The Star-News


Mayor's legacy is in her hands

Thu, Jun 10 2010 03:48 PM Posted By: Carlos R. Davalos

In a city of roughly 230,000 residents, where there are 167,000 voting-age adults, about 23,000 people decided who would be the next mayor of Chula Vista.

Would it be a foolish wager to bet there would be less than 100 percent voter turnout even if there was a proposition repealing citizens' right to vote?

We're a funny bunch. So many of us extol the virtues of the United States and its superiority to countries where voting is a farce or prohibited; yet we consistently trickle into voting booths the way goodwill trickles from a despot's heart. Go figure.

Nevertheless - and sadly -low voter turnout is not as stunning as the fact that Chula Vista's mayor, Cheryl Cox, and councilman, Steve Castaneda, won't be duking it out through the summer and into the November general election.

Given the animosity and records of both politicians, I was expecting - and hoping -for more.

But in Tuesday's election Cox walloped Castaneda the way heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko might pummel a Golden Gloves lightweight. She not only beat him, she knocked him out.

Admittedly there were a few people who were saying the race for mayor would be decided in June. They pointed to a lackluster, almost distracted campaign run by Castaneda, as if he was a fighter whose heart just wasn't into the bout and who wasn't doing the necessary roadwork. Sort of like Mike Tyson going in against James "Buster" Douglas.

They also said Cox had a solid support base and the fans Castaneda was counting on -Latino voters from the Democratic party - wouldn't show up the way they did in 2008.

Somebody was right. It wasn't me.

I figured Cox's mediocre record and Castaneda's name recognition would have bought him more time. I suppose now you see why I'm not in Mensa.

But Cox is back in, sooner than was thought. Good for her.

Good luck to her. Because, like President Barack Obama, Cox has had the luxury of pointing to her predecessor for the mess that's needed cleaning and the problems she inherited. She's also had the misfortune of taking the helm when the country was headed straight toward a recession.

But scapegoats and excuses don't last forever. If things go wrong during the next term and if Chula Vista continues to sputter, Cox will have nobody to point at but ... well, you get the idea.

So good luck, Mayor Cox, the burden of proving yourself for four more years is a heavy one.

Now, on to more pressing matters. The World Cup has begun. OlŽ!


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