Comparing and contrasting decisions

Politics, like sports, can lend itself some to interesting, lively replay and debate seasoned with second-guessing and Monday morning quarterbacking. How useful the chatter is, is ultimately up to those who decide if there are any lessons to be learned.

When the San Diego County Board of Supervisors this week chose to have voters pick a replacement for Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, who is quitting office later this month, it was reminiscent of a similar situation South County legislators found themselves in just a few months ago.

It was in December the Chula Vista City council were faced with filling a vacancy on their own dais.

Former Chula Vista City Councilman Steve Padilla had just been elected to the State Senate. The residents of District 3 found themselves without a representative on the council.

The body of four local lawmakers was comprised of two veterans in newly-elected but former councilman John McCann and Councilwoman Andrea Cardenas. Jose Preciado and Carolina Chavez had just won their own elections to the council.

Without any sort of a honeymoon, the quartet was tasked with making a significant call—let voters decide who will represent them with a fall 2023 election or appoint someone to join them sooner rather than later.

Despite plentiful objections from District 3 residents, the council decided to appoint someone and in January Alonso Gonzalez was chosen by three of the four council members.

Those in favor of the appointment process cited the cost of a special election as well as the length of time District 3 would go without representation.

Those same concerns were brought up at the county level when considering an election or appointment for Fletcher’s seat but the sitting board went in a different direction.

They decided to let voters choose who will represent them and in August they’ll have their say.

It’s an interesting contrast. On the one hand you have an electorate that had their leader thrust upon them and on the other you have voters who will get to decide their own fate.

Which set of voters will benefit most remains to be seen. But we do know now, at least, who is responsible for the choices that have and will be made.