The Star-News


Ethics complaint dismissed

Sat, Mar 19 2011 12:00 PM Posted By: Allison K. Sampite

The Chula Vista Board of Ethics unanimously dismissed a complaint filed against board member Chris Shilling Wednesday.

Chula Vista City Attorney Simon Silva said the complaint failed to show that allegations made were prohibited by section 2.28 of the municipal code.

The review of the complaint focused on Shilling's disclosure of his position as a board of ethics member in printed materials during his campaign for a position on the Otay Water board and making derogatory comments against the Otay Water board and his opponent, David Gonzalez Jr.

According to Jaime Bonilla, president of the Otay Water District, the entire board raised the issue of Shilling's alleged misconduct to the Chula Vista Board of Ethics.

Attorney Daniel Shinoff represented the district and spoke for President Bonilla as well as Otay Water District Manager Mark Watton and Gonzalez, who were also at the review.

The complainant's protest is directly related to statements Shilling made during the November 2010 election while running for the Otay Water District board.

Shinoff said there was evidence of malice within the contents of Shilling's campaign materials and speech that "smack of hatred, racism and contempt."

The complaint was filed Nov. 15 last year and was initially on the Jan. 19 agenda but was postponed twice by the complainant.

"If you're not interested in ethics and speaking the truth and you just want to get back at someone, the best way to do that is to drag it out as long as possible, especially when you know that the complaint is meritless," Shilling said last month.

Silva said Shilling's speech appeared to be protected under the First Amendment. "In general, a person has a right to criticize government," Silva said.

"Under the First Amendment, I have the right to public speech and what they are alleging is not prohibited under the code of ethics," Shilling said.


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