Thursday, May 07, 2009
Cheryl Cox finds it's harder than it used to be to get rid of people she doesn't like
Mayor told to halt attempt to expel port commissioner
Najera's attorney calls actions illegal
By Tanya Sierra
San DiegoUnion-Tribune Staff Writer
May 7, 2009
An attorney for Chula Vista Port Commissioner Mike Najera warned Mayor Cheryl Cox to stop trying to oust the commissioner, saying her actions are illegal and politically motivated.
In a letter sent late Tuesday to Cox, the City Council and the city attorney, lawyer Joseph Casas states the council must have justification to remove a port commissioner.
“The involuntary removal of a port commissioner without good cause is not only unethical, but case law indicates that such an action is unlawful,” Casas wrote.
Najera said Cox on Monday asked him to resign, which he refused to do. He said Cox gave him until noon Tuesday to step down or she would “go to the media.”
Cox did not return repeated phone calls yesterday seeking comment. On Tuesday, she confirmed she met with Najera the day before to discuss concerns but wouldn't say what they were.
Some council members say they have not spoken with Cox and can't figure out why she would ask Najera to resign...
The city councils of the five port cities appoint Port District commissioners. Najera was first chosen in 2006 to fill the remainder of William Hall's term and was reappointed to a full four-year term in 2007.
The Port District's governing rules state only that “a commissioner may be removed from the board by a majority vote of the city council which appointed the commissioner.” In his letter, Casas cites a 1990 opinion written by then-San Diego City Attorney John Witt, who stated a council needs “good cause” to unseat a port commissioner.
“I haven't heard anything back from the city of Chula Vista,” Casas said. “I really think that the ball is in the mayor's court right now. She is the one who has the burden of proof.”
Chula Vista City Attorney Bart Miesfeld did not return calls yesterday.
UPDATE: Will Cox be able to unseat a port commissioner for supporting Cox's opponent?
Chula Vista council will address Najera's position
By Tanya Sierra Union-Tribune Staff Writer
6:47 p.m. May 8, 2009
Chula Vista City Council Meeting
When: Tuesday, 6 p.m.
Where: 276 Fourth Ave., in the City Council chambers.
CHULA VISTA — The City Council on Tuesday will discuss Chula Vista Port Commissioner Mike Najera, who said this week Mayor Cheryl Cox asked him to resign.
According to the City Council agenda, which was issued just after 3 p.m. Friday, officials will “consider and potentially act upon” Najera's position.
...Najera found out he was on Tuesday's council agenda when contacted by a newspaper reporter. He said city officials should have told him...
Councilman Steve Castaneda said he also was not informed the issue was on the agenda.
Najera said before his meeting with Cox, she asked him to give an update on the Chula Vista bayfront at Tuesday's meeting, but that isn't listed on the agenda.
Calls to Cox, City Manager Jim Sandoval and City Attorney Bart Miesfeld were not returned Friday.