National City mayor says council members are trying to cancel State of the City address

Mayor Ron Morrison: Council is acting 'childish'

NATIONAL CITY, Calif. - The mayor of National City called some members of the National City City Council "childish" because of an attempt to cancel his annual State of the City address.

Mayor Ron Morrison told 10News Tuesday the council discussed canceling or creating a policy that would change the way the mayor hosts the annual event.

For the past few years, Morrison has changed the address into a community event. Besides the speech updating the state of the city, there is also free food, music and comedy.

"We turn it into a lot of fun," said Morrison. "We go out of our way to make a good promotion, good light of the city."

It also costs National City taxpayers nothing, as all of the food, services and the venue are donated.

Yet Morrison said a few council members don't want him to host it anymore.

"Yeah, it's childish. It's just really, really childish stuff," he said.

Morrison said the council debated at the last meeting whether the annual event should be canceled because it gives the two-term mayor too much influence.

"They'd like to have a policy that I can't do it next year unless I declare that I'm not going to run for re-election," said Morrison.

"Are you running for re-election?" asked 10News reporter Joe Little.

"Yeah," Morrison replied without hesitation.

"You've got some council members who want to be mayor," Morrison continued, "and so we'll come up with these policies, and so we'll keep making policies to keep chipping away at the mayor's office until the mayor basically doesn't have an office anymore and doesn't do anything."

10News contacted all four council members. Only Councilman Jerry Cano emailed a response:

"Since I've been on the council all I've seen is some of the council members childishly trying to stop the mayor from doing the job that the people of National City has overwhelmingly elected him to do. We have a mayor and they're not it. They should be thinking more about our community and less about their own personal egos and ambitions. And this latest stunt is just another example of the need for that."

As of 5 p.m. Tuesday, 10News had not heard from council members Luis Natividad, Mona Rios or Alejandra Sotelo-Solis.

The council could discuss the future of the State of the City address next week. However, Morrison is confident his annual event will go on as planned.

"There will be one next month and there will be one next year also. That I guarantee you," he said.

The next State of the City address is scheduled for October 17 at Cornerstone Church in National City.

Tuesday night, National City Councilman Luis Natividad emailed 10News the following statement:

"My point is that I believe it is unfair for anyone else who may be running for mayor, that the  annual State of the City address can be misused as a forum by the current mayor to promote themselves during his or her campaign year.  The motion I brought forward is not a personal issue with the mayor, it was made with the intent to apply future elected officials and candidates in mind.  I can't help but to feel disappointed in his leadership when I heard him publicly refer to the councilmembers as childish."

Wednesday evening, Councilwoman Alejandra Sotelo-Solis responded via email. Sotelo-Solis said she challenged the mayor's State of the City address because of the timing and the location, which is a Christian church:

"Other city & county reps, have their events early in the year. Which poses the question-why have it during the month of October, so close to election time if not to create a city-sponsored event that supports the incumbent? My suggestion was to look at moving the date, not cancel. 

The other question has always been the location. If there is truly a separation of church and state, why is this event being held at a church? Every year residents pose the question when they attend. The answer has always been that this site because it is able to accommodate the crowds that attend.  Unfortunately in past years, the church hall has been half empty- leaving participants questioning year after year as to the site selection."

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