The Star-News

Ready to take over

Sat, May 12 2012 12:00 PM Posted By: Allison K. Sampité

Current senior council aide Linda Wagner is running for Chula Vista City Council seat 4 this election cycle.

She’s up against former city councilwoman Mary Salas and attorney London Meservy.

Wagner, 60, was born and grew up in San Diego. She attended Mesa and Grossmont colleges where she studied business administration, bookkeeping and accounting.

For the last eight years she has served as current councilman Steve Castaneda’s senior council aide, which she said has helped her learn about the city’s issues.

“I’m ready to hit the ground running,” Wagner said at a candidate forum in March. “It makes me uniquely qualified that I have experience in every issue that comes up on the dais.”

Wagner said, if elected, she would be accessible to the public.

“I want to know what you all think,” she said in March. “The first thing I’ll do is throw open my door.”

Wager also stated in March that she will work full time for part-time pay and never use the council position as a stepping stone into other office.

Wagner said her top three priorities are public safety, recreation and libraries, and infrastructure.

“Last May we laid off police officers and are now replacing them through cadets,” she said. “Our staffing is the lowest in San Diego County and it has an impact in our revenue.

It costs approximately $125,000 to train each new officer.

“We have yet to train our firefighters in advanced life support,” she added. “I think this (advanced life support) could be a real asset to the community.”

She also said it’s important for infrastructure to be fixed.

“I’d like to see us spend more time and effort repairing streets and getting rid of corrugated sewer pipes and painting over graffiti and filling in pot holes,” Wagner said. “I’m interested in protecting the interests of the taxpayers.”

Wagner said that while job opportunities are important, there is nothing wrong with bringing in businesses one at a time.

“Council has a unique opportunity to contact businesses and see if we can make it worth their while to come to Chula Vista,” she said.

She also said the city must be careful about not chasing away good jobs.

“I really would feel like we had a real loss if we let the Marine Group Boat Works go,” she said. “I’m in favor of the port renewing their lease… There are opportunities like that to keep companies we have.”

Wagner said that the decision on district elections has two arguments.

“With district elections the voters have direct contact with the members running for office and they can elect their own neighborhood representative,” she said. “If you elect them at large you can vote for a council member who doesn’t live anywhere near you.”

Despite the pros and cons, Wagner said she will likely vote for district elections because she thinks that every group needs to be represented.

As far as raising taxes goes, Wagner said it is not necessary as there are current sources of revenue in the budget.

“Last year the council voted to roll $242,000 in car allowances into their salaries rather than cut them,” she said.

Wagner also noted money being spent on recruits because the city laid off police officers last year.

“I hope the voters give me an opportunity because I’ll give them a good return on their investment,” Wagner said.

© 2009 The Star-News