Chula Vista City Council takes first step to appoint someone to vacant District 4 seat – NBC 7 San Diego

The clock is now ticking for the Chula Vista City Councilmembers to appoint a temporary replacement for indicted and former councilmember Andrea Cardenas’ seat.

Her chair was noticeably empty during Monday night’s special meeting where councilmembers unanimously declared her seat officially vacant.

The council has 45 days to appoint someone in the interim

The declaration gives the council 45 days to appoint someone to fill the remaining eight months of Cardena’s term.

“Every appointment we’ve had has been a mess in this city,” said longtime District 4 resident Cheryl Perez.

“In District 3 we had a situation with someone misleading about their education, luckily we found out about that,” Perez said.

Because of education and residency verification issues during the council’s 2022 District 3 appointment process, applicants will now have to provide proof of their educational backgrounds. 

Concerns over properly vetting appointees within the 45-day timeframe, as well as councilmembers possibly appointing their friends, are just a few of the reasons why Perez doesn’t want someone appointed to represent her.

“Three or four people electing the representative for the whole district with no input from the public — we don’t know who it is, we don’t have a chance to get to know them, we see no debates; it doesn’t represent us. Leave it blank until we have a say,” said Perez.

Mayor worries about the learning curve

It’s not just voters who have concerns, while Mayor John McCann says the district deserves representation, he worries about the learning curve an appointee may have to overcome.

“The challenging thing is, is when you become a councilmember, you need to have some good experience in city issues and in government to be effective. Coming in with no experience, it’s going to be hard for somebody to become effective in only a few months if they have no experience,” McCann said.

Starting Friday until March 15, the city will accept applications for the District 4 seat. Councilmembers will then nominate potential appointees, then interview them with the goal of appointing someone by April 9. If not, the seat will remain open until the November General Election.

The Dstrict 4 seat opened up last Monday, when Cardenas resigned from her position.

She’s now facing 8-felony fraud charges that include allegations she fraudulently applied for Covid-era, PPP loans for her political consulting business with her brother.

The deadline for Chula Vista City Council to appoint someone is April 11.

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