June 8, 2007

Commentary:

Chula Vista Initiatives Will Move Forward and On To the Ballot

Chula Vistans for Community Input will re-circulate its General Plan Protection Initiative, which aims to protect the General Plan and give citizens a voice about building heights in Chula Vista. Chula Vistans for Community Input supports the right of the voters of Chula Vista to decide this matter. Over 20,000 people signed petitions, and the City Council can and should place this measure on the ballot.

Instead, the Council is challenging the validity of this ballot measure based on the fact that the notice of intent to circulate the petition was originally published in La Prensa San Diego, a paper that the City claims is not adjudicated for Chula Vista.

Chula Vistans for Community Input is re-circulating the ballot measure to ensure that, whether the Council places the measure on the ballot or not, the voices of the voters will be heard on the issue of building height limits in downtown Chula Vista.

The City Council is challenging the General Plan Protection Initiative on the basis that Chula Vistans for Community Input did not follow the City’s election code carefully enough in submitting it.

Meanwhile, the Council members were not playing by City rules either when they recently adopted the Urban Core Specific Plan (UCSP), which contains provisions which violate a City ordinance known as the Cummings Growth Control Initiative. The Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the UCSP documents significant impacts in a number of areas that are inconsistent with the purpose and intent of the Cummings Growth Control Initiative, which says facilities and service levels, such as traffic and infrastructure, must be maintained at existing levels. The UCSP does not require developers to pay adequate fees up front to offset the traffic and infrastructure impacts that their projects will cause.

It’s outrageous that the City is adopting massive development plans for our downtown that do not adhere to a City ordinance. Yet at the same time, the City is rejecting the will of 20,000 voters by refusing to put our initiative on the ballot because of some obscure provision of the election code.

Any legal decision on the General Plan Protection Initiative might be challenged by either side, leading to an expensive and time consuming legal battle, and not necessarily leading to our objective: a timely election so voters may decide this issue.

We intend to play by the rules-therefore, we are going to re-circulate the petition. The expenditure of public resources in order for the City to sue its own City Clerk is expensive, ridiculous and unnecessary. The first attorney has filed suit to sue the City Clerk, and the second attorney will represent her. Instead, we will republish and re-circulate our petition to ensure that the people of Chula Vista will be able to vote on this issue.

We acted in good faith and are disappointed that the City didn’t notify us of a problem when we submitted the proof of publication on October 6, 2006. Instead, the City waited until after we had gathered and turned in over 20,000 signatures in support of the initiative, before notifying us of the problem on May 15, 2007.

Out of respect for the will of 20,000 Chula Vista voters, the City Council should act immediately and set this ballot measure for a prompt public vote. Regardless, we are re-circulating the ballot measure and look forward to a proper resolution of this issue - at the polls.

Steve Haskins
Spokesperson for Chula Vistans for Community Input

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