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.

Christine Brady


Christine Brady is running for Chula Vista mayor, a seat being vacated by Mayor Mary Casillas Salas. Brady is a write-in candidate, qualifying with enough verified signatures with the City Clerk’s office on May 9. Brady’s name will not appear on the ballot but can be written-in on mail ballots and at election polls, there is a dropdown menu of qualified write-in candidates to choose from.

Running nonpartisan, 64-year-old Brady said she considered running for city council, but lives in District 4, and that is when people began telling her that she should run for mayor.

“If they elect me for mayor, it will not be the same ol’ same ol’,” she said. “I do not have big endorsements and I do not have big money running my campaign.”
Brady said she believes that her experience is her best tool in challenging other candidates for the mayor’s seat.

“I am the only candidate that has real community development experience,” she said. “I have been working in the trenches for 34 years. Working with the people. Listening to their needs. Developing solutions to the problems. And, I have been very successful. Now, I would like to apply the same strategies to the problems in Chula Vista. It is in the process of transitioning from a small town to a medium-sized city that still does not recognize itself as a large city. It needs certain social institutions that benefit the entire population that it does not have currently.”

Brady said her interest is in applying viable solutions to the city’s homeless population, addressing the high costs of living, bringing in more educational opportunities, bringing more art and culture into the city, upgrading schools, strengthening police, bringing more jobs in Chula Vista, and creating a border friendly city that welcomes workers.
Brady earned her bachelor’s degree in Physics at Princeton University and her master’s degree in Material Science & Engineering from Stanford University. Brady studied ballet professionally in New York City from the age of 11 to 18 and teaches adult ballet at the Coronado Adult School.

Brady founded the Americas Foundation in Tijuana in 1989, to promote binational community development at the US/Mexico border providing direct aid to disadvantaged children in the area. The Foundation supports the La Esperanza schools of Tijuana. The Jardin de Niños La Esperanza kindergarten, and Colegio La Esperanza elementary and high schools. The Jardin de Niños La Esperanza kindergarten was designed and built by artist/architect James Hubbell.

La Esperanza schools provide poor children with the opportunity to develop their different talents and give them an example of a positive community service project, so that in 30 years they will create effective and beautiful social institutions that are needed; hospitals, museums, universities, schools, or parks, and likewise dedicate themselves to activities constructive to their communities, said Brady. She said the schools focus on education through art and music.

“I have successfully solved social issues in a beautiful way that has improved a community,” she said. “I also have the experience of being a principal of a kindergarten, elementary and high school where I have dealt with thousands of parents.”

“I have the recognition of the need for arts education and a cultural center in Chula Vista,” she said. “With dance and art studios as well as performing arts, spaces, galleries and museums, and a youth orchestra. There is no art in Chula Vista. Bringing art, and having art being part of the public space, will increase the value and bring more visitors, especially with the billion dollar project on the bayfront where they are building a resort. I think the project should have been negotiated so that there are more services for residents in Chula Vista, as well as tourists. I think everyone should have their own art. It will sustain them throughout their life. It will make them more committed to the community. Even after school programs do not have the materials that they need. The more society does for our young people, the better society we will have for the future.”

Brady said to cut violence and crime in the future, the city must invest more into the youth of the city. “I initiated a program in Tijuana called More Art is Equal to Less Violence,” she said.

Brady said she has a plan for the unsheltered that includes small homes they could use for two years while they are in treatment programs at a new mental health facility.

“This is a much more viable plan than what they are spending $7 million on right now,” she said. “I would like to see a person in the municipal government who is like a homeless czar, who studies the homeless problems and helps come up with different proposals.”
Brady said the college district is a great plan, but it is “way over on the east side” and for another UC for Chula Vista. Brady said the city needs to improve more east to west public transportation and would like to see a trolley line going to the college district.

“Basically, I think the college district will solve problems,” she said. “All housing and businesses around a university increase in value. I think there is the need for another UC in the South Bay. Eventually they will do more development around the university and provide more housing. Other amenities will naturally come about as businesses will be around the university.”

Brady said with Southwestern turning more with four-year degrees, there will be two colleges on the east side, but there is something needed in western Chula Vista. Brady said she wants a Chula Vista center for educational excellence, which would bring jobs at various levels to Chula Vista and upgrade the community significantly.

“I am proposing a new community college for the west side of Chula Vista. More attention between the city and the public schools, to ensure schools have sporting equipment, coaches, arts programs, and better architecture.”

Brady said the Chula Vista Adult School needs significant upgrading with better installations and more certificate programs.

“Most of the schools in Chula Vista are just converted trailers,” she said. “They even sacrificed an entire remodeling grant and decided to put in solar panels instead.”
Brady said when it comes to the bayfront development, she believes that Chula Vista has a unique character being so close to the border.

“I was very sad that they did not incorporate something architecturally to reflect that character,” she said. “I have seen absolutely gorgeous modern resorts down in Mexico. The building they are building looks like something you could put in Singapore. It does not reflect the character of this region. It does not seem like they negotiated for the resident population to be able to use facilities. They are hoping it will create a lot of jobs, but I think it is only going to create a certain level of jobs, house cleaning and construction, hospitality and a little bit with events. Educational centers would bring in more innovation with highly educated people. We will have to see how much it costs the city of Chula Vista and what the benefits will be.”

Brady said west Chula Vista needs upgrading, but she does not want to see people pushed out of their homes, and she also does not want to see large apartment buildings built with insufficient parking, creating more traffic and parking issues in the area.

“I think more study needs to be done on how to preserve the single home communities that we have and at the same time try to meet the requirements for more housing,” she said. “I do not think the city has been creative. They have not brought in more urban planning people. It is all top down and the community does not have much input. I am a big believer in talking with the community and finding out what their needs are and trying to address the need. I think we need to improve the communication between the people, the city, and the powers that be.”