South Bay candidate accused of carpetbagging

Posted at 6:22 PM, Apr 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-25 21:22:49-04

One South Bay race for city council is already getting ugly. 

A group of people supporting Chula Vista City Council candidate Rudy Ramirez is accusing one of his opponents of being a carpetbagger.

Chula Vista resident Peter Watry said carpetbagging is “when a person lives in one district and takes a phony address in another district to run in the other district.”

Watry and Ramirez, a former Chula Vista City Councilman, accused Eduardo Reyes, Ed.D. of using a phony address in order to run for the District 4 council seat.

Dr. Reyes, who is the principal at Bonita Vista Middle School and the president of the Chula Vista Elementary School District Board of Trustees, flatly denied the allegation.

“Absolutely not!  I did not move to run for election,” he said. “I moved back because honestly that’s where I see the most amount of need.”

Dr. Reyes said he has lived in Chula Vista for 37 years and first moved to the city’s southwestern area as a child. That is the area that makes up most of District 4.

Reyes listed an apartment on Moss within District 4 on the papers he filed to run for election. He said he moved there nine months ago from a two-story home in the city’s Eastlake neighborhood.

“I see so many needs in the Chula Vista city…that someone has to take action,” he said. “I actually lived for many years growing up in District 4. I worked in District 4 for many, many years.”

Watry didn’t buy it.

“You try to destroy it right off the bat. That really makes me mad,” said Watry, who argued it should be common sense that a candidate lives in the district they represent. “I can’t believe the people in southwest are going to vote for a guy that lives in Eastlake.”

Dr. Reyes fired back at his opponent, Ramirez. Reyes said Ramirez moved to live within California’s 79th Assembly District specifically to run against Shirley Weber “and then lose horribly against her.”

10News confirmed with the San Diego County Assessor’s Office that Reyes still owned the Eastlake home but we couldn’t confirm who lived in the house.

Tuesday, a group of Chula Vista residents said they intend to ask the city council to amend the rules to require a candidate for a district seat have “long-term district residency” as a requirement to run.

Right now, Chula Vista law only requires the candidate to be a resident of the district when they file paperwork to be a candidate.