From Monday’s Union Tribune:
CHULA VISTA – Mayor Cheryl Cox abruptly canceled a discussion Tuesday night about whether to replace Chula Vista Port Commissioner Mike Najera.
Officials were set to talk about his position on the San Diego UnifiedPort District board of directors, a week after Cox asked him to resign. Dozens of Najera's supporters packed the council chambers in anticipation of the discussion.
But Cox called for a closed session two hours into the ongoing City Council meeting, and emerged 20 minutes later to say the item had been pulled from the agenda.
Cox did not give a reason and did not say why the council went into the sudden closed session.
Perhaps this is why:
An attorney for Najera had urged Cox “to use great caution in seeking to remove” the commissioner during the meeting.
“To date, you have failed to provide Commissioner Najera with a good cause basis to remove him from his position,” Joseph Casas wrote in a letter dated May 11. Casas wrote an earlier letter to Cox last week asking her to stop trying to oust Najera from the port board.
This on the heels of the Voice article about Cox’s tenure:
The same day, Port Commissioner Mike Najera went public with the news that Cox had demanded his resignation from the commission. Najera refused to budge and his fellow commissioners supported him, demanding an explanation from Cox -- who didn't produce one. The affair was a public blow to the mayor's political credibility that only became more embarrassing when Najera revealed he had recently held a fundraiser for her political nemesis, Chula Vista City Councilman Steve Castaneda. Najera suggested political revenge -- an accusation Cox has had levied at her before.
The rookie mayor, whose political experience prior to her election was limited to serving on the Chula Vista Elementary School District Board of Trustees, has also found herself alienated on the city's five-member City Council, two of whose members are widely considered to be priming themselves for a run against her in 2010 (she said she will run for reelection). One of her colleagues, Councilman John McCann, has used Cox's failures with the Chargers and the sales tax increase to curry favor with local Republicans, who have not been shy in expressing their support for him.
And Cox has had to contend with the accusations of political vengeance. Castaneda, who ran against Cox in 2006, has accused her of conspiring with her husband, County Supervisor Greg Cox, and District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, to have him investigated for corruption three times. Cox dismisses the claims as ridiculous, but the latest mishaps, including Najera's dig, have added fuel to the fire of Cox's detractors.
Castaneda said the Chargers letter wasn't the only time that Cox's involvement in a city issue has done more harm than good.
The Democratic city councilman, who came third in Chula Vista's 2006 mayoral primary election, has been a vocal critic of Cox. He said the mayor's failure to coordinate the city's waterfront development and the withdrawal of Gaylord Entertainment Co. as a potential developer of the site, is clear evidence that the city needs new leadership.
"Cheryl Cox decided that she wanted to insert herself in the process," Castaneda said. "None of us on the council were asked for our opinions, none of us were privy to what she was doing or how she was meddling and, essentially, this thing fell apart not just because of the economy, but because of the lack of leadership that has emanated from her office."
Whatever the truth may be, it appears that Mayor Cox is wielding power in a manner that betrays a lack of experience. When the criticism comes, the wagons are circled and the only beneficiaries are your opponents.
Chula Vista deserves better than this.