John Moot running for Chula Vista City Attorney

John Moot

Attorney John Moot is running for Chula Vista City Attorney in the upcoming June 5 election, being vacated by City Attorney Glen Googins who has hit his term limit. The 67 year old Democrat, Moot said he believes that he is best suited for the position with his nearly four decades of private sector practice and his two terms on the Chula Vista City Council from 1994 to 2000.

Moot is a fourth generation lawyer.

“My father, grandfather, and great-grandfather all practice law in Buffalo, New York. Some might say this is in my blood,” he said. “I vividly remember my grandfather and father talking about it was not good enough to just be a lawyer. You had to be a good husband, father, and you had to give back to your community. In large measure, which is how I became involved with the city and the planning commission.”

Moot moved to Chula Vista in the mid-80s, and like many people ended up in Chula Vista when it was time to get married, have kids, and buy a home.

“Chula Vista was affordable,” he said. “I bought my first home in the second phase of Eastlake. And I have never looked back. From my early days, Chula Vista felt like home. A community where you felt you could make a difference and be part of the community and contribute. I have spent my entire adult career being involved in the city in some form or fashion. City Council, Sharp Chula Vista Board of Directors, South County Economic Development Council, Center for Sustainability Board of Director for 13 years, EastLake Educational Foundation, and many other organizations.”

Moot said Chula Vista always felt it was the community where he wanted to be.

“I love the city because of all its diversity, not being so large that you feel like you cannot be a part of the community in meaningful ways and contribute, and the fact that people respect that. Chula Vista has a wonderful spirit of community involvement that is weaved into the fabric of the city.”

Moot said the City Attorney’s office should have the most experienced and well-qualified attorney leading the city into its next era with the bayfront becoming a reality, and the city entering a phase where it will become a major city in the state, deserving of the best possible legal advice.

“My experience from serving on the council in the late 90s showed me the value of public service,” he said. “While it was a parttime position while I was on council as deputy mayor, I realized I was best suited in being an attorney and went back to my fulltime practice at my firm at the time. I feel that it is a great way to finish my legal career back in public service, serving the city I love and have quite a respect for. That is what motivated me to run for city attorney.”

Moot said large cases for the Sweetwater Union High School District in the California Supreme Court, handling several complex cases with significant public ramifications, including powerlines on the bayfront, public access to governmental facilities, and his current litigation with the $80 million bid-rigging case at the San Diego County Fair.

“I feel that I have accomplished and had a great career in private practice, and I want to take that experience and that knowledge and use it to represent the city of Chula Vista and see that they get top quality legal services from a city attorney with a wealth of experience, both working for governmental entities, and at times being averse to them,” he said.

Moot said with his unique background and his terms on city council, he knows what the needs of the city are, the type of legal advice that is important for the council, city manager, and staff to receive.

“I believe given that unique perspective, I am probably the best qualified person that could take over that job,” he said.

Moot said he has the ability and desire to work with city legal staff.

“When I looked about four to five months ago, over the last three years I believe the city has been named a party in more than 50 lawsuits,” he said. “A very significant part of a city attorney’s job is managing that litigation. I have 39 years as a civil lawyer, that vast majority of it handling civil litigation of all types. I believe as a city attorney, the ability to handle and manage that litigation inhouse would significantly save the city money. Many lawsuits the city gets involved in are part of an insurance pool that can cover those legal costs, but it must be managed correctly.”

Moot used the 101 Ash Street contract with the city of San Diego as an example of how governmental contracts can be a problem if not scrutinized by a qualified attorney.

“That became a problem because the city attorney’s office signed off on a contract to buy a high-rise, as is, whereas, which no private attorney with any experience in real estate would never have done something like that,” he said. “One of the unfortunate dynamics that happen in government law offices is that the person that pays the consequences of a mistake is the taxpayer. Unless you have very experienced lawyers with significant experience in the private sector, mistakes can be made that do not get made by private lawyers because they have what I call, real world experience of being in courtrooms, in front of judges, and getting direct feedback when they do good work, and when they make mistakes and do not do good work. People inside government offices, that dynamic is not in play. They have that client, and they will still have that client regardless of how they perform on a particular matter.”