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Uncovering Misconduct: Chula Vista Democratic Campaign’s Deceptive Practices Exposed

In-Depth Investigation Reveals a Complex Web of Deceit and Mismanagement in Chula Vista City Attorney Race.

The city of Chula Vista witnessed an unprecedented scenario in the November 2022 election when Simón Silva, a Democratic candidate for City Attorney, posthumously won the race, despite having passed away two months prior. This unusual circumstance, however, was merely the tip of an iceberg of deceit and financial mismanagement within Silva’s campaign, as recent revelations have shown.

Silva, serving as Deputy City Attorney at the time of his death, was the Democratic Party’s hope against the lone Republican candidate, Dan Smith. The Democratic Party, in a controversial move, continued to promote Silva’s candidacy after his death, a strategy aimed at securing a victory that would necessitate a special election for another Democratic contender.

The post-election situation grew complex when Silva won by a narrow margin of 756 votes. This unforeseen victory led to a vacancy and the unavoidable need for a costly special election, estimated to burden the city with up to $2 million in expenses. The subsequent special election held on November 7th saw Democratic candidates Marco Verdugo and Bart Miesfeld taking the lead, but neither securing a decisive victory, leading to a run-off scheduled alongside the March 5, 2024, Primary Election.

However, it’s the financial dealings and reporting of Silva’s campaign that have come under intense scrutiny. A critical examination of the campaign’s finance reports, particularly the January 11, 2023, filing, revealed glaring irregularities, according to La Prensa. This report, shockingly signed electronically under Silva’s name posthumously, uncovers a deeper level of mismanagement and potential fraud within the campaign.

David Gould, a professional campaign treasurer associated with Silva’s campaign, was implicated in this unusual filing process. This report raises serious legal and ethical questions, as it was filed under the pretense of Silva’s involvement, breaching several legal and ethical boundaries.

At the heart of the scandal is the campaign’s deliberate decision to use non-unionized labor for printing campaign yard signs, while outwardly supporting unionized labor—a fundamental principle advocated by the Democratic Party. This deceptive practice came to light when Jehoan Espinoza, Silva’s campaign consultant, sought quotes for yard signs from Union Printing, a local Chula Vista unionized printer. Despite initial communications, the campaign chose to reduce its order and clandestinely engage non-unionized printers for additional signs, while still using the union label, misleadingly suggesting union production.

This revelation not only undermines the ethical standing of Silva’s campaign but also strikes at the core of the Democratic Party’s values regarding labor support. The misrepresentation of union involvement in campaign materials is a serious breach of trust with labor unions and the Democratic Party, potentially having far-reaching implications in future elections.

Moreover, the financial opacity extends beyond just the misused union labels. Silva’s campaign, under the management of Espinoza and Gould, failed to disclose significant expenses, including those for yard signs and other campaign materials. This lack of transparency in campaign finance directly contravenes state laws requiring detailed reporting of electoral expenditures.

The implications of these revelations are vast. Not only do they expose the mismanagement and potential legal violations within Silva’s campaign, but they also cast a shadow of doubt over the Democratic Party’s commitment to its proclaimed values. The use of non-union labor, disguised under the pretense of union support, raises critical questions about the integrity and ethical standards of political campaigns.

In the wake of these findings, the Democratic Party, labor unions, and voters are left to grapple with the unsettling reality of a campaign that operated under a facade of propriety while engaging in deceptive and potentially unlawful practices. This incident serves as a stark reminder of the importance of transparency, ethical conduct, and adherence to professed values in the realm of political campaigning.

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