While the Silva family contends with filling the void left by the absence of their husband and father who recently died, Chula Vista voters are tasked with filling the space he recently occupied.
The two tasks are nowhere near equivalent in weight and importance.
Friends and family of Simon Silva have known the man on more intimate terms, sharing moments of laughter, hope and sorrow the way only close ties can.
The majority of Chula Vistans, especially those who pay attention to the day-to-day machinations of city business or the election cycle knew Silva as a deputy city attorney or, more recently, a candidate for Chula Vista City Attorney.
The burden of carrying on is not the same for both factions, but it does illustrate how interconnected we can be.
There can never be another Simon Silva in the lives of his family and friends. In that regard he is irreplaceable.
And, to a degree, he is also irreplaceable in the lives of those who only knew him as a candidate for office and the 20,000-plus people who voted for him.
In June Silva won the three-way contest to become Chula Vista’s next city attorney, falling a little short of capturing a complete majority and therefore setting up a runoff election against second place finisher Dan Smith.
But now that Silva has died Smith is the only candidate left in the race.
Though technically he is not.
Thanks to local and state elections laws, Silva’s name will remain on the Nov. 8 ballot. His name cannot be replaced with that of the third place finisher.
If Smith manages to do then what he couldn’t do in June then it’s business as usual at City Hall, albeit with a new city attorney.
But if Silva wins, the deceased’s victory leaves voters in limbo.
Silva obviously could not fulfill his duties and so the city council could appoint an interim city attorney presumably until another (and costly) election could be held.
So now voters are tasked with voting for someone because he is the only one alive in the race or if they want to vote for a dead man so that a new city attorney can be appointed until a new election can be held.
It’s a heavy task for voters. But nowhere near as heavy as that of Silva’s family and friends.