public initially.”

City Attorney Glen Googins said he supported public discussion but suggested City Council meet publicly and in closed session  to decide what direction to take because of the timeliness of the commission’s meeting.

Councilwoman Mary Salas said the MOU should be followed.

“As far as having to meet again to give you direction, I thought the direction was clear from this council, that our values were that we honor the intent of the MOU that was signed in 2004, an MOU that I was actually on the council at the time,” she said. “And I think that the direction was very, very clear on that.”

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