Any way you slice it Cheryl Cox’s mayorship has been a disaster. She lost the billion dollar Bayfront project by being a bystander when the unions tried to Greenmail Gaylord. She scared away the Chargers Stadium deal culminating with her very public war with Mark Fabiani that aired on TV for all of us to see (good for repeat viewing). She ran on being a fiscal conservative, then proposed and voted for every tax and fee increase, including taxing cell phone service and her failed 1% sales tax increase measure.
She campaigned on eliminating the highly paid Mayor’s chief of staff position. Cox then broke her promise by keeping the position for her own bidding. Her Chief of Staff Dan Forester then returned the favor by doing private consulting out of his City office – of which Cox apparently approved. She also failed to support the firing of the City Manager who was caught looking at porn on City computers during work time. These are just a slice of the chaos that Cox inflicted on Chula Vista.
Now, I’m not here to beat her up on her too numerous failures in City leadership, I’m sure her two Mayoral opponents will have opportune time to point them out. My concern is her lack of leadership in the Republican Party. When convenient she wears the banner of the leading Republican in Chula Vista. But like most Cox endeavors she fails miserably again.
Cox is severely outnumbered on the Council by 4 to 1. Four pro-union Dems & 1 Rep (if you can call Cox a Rep). As momentum swings towards the Republicans it would have been a great opportunity to increase Republican numbers. But Cox lent no help to Republican hopefuls and failed to recruit any allies to serve on the Council with her. For Seat #1 the vulnerable Councilman Rodolfo ‘Rudy’ Ramirez wound up with no opponent. The unpopular Ramirez had his sister and brother on the City payroll (can you say nepotism). Ramirez and his sister were involved in the Animal Shelter scandal and he was ripe for defeat. Ramirez participated in the City Committee that had oversight of the Animal Shelter. When his sister was in trouble as the contracted veterinarian, Ramirez did not recuse himself, instead he was an aggressive defender of his sister’s questionable actions on the committee and helped sweep the scandal under the rug. Still the hapless Ramirez runs unopposed. This was a true missed opportunity.
For the open Seat#2 there is only one Republican running out of the four, Larry Breitfelder. Now, you might rejoice that he’s the one to get behind, but not for Cox. Cox is not supporting Brietfelder and Cox’s acidic personality doesn’t mix with the hopeful Breitfelder who has long been an ally of Cox’s foe Steve Castaneda. In classic Cox fashion, she is leading one of her negative whisper campaigns against him and her cute phrase is “Brietfelder is an oxymoron, because he is not that bright.” Even if Brietfelder gets elected, it is unlikely they will work well together.
There is no excuse for not having strong Republicans running in both seats. Russ Hall, Scott Vinson, David Walden, Ron Kelly and Myssie McCann instantly come to mind as viable candidates. There were 26 applicants that applied for the interim Council seat when Councilman John McCann was called up for military duty in Iraq. Couldn’t Cheryl find one Republican out of the bunch that she liked? They all expressed interest in being on the Council. It wouldn’t have taken much. “Hi, I’m the Mayor of the second largest City in San Diego. We need good Republicans to run for office and I want you to run.” Really , Cheryl you couldn’t find time to do that? You could find anyone you liked? Really?
Cox is no help in other races in the South County and she seems to only offer help to Dems. In her GOP endorsement questionnaire she readily admits to endorsing Democrats and says she will likely endorse Democrats in the future like Pam Smith and leftwing liberal nut job Bertha Lopez. Isn’t this the ONE rule the GOP should enforce? Republicans should not endorse Democrats or they don’t get the GOP endorsement. Now where have I heard that before? Oh, that is what Cox used against Steve Castaneda back when he was a Republican running for Mayor (Cox said Castaneda was a bad Republican because he endorsed Democrat Steve Padilla). Come on GOP, are you that desperate? I know the only other strong potential Republican Mayoral candidate John McCann is serving in Iraq, but before Cox received the GOP endorsement shouldn’t the Party have withheld Cox’s endorsement until she made the pledge not to support Democrats. Would it have been that hard to ask?
Cox gets an ‘F’ for Party loyalty. Cox either only cares about her own political survival or is totally incompetent (wouldn’t be surprising seeing how she ran the City), but she has a responsibility to Republicans in the South County. On this issue she shouldn’t have it both ways. She can’t receive the GOP endorsement and the banner of being the leading Republican in Chula Vista when she consistently endorses Dems, fails to recruit fellow Republican candidates and sabotages other Republicans by trashing them with her whisper campaigns or outright endorses their Democratic opponents.
The tail should not wag the GOP dog in Chula Vista. The GOP needs to put their foot down and find new leadership for the failed Cox who needs to retire or be put out to pasture. If not, once Cox is gone, there won’t be any GOP elected officials left in South County.