District 3 candidates to be interviewed

The Chula Vista City Council unanimously decided to move forward with appointing a council member for District 3, vacated by former council member Steve Padilla, elected to the State Senate in the November elections.

After 17 applications were received, 10 were selected at the Jan. 17 council meeting to be interviewed, chosen, and sworn in at the Jan. 24 council meeting next week.

The final candidates for the open seat are: Nimpa Akana, Devonna Almagro, Griselda Delgado, David Diaz, Alonso Gonzalez, Victor Lopez, Daniel Rice (Vasquez), Sophia Rodriguez, Tanya Williams, and Gian Ghio.

Each applicant will be given three minutes for opening statements, 20 minutes to answer two questions from each member of the dais, and two minutes for closing remarks. Applicants will not be allowed in Chamber until after being interviewed.

After interviews are complete, council members will nominate their suggestion for appointment. All council members will be given the opportunity to nominate. Once a nomination is seconded, and voted on with at least three yes votes, that nominee will be appointed directly.

Mayor John McCann said if someone is selected that night, he wants them sworn in immediately.

“We need to make sure that we hit the ground running if somebody does get selected,” he said.

There were 21 speakers on this agenda item, with a few requesting that with redistricting Council should consider Asian Pacific Islander candidates for District 3, but the majority of comments people requested that council interview all 17 candidates since it chose to appoint and not include District 3 with the special election for city attorney.

In public speaking, one woman said she was disappointed that council decided to appoint rather than merge the District 3 with the city attorney special election.

“I would have saved a lot of time and would not have given the perception that this council is trying to appoint their own crony,” she said. “Do you have someone hiding in the wings already? I would venture to say yes.”
John Acosta said that city council did not reflect the community.

“There is no African American sitting there, there is no Filipino sitting there,” he said. “Whatever you do, do not select any of your friends.”

Rodriguez read a comment from Patricia O’Mara saying that she has lived and worked in the community for 30 years and told council she supported Nimpa Akana saying that Akana is Asian American and represents the demographics of District 3.

“Asians are the third largest ethic demographic in Chula Vista, but the population numbers do not translate into equity in our office holders,” she wrote. “Our city council should look like Chula Vista…District 3 deserves a representative that reflects our community.”

City Clerk Kerry Bigelow confirmed that council will ask consistent questions to all interviews, two questions each, questions will be decided before the process begins on Jan. 24 in public session, candidates must be present to interview, the person will be sworn in that evening, and all council members have the opportunity to make a nomination.