The San Diego County Registrar of Voters informed the City of Chula Vista that proponents of the Elected City Attorney Initiative had collected the necessary 13,669 valid signatures to place the measure on the ballot. The initiative seeks to make the office of the City Attorney an elected position. The purpose of the initiative is to ensure that the City Attorney represents and is responsible to City residents, rather than only representing the Mayor, City Council and other City Officials.
This is the second time this year that proponents of the initiative submitted over 20,000 signatures to the City Clerk in order to qualify the measure for the ballot. The initial signatures were thrown out because of a publishing technicality and the City Council ignored the signatures and wishes of thousands of voters who wanted to vote on this issue. “The City’s actions only furthered our resolve to have an elected City Attorney in office, so we collected even more signatures this go around” said Norma Cazares, who signed the petition’s Statement of Reasons.
Chula Vistans for Elected City Attorney, a Chula Vista advocacy group, turned in 21,688 signatures to the Chula Vista City Clerk on December 3, 2007. The City Clerk then handed the signatures over to the Registrar of Voters to perform a validation of the signatures.
Norma Cazares, proponent of the initiative, was happy to see the process move along. “We knew that we had collected more than enough signatures to qualify. Now we need to make sure that the Mayor and City Council take prompt action to place the initiative on the ballot.”
Norma Cazares believes it’s time that Chula Vista residents have an elected City Attorney who represents the residents. “Currently, the City Attorney is appointed by, represents, and reports to the Mayor and Council members. We need an attorney who will represent and be responsible to the people and act in the best interests of the public. The initiative rightfully specifies that the City Council has the power to approve all lawsuits filed on behalf of the City”.
Seven of the 20 largest cities in California have an elected City Attorney, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Oakland, Long Beach, Huntington Beach and San Bernardino. Chula Vista is ranked as the 13th largest city in California.
“Our city is no longer just a small suburb of San Diego, but a thriving city that deserves an evolved form of city government. An attorney who serves independently of the Mayor and City Council will help ensure good governance,” stated Gerald Scott, a Chula Vista resident and petition signer. “Chula Vista has outgrown our current form of government, and we believe this simple change to the Charter will help provide the residents of Chula Vista with more checks and balances at City Hall,” added Cazares.
Proponents of the initiative are now anxiously awaiting the City Council’s vote to place the initiative on the ballot for the June primary election. “We just hope that the Mayor and Council decide to do the right thing this time by allowing the citizens of Chula Vista an opportunity to vote on this important issue,” stated Gerald Scott.