Chula Vista candidates racing toward June election

Now through June the star-news will feature interviews with candidates running for a variety of public offices.

Spencer Cash


Spencer Cash is running for mayor, the seat being vacated by Mayor Mary Casillas Salas. At 45, Cash said he is a registered Independent since the age of 18, best positioned to cherry pick best ideas from both sides of the isle.

“First and foremost, I am a humanitarian,” he said. “I spent an entire career in the Army helping save lives in war and in peace. The Army is the only service in the world that has Red Cross permanent helicopters. I am very proud to be part of the Dust Off (casualty evacuation) community, an acronym for Dedicated Unhesitating Support to our Fighting Forces or friendly forces. And I have included our friendly families as well.” Cash was an 0-4 major upon retirement.

Cash said he decided to run for mayor because he believes the city is being swindled, taxpayers are being fleeced, and if voted in he will stop it.

“I am the only one that sat down with our finance director to understand the challenges. I have master’s in Homeland Security, which is a degree on how to run a city at the master’s level and many other things,” he said.

“With those experiences, and my bachelor’s in Business Management and Marketing, I looked through the financials and understood that our elected officials have put us in a precarious position in that we are over-obligated on our funds and unable to meet our financial obligations within the city.”

Cash said he knows he can effect change and not waste taxpayer’s dollars.

Cash said the city has a serious problem with financial mismanagement.

“They do not understand that the moneys that they are spending are not effectively being used,” he said. “Our current elected leadership has put us in a position where the next mayor is going to have to figure out whether they raise taxes, cut programs, or more effectively spend taxpayer’s dollars. That is where we are at right now with the city.”

Cash said his children have lived in Chula Vista since 2013 with their mother and when they moved here they were married. His children have been students through the Chula Vista Elementary School District and the Sweetwater Union High School District and that he is very “tied to the community,” being the 12th city he has lived in around the world for a longer period of time than visiting.

“This is my second time coming back,” he said. “I came back to be a dad to my children after I retired from the military, and I know that I can contribute to the city’s efforts and make a change by providing exceptional leadership and ensuring that our ethical standards, our finances, are all adjusted to be inline with the highest practices that a municipality should operate at.”

Cash said that is not happening know in the management of the city.

“I looked at all of our contracts, and all of our contracts are garbage also,” he said. “We have 10 lawyers on the staff, and I do not know why we have the contracts that we have that are so poorly written. One of the things that I will do is to renegotiate all the contracts to ensure that we are getting the best deal for the goods and services that we procure. That is not happening right now.”

Cash said he would adopt the federal contracting standards, which will increase the city’s ethical business practices, which he said is an absolute need. He said in doing that, he will renegotiate all the contracts for less for the same goods and services.
Cash said with the 20-year failed idea of the university innovation district, he will not pursue continuing down that path.

“There is no four-year university that wants to come here, and in 20 years, the city is well aware that there is no way that they are going to bring a four-year university because the demand does not support it,” he said. “We have enough four year universities around San Diego County. So, that 400-acres of land that has been set aside since the 1980s, we will redesignate it to support a tech and trade school district. We will bring in 50 different tech and trade schools, maybe even more, but we will have a campus where teaching occurs, and students can live that provides housing for individuals, families, and on a short-term basis, housing for those who come in for a six-week certificate.”

Cash said additionally, it would include a pipeline for prosperity for the homeless.

“Those able to get skills and job training will be able to attend credentialed classes or certificates through the tech and trade school district, where they will have a house to establish their residency. When they leave, they will have credentials to earn more money than a college graduate.”

Cash said most college graduates on average do not earn any sort of money in their first few years that is in the realm of what the professionals coming from tech and trade schools earn in their first few years, with significantly less debt.

“Our nation is short of workers that can do things, fix things, and make things,” he said. “I will make sure that Chula Vista is the jewel of the nation for their tech and trade school district so that they are known as the city that creates workers that do things, fixes things, and makes things.”

Cash said people cannot afford housing in Chula Vista because it is out of their price range, so the tech and trade skills learned can give residents a job that earns more and supports living in Chula Vista.

“I do not believe that lowering the cost of everyone else’s valuable properties so other folks can enter the market is the right approach,” he said. “We have programs in place that support that and I would not change those. I would further increase a pipeline to prosperity through the tech and trade school district. If we create a workforce that is capable of doing all these jobs in the tech and trade industry, then the businesses will come.”
Cash said of the refugees from Ukraine that have come into the nation, walking across our border now:

“I went to the processing center in Tijuana, and I have a full understanding of what the refugee standing is within our community,” he said. “It is the fastest growing population that is affecting our community here in Chula Vista. I am hosting a family of five. I am sponsoring them so that they can stay with me until they are able to move into some longer term sustainable housing. They have medical issues with their children that need to be addressed. All these things are challenges that our community needs to be aware of and understand that these refugees are here, and they are going to continue to keep coming until the world stops the atrocities in Ukraine.”

Cash spent his Army career as a medical evacuation helicopter pilot and medical operations officer.

“I have been involved with every single major geopolitical event that the U.S. has been involved with for the past 20 plus years,” he said.

He said he finished his career working on the federal government’s COVID-19 response, when COVID was a military priority. He was one of around 45 active duty personnel assigned to Operation Warp Speed.

“In summer 2020, I was in Southern California, working in San Bernadino, Riverside, and San Diego counties with federal and local public health officials and all stakeholders involved with COVID, in particularly in convalescent plasma,” he said adding that he worked with several local organizations in spreading awareness and knowledge and getting convalescent plasma in the highest risk areas to prepare for the winter surge. That was the bridge until in January the vaccine was available and introduced and put out to the public.”