We’ll never know if the majority of adults living in Chula Vista’s District 3 think Alonso Gonzalez had what it takes to lead their sliver of the city through these next two years.
To put a finer point on it, we’ll never know if D3 voters believed enough in Gonzalez to elect him.
On the other hand, if Gonzalez stumbles, falls and makes a mess of things—which at this point there is no reason to suspect he would—district voters there can point to council members Jose Preciado, Andrea Cardenas and Carolina Chavez and scream “See what you did!?”
It was that trinity that ultimately appointed Gonzalez to serve out the remainder of ex-councilman Steve Padilla’s term on the city council while Mayor John McCann called for a special election.
The appointment came after three weeks of public meetings that narrowed a field of almost 20 candidates to 10. Had the majority of the council on Tuesday not agreed on the Padilla substitute, the city would have been compelled to host a special election.
But the trio of Democrats triumphed and the lone Republican mayor failed. And voters in D3 lost.
The most compelling reason to not hold a special election, the city reasoned, was cost.
They didn’t want to incur the financial obligation that would have been attached to a probable low-voter turnout affair.
Had they piggybacked the D3 election to the one in November, which they are compelled to hold for the City Attorney’s seat, they could have avoided the cost but then District 3 would have been without a representative until then.
In 2016, when the city first started hosting district elections, the idea was that each community would select their own representative. District 3 has experienced the freedom of selection before so it’s not as if they have been denied the opportunity. It’s merely been curtailed. I know if I were a voter that lived there I’d be annoyed.
Of course everyone wants Gonzalez to succeed and do well and help District 3 prosper in the short time he is there. But keep this in mind: even if he proves to be the best elected official ever in the history of Chula Vista, he is prohibited from running for election to D3 for at least one year after his term ends in 2024. Talk about a short-timer with no options.