A South Bay Update

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As an update to the ongoings in the South Bay, I’m sure some of you have heard by now that Democrat Sweetwater School Board member Arlie Ricasa was hit with a $2,000 fine by the FPPC. As reported by the San Diego Union Tribune, she was caught not fully reporting an $18,000 loan on her campaign financial documents.

Good, now that that’s over with… the 2012 Chula Vista City Council races are coming up. The seats of Councilmembers Steve Castaneda (termed-out) and Pamela Bensoussan are up for election. Word on the street is that South Bay Irrigation District Director Jose Preciado is planning on running for one of the positions, I’m assuming it will be for the open seat.

Preciado, a Democrat (and boy, is that an understatement) is a member of both the state and county Democratic Party Central Committees, the Chula Vista Democratic Club, and the South Bay Forum and the Center for Social Advocacy (two of those “non-partisan, non-profit” organizations that we all know are just front groups for the Democratic Party).

So, the question becomes… can Jose Preciado raise money? According to financial disclosure forms filed at the Registrar of Voters office, Mr. Preciado raised $2,275 for his 2008 South Bay Irrigation District seat, in which he upset incumbent Director James C. “Jim” Alkire in a 56-44% election.

Does $2,275 sound like a lot of money to be raising for a potential campaign to help run the second-largest city in the county? Not really. But, if you’re an apologist I’m sure you’ll want to cut him some slack on his lack of cash — he DID run that same year in the June primary election by trying to oust Republican Jerry Rindone from the San Diego County Board of Education. Preciado, of course, lost in a three-way race earning just 37%.

However, Preciado is not one to count out of a potential race. He does have the ability to not only use “Director, South Bay Irrigation District” as a potential ballot designation, but as an incumbent he can use that to help fundraise from Democratic-leaning organizations, labor groups, etc.

So, next question… who do we, as Republicans, have to potentially run either against Preciado or against a candidate the Democrats find for the other seat? Perhaps any of the three previous candidates that have run, Scott Vinson, Russ Hall, or Larry Breitfielder? Or how about someone who may, or may not have even been approached to run? Given that it’s still early to narrow down the candidate field, I would much rather push for a new direction, a proven fundraiser, and a name and a reputation throughout most of the community. I’m talking about David Gonzalez, Jr.

Mr. Gonzalez, the brother of former San Diego Padres players Edgar and Adrian Gonzalez, ran for the Otay Water Board last year and won against Democrat Chris Shilling. David was endorsed, not only by Democrats Rudy Ramirez and Steve Castaneda, but also by Republicans Larry Breitfielder, Chula Vista Police Chief David Bejarano, and former Assemblywoman Shirley Horton.

He’s a proven candidate who can receive endorsements from both sides of the aisle, and raised over $41,000 for his election, giving him — I believe — a potential edge over Preciado or any other potential candidates he may have to go up against. Then again, I’m just merely hypothesizing and speculating at this point. However, with some proper engagement by GOP officials, Mr. Gonzalez could be the next big thing for the party in the South Bay, an area of San Diego County where some extra, qualified — and quality — candidates are needed.

Mr. Gonzalez has a degree in Business Management from Point Loma Nazarene University, and lives with his wife and three children in Chula Vista. He serves as general manager and partner for the Gonzalez Sports Academy with his brother Adrian.

Business experience? Check. Name ID? Check. Community involvement? Check. Prolific fundraiser? Check. The type of bi-partisan, Republican who can win in Chula Vista? Check. Can we get David Gonzalez, Jr. to run for Chula Vista City Council? You decide…

UPDATE/EDIT: It should be noted that David Gonzalez, Jr. was originally appointed to serve on the Otay Water Board to fill an unexpired term, and ran for a full-term on the board last November. He won with 54% of the vote.

UPDATE/EDIT, Part 2: I have corrected the post to reflect that Pamela Bensoussan’s seat is up for re-election, not Rudy Ramirez. Mr. Ramirez was in fact re-elected last June, and the rumor mill about him running for Mayor of Chula Vista when Cheryl Cox is termed out had my internal timeline messed up. I do apologize for the typo.