The Star-News


Ringing a bell

Sat, Apr 05 2014 12:00 PM Posted By: Carlos R. Davalos

Now that the foolishness of April 1 has come and gone maybe we can settle down and focus. Return to the austere state of mind that is adulthood and go back to walking around with a furrowed brow and pensive demeanor. But not without one final thought.

We posted a video on The Star-News Facebook page publicizing an upcoming candidates forum. (If you haven’t seen the video you’re out of luck. It was a one day — April 1 — screening. You’ll have to wait for the sequel I suppose.)
The video made reference to the city of Bell and the pillaging elected officials participated in during their time in office. Maybe you heard the stories or followed the corruption trial of the part-time council members whose salaries could make  Donald Trump and Jay Z shake their heads in bewildered envy.

While most works of art and commentary are subject to personal interpretation, it would be reasonable to draw the conclusion that the 50-second video was a plea to not allow what happened there to happen here. In other words, it was a way of encouraging people to pay attention to the people they elect into office. And one way of doing that is attending a candidates forum.

This year there are 15 people running for three seats on the Chula Vista City Council. The field of contenders is a mix of political veterans, incumbents and newbies. The Southwest Chula Vista Civic Association and Crossroads II have partnered to bring two forums — one for city council candidates and one for those who would be mayor — at the end of April and beginning of May.

Naturally attending a candidates forum is only step one in guarding against marauding officials and corruption. There’s also step two — voting — and step three —paying attention.
Sure you could argue that a scandal the magnitude of Bell has never happened in the South County and there’s no way something like that could ever happen here.

Up until a few years ago, the working stiffs of that tiny city probably felt the same way. Besides, there was probably a time not long ago when voters here would have never considered that a majority of local school board members would be indicted for corruption by the district attorney. 

I’m not suggesting that any one of the current, former or future political players among us have or will ever betray a city the way they did in Bell.

But any adult who has paid the slightest bit of attention to history can tell you that when it comes to politics, power and money, sometimes people in office do some crazy things. That’s why it’s important to get to know who is running for office.

The April 30 city council candidates forum is at 5:30 p.m. at the Civic Center Library on F Street. On May 7, the mayoral forum begins at 6 p.m. in the same venue.


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