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Chula Vista City Council appoints member to District 3 seat, avoids expensive special election

The seat in the largest district was left open when Stephen Padilla was elected to the state Senate.

CHULA VISTA, Calif. — The Chula Vista City Council has sworn in Alonso Gonzalez to the empty District 3 seat representing the city's southeast region, including Paseo Ranchero and Otay Ranch. 

The seat was vacant due to the election of former councilmember Steve Padilla to the State Senate in November 2022. 

Members of the community filled the council chambers for Tuesday's special session and public comment went on for hours but in the end, the City Council voted to appoint Gonzalez in a 3-1 vote, with Chula Vista Mayor John McCann voting in opposition. Gonzalez was sworn in immediately.

McCann did motion for a special election before any leaders considered appointing a candidate, but that motion failed.

Gonzalez worked as deputy chief of staff for the San Diego City Council from 2006 to 2009 and as a former land use policy analyst for former San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders. Gonzalez, a seven-year resident of the City, is a real estate broker with eight years of local government service in land use and policy development. 

“I am an advocate for healthy, vibrant communities that favor inclusion over single family zoning,” says Gonzalez. “My expertise with land use and experience in local government administration are the tools that will allow me to serve the Chula Vista City Council District 3 and its residents well.”

The other 9 candidates for the empty seat included: Nimpa Akana, Devonna Almagro, Griselda Delgado, David Diaz, Gian Ghio, Victor Lopez, Daniel Rice (Vazquez), Sophia Rodriguez and Tanya Williams.

A week ago during the council meeting, Chula Vista residents shared their frustrations over not being able to elect a city council member to the vacant seat through a special election.

District 3 is the largest district that covers the city's southeast region like Paseo Ranchero and Otay Ranch. Locals say the district is in need of better infrastructure and public safety, but worry their concerns won't be prioritized. They also fear the person who could be appointed won't represent the district's community, mainly Filipino and Latino.

WATCH: Chula Vista to appoint a new city council member to vacant District 3 seat (Jan 24, 2023):

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