An elected City Attorney for Chula Vista . . .
“To be, or not to be: that is the question.” This often cited quotation from William Shakespeare’s Hamlet is fitting here. Soon the Chula Vista City Council will have another opportunity to grant the residents of Chula Vista the right to vote on a ballot initiative that seeks to change the city attorney to an elected post.
In less than one year, concerned citizens have twice collected over 20,000 signatures to place this initiative on the ballot. The initial signatures were disqualified when a San Francisco attorney threatened litigation due to a technicality involving the publication of the notice of intent to circulate the petition. The City’s actions only furthered the resolve of community residents to have an elected City Attorney in office and we quickly went back to the streets and collected 20,000 more signatures to place the initiative on the 2008 ballot.
We strongly believe that Chula Vista has outgrown its current form of government. Our city is no longer a small suburb of San Diego as it was 30 years ago when I moved there with my husband and young family. It is now one of the fastest growing cities in the country that deserves an evolved form of city government. Chula Vista needs an attorney who will represent and be responsible to the people and act in the best interests of the public, not solely in the interest of the Mayor and City Council.
Although it is important to ensure that someone in City Hall is looking over our City Council and City staff, we also want to make certain that the checks and balances are in place to oversee an elected City Attorney as well. The initiative rightfully specifies that the City Council has to approve all lawsuits filed on behalf of the city by the City Attorney.
Chula Vistans deserve the opportunity to decide whether or not we want a City Attorney that is responsible and accountable to city residents, not merely to the Mayor, City Council and other City officials. The Mayor and Council will soon decide whether or not to put this important issue on the ballot. We urge you to contact them and tell them to Let Chula Vista Vote . . . “Ay, there’s the rub.”
Norma A. Cazares
Chula Vistans for an Elected City Attorney