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Dressed in sweaters and jackets, voters in Chula Vista and National City came to polling stations with mayors’ seats up for grabs in both cities.
The people I spoke with said they were largely motivated by the local housing issues, but picked candidates on party lines, often in reaction to state and federal politics.
Richard Kuler, who has lived in Chula Vista for nine years, said he thinks Gov. Gavin Newsom is to blame for the homelessness issue.
“It hurts me to see so much homeless in this county and in this city,” he said.
He said he can see homelessness all around the city and it is not normal. Kuler voted for John McCann for Chula Vista mayor because he liked his redevelopment ideas.
“[Chula Vista] is a beautiful area, but it’s never been developed in a way that you can have a lot of people coming to the area,” Kuler said.
Outside Chula Vista City Hall, I also found Milt Ellison, who has lived here for 30 years. He said he’s especially concerned about the erosion of women’s rights, following the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on abortion.
He said pays attention to local politics because it all begins there.
“I am hoping that Democrats stay in power,” Ellison said. “I am hoping the progress that we have seen so far can continue.”
A moment later, Leticia Delgado, who has also lived in Chula Vista for more than 30 years, said her main issues locally are crime and inflation.
She used to be Democratic but changed parties.
“A few years ago I just got fed up and I said this is it, I am changing my political party,” Delgado said.
She hopes that this year’s vote will bring the changes the city needs with a Republican in office.
Over in National City, Eduardo Serrano, who has lived in National City for 15 years, said he voted for Ron Morrison because he knows him personally.
“He is more of a community person and he is easy to reach,” Serrano said.
Serrano said affordable housing and rent is an issue he cares about.
Like Ellison, Daniella Gutierrez, who has lived in National City for four years, cited women’s reproductive rights as a priority in this election. She voted for Mayor Alejandra Sotelo-Solis.
“More and more people should vote, I know a lot of people who have an opinion but don’t vote,” Gutierrez said. “It would be better to put in and take the time to do it, than sit around and complain about things.”