CHULA VISTA, Calif., — Voters in Chula Vista are looking to elect a new city attorney. This vote comes off the heels of a scandal involving councilmember Andrea Cardenas who was arrested for federal fraud charges.
Monday evening, Mayor John McCann released a statement saying that after reviewing the criminal charges, it’s clear Cardenas must resign.
Candidate Marco Verdugo also joined the mayor’s calls for resignation when asked by FOX 5 how he would correct the matter if elected for City Attorney.
“Everyone is entitled to their day in court, but Chula Vista residents, people like me and my family who have lived here our entire lives, we’re entitled to representation that we can trust,” Verdugo shared.
Those charges stem from allegedly misusing PPP Loans and now that’s adding extra pressure for the candidates looking to become the next city attorney who would be in charge of those investigations.
“The city attorney dropped the ball, I hate to say it, but he dropped the ball,” shared candidate Dan Smith-Diaz when discussing past complaints launched regarding Cardenas’ campaign spending.
The race for city attorney has been a long time coming, so much so, the City of Chula Vista has been without a full-time city attorney for a year now.
Present day, a call for truth and ethics takes center stage amid the special election race.
Former appointed City Attorney Bart Miesfeld, Attorney and Chula Vista resident Marco Verdugo, and Dan Smith Diaz who was neck-in-neck in the last race for city attorney after losing by under once percent, are all vying for votes to make changes in local government.
The three candidates now pushing for transparency, promising to keep public officials accountable for the actions.
“The residents of Chula Vista are sick and tired of corruption, sick and tired of their elected officials being under scrutiny…being under investigation for illegal activity,” Miesfeld said. “First thing I got to do is get in there and get our machine working again and get lawyers with experience who know what they’re doing.”
The race comes after the former city attorney, the late Simon Silva died of cancer in September of last year. Despite his death, Silva still won, prompting controversy and a pricey special election.
“That money could have been spent on the tiny homes, that we made a big deal about in Chula Vista and they are a big deal, but they’re not habitable,” Miesfeld said.
As the clock ticks, for one final shot to cast ballots, homeless housing and tax dollars continue to captivate voters and headline campaign slogans.
A candidate must receive more than 50% of the vote to win. If no one does, the top two candidates will then move to a runoff election which is set for March 5 of next year.
Overall, whoever wins the race will finish out Silva’s term which ends in December of 2026.