Discovery surrounding newly appointed Chula Vista councilmember stirs contention in South Bay
By Sarah Alegre,
CHULA VISTA, Calif. – Leaders in Chula Vista appointed Alonso Gonzalez to represent district three of the city, but now that decision is raising questions. Councilmember Gonzalez took his oath of office last week, but residents raised concerns at a city meeting Tuesday over his outstanding debt and previous DUI conviction.
Residents shared an emotional message asking for a recall or resignation of Gonzalez. The city is already set to host a special election on Nov. 7 to fill the vacant city attorney seat. Members of the South Bay are asking once again for a chance to vote.
“Mr. Gonzalez you are strongly encouraged to do the right thing and voluntarily step down from this council, to avoid further humiliation for yourself and your familia,” said Ana Renick to city council Tuesday.
This comes exactly one week after a contentious process appointing Gonzalez to the dais, and days following an investigation launched by our reporting partners at the San Diego Union Tribune .
“Fortunately, the will of God moved in this chamber to uncover the truth about the lies, ambitions, and blatant misrepresentation of two specific applicants, while none of you bothered to vet the applicants, we the people did, and the information uncovered has been alarming,” Renick said.
This comes after a protest last week opposing the possible selection of Devonna Almagro. Almagro is currently a communications director for County Chairperson Nora Vargas. They allege Almagro lied about her education on her resume and her residence in Chula Vista came into question.
The findings regarding Gonzalez revealed an outstanding fine, a foreclosed property, a suspension of two business licenses, along with a DUI conviction.
“When asked by a reporter about his DUI arrest, his response was arrogant. I was drunk at that time, so I guess drunk driving is a sign of rebellion. You are 46 now so you were 34 at the time of your arrest. Isn’t that too old to be in your rebellious stage?” Chula Vista resident Bibian Harrison asked.
Gonzalez responded to the report in a written statement shared with FOX 5 that he had planned to share at the city council meeting Tuesday.
“When I graduated from UCSB, I planned to be a journalist. Specifically, one covering politics and keeping a close eye on politicians. Even though it’s not nearly as much fun to be on the other side of it, I should try to be fair and be open to reasonable scrutiny. Now, out of consideration for the Council’s time and that of city staff, I won’t be terribly detailed, but none of the issues mentioned today [Tuesday] are a problem.
As of Monday, I have requested a Certificate of Release of Federal Tax Lien to show I have not missed a payment in over 10 years. Also, I have filed the Certificate of Dissolution to close the unused Sal&Sons LLC (for which I was not a managing member, I just served as filing agent). I have also submitted the Statement of Information to the State for the Pac Pro Real Estate Co Stock Corporation, along with a conversion to an LLC so that this business entity can still be used for future projects without cause for any concern. My brokerage Remains a separate, sole proprietorship.
Thanks for the opportunity to address that. I assure you that I have no impediment nor distraction to my responsibilities to this Council.”
Councilmember Alonso Gonzalez in a statement shared with FOX 5
Residents in the South Bay, now demanding a recall, and choice to make their voice heard in November.
“Give the opportunity for somebody, for us, to select someone that cares for the community,” shared John Acosta who is also a resident of Chula Vista.
Mayor John McCann was the only member on the dais who did not vote for Gonzalez last week. He shared with FOX 5 in a statement responding to the findings saying, “I did not vote for Alonso Gonzalez because of his criminal conviction for drunk driving. Just over two years ago one of my family members was killed by a drunk driver, and I cannot in good conscience appoint someone to city council who would get behind the wheel of a car drunk.”
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