Eight years ago Pat Aguilar decided to run for the Chula Vista City Council because she said she did not like the direction in which the city was moving.
She said she wanted to bring about positive change, change she said she was not seeing.
Aguilar, who termed out of the Chula Vista City Council, said she feels she has successfully helped put Chula Vista on better footing than before she entered office.
“I feel like I’m leaving the city better off than I found it when I took office,” she said.
Aguilar cites her work and the rest of the City Council’s efforts in “restoring trust” in City Hall as one of her biggest accomplishments.
“When I was first elected, one of my highest priorities was to do what I could as an individual council member to bring trust back,” she said.
Aguilar said that in 2010, and in the preceding few years, residents could not trust that city leaders would do the right thing. She said there was a perception that the city’s politicians served themselves and not the community.
Aguilar said an example of that mistrust came in 2009, a year before she took office. Aguilar said that year there was a lot of mistrust with the city’s elected officials that voters overwhelmingly voted against a sales tax measure. Aguilar said this showed that voters were not able to trust that politicians would use the tax revenue correctly.
But since Aguilar has been on city council, voters approved two half-cent sales tax increases. One of the increases, Measure P, is said to help address infrastructure needs, while Measure A’s half-cent sales tax increase approved last June will help with staffing public safety departments.
Aguilar said she worked hard to gain trust amongst her constituents by continuously meeting with them, attending community meetings, being honest with people and having an open-door policy.
While on the dais, she said, she would incorporate citizens’ concerns into her decision making. For example, she said she insisted she was the one to have a citizens’ oversight committee on tax measures and would not vote to put the measure on the ballot unless language was created to create that committee.
Aguilar said regrets that she and the rest of the council could not make enough progress with bringing a four- year university to Chula Vista.
While on the council, she said, the city has taken “some baby steps” with a university.
“That’s the one thing that I feel disappointed in,”” she said. “That we as a city, and myself personally, weren’t able to make that progress for a four-year public university.”
The University of Saint Katherine, a private university, currently is in negotiation to house a 10-acre campus at the university and innovation district site.
Aguilar said University of Saint Katherine will be a good addition to the city, but that it is not the public university that the council has sought.
For the time being, she said she wants to spend quality time with her husband then decide what to do early next year.