Credit: Guillermo Mijares

CHULA VISTA – Community members in Chula Vista gathered to call for the immediate resignation of City Councilmember Andrea Cardenas amid fraud-related indictments.

On Tuesday evening, dozens of Chula Vista residents held a political demonstration outside of City Hall to call for the resignation of the Councilmember who has been recently charged, along with her brother, Jesus Cardenas, with several felonies involving fraud activity. 

According to the indictments, the fraud activities involved COVID-19 relief funds being expropriated by Councilmember Andrea Cardenas and her brother, Jesus Cardenas. Both siblings were charged with misappropriating up to $176,000 in federal funding directed to a political consulting company founded by Jesus Cardenas.

Allegedly, those federal funds were managed for personal gain, accusing Andrea Cardenas of navigating 35,000 to her personal bank account and another $33,500 subsequently transferred to her council campaign financial account. 

Chula Vista resident Russ Hall led Tuesday’s gathering outside of City Hall. The lifelong resident spoke to ChulaVistaToday, expressing the most significant issues concerning the recent indictments regarding the Councilmember and her brother. 

According to Russ Hall, there were multiple reasons why community members came together Tuesday evening to express their concerns over the allegations. 

“It comes into question her ability to make decisions and to govern, which is why Councilmember Preciado has called for her resignation, and I think the community at large is now coming together and saying, ‘you know what, it might be better if you step down until this is over’” he said. 

Another major concern Russ Hall expressed Tuesday evening is the number of decisions Andrea Cardenas has made throughout her timeline as Councilmember. Hall says the recent indictments should encourage the city to look deeper into her political past, considering the current charges linked to her. 

“This has never happened before in Chula Vista, so all the decisions Cardenas has made have to be looked at, to make sure that there are no other problems in her [political]decisions that have been influenced by her actions that the district attorney has uncovered.” 

In attendance was also Jesse Navarro, a citizen of Chula Vista and a Marine veteran. Navarro says the allegations did not surprise him, and also calls on the immediate resignation of Councilmember Cardenas.

“I have suspected wrongdoing for a very long time, but unless you have the proof, there is nothing that can be said,” said the Marine veteran. “But now that things are coming forward, we must continue to hold her accountable, and if she has any decency, she should resign immediately.” 

Russ Hall also emphasized towards the end of the press conference that this is a bipartisan stance. Hall says the political party Andrea Cardenas represents is irrelevant to Tuesday’s demonstration that took place before last night’s city council meeting.

“This isn’t about right or left, red or blue,” Hall told ChulaVistaToday. “This is about right versus wrong.” 

The no-show by the Councilmember on Tuesday night was a missed opportunity for the public official to encounter her constituents for the first time since being charged with fraud-related activity.

Last week, Councilmember Cardenas released a statement regarding her future in public office.

“Many conversations are taking place around me about me and what others think is the best way for me to move forward,” she stated. “I would like to make one thing very clear – my commitment to my community continues. As we move forward in this process, I hope to be given an opportunity by the media, folks in political circles, and, most importantly, my constituents to defend myself.” 

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