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Chula Vista faces uncertainty as Andrea Cardenas steps down amidst new felony charge

Chula Vista, California – “This is a really awkward time,” said Chula Vista Mayor John McCann with a sigh on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, prosecutors added a new felony charge to former Chula Vista City Councilwoman Andrea Cardenas and her brother. This happened the day after Andrea stepped down from the Chula Vista City Council. Her leaving and the upcoming state primary election have caused a lot of uncertainty in San Diego County’s second-biggest city.

With the new charge on Tuesday, Andrea now faces eight felony charges, and her brother Jesus, who runs a political consulting firm, faces six. These charges are all related to claims of fraud. Andrea’s lawyer mentioned on Tuesday that they were hoping to come to an agreement with the prosecutors.

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However, those talks didn’t lead anywhere that morning, according to lawyer Pedro Bernal.

Andrea and Jesus appeared in court that morning to learn about the additional felony charge being added to their list of accusations.

“We have charged them with grand theft — both Jesus and Andrea Cardenas — for taking money unlawfully from the EDD,” explained prosecutor Chandelle Boyce, referencing the state’s agency that oversees its unemployment insurance arm.

The brother and sister duo is now accused of wrongly taking unemployment insurance money from California’s Employment Development Department in 2020, even though they were supposedly working at the time.

McCann mentioned that Cardenas stepping down has left a gap in the Chula Vista City Council. He shared that the other council members will soon decide whether to fill her spot with someone new for the rest of her term or keep it open until November when voters will pick council members for Districts 3 and 4.

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Adding to Chula Vista’s challenges is the possibility of Andrea being elected again.

“Well, she’s still on the ballot, and it’s too late at this point to remove her from the ballot, but she’s not actively campaigning, and I think I think everyone is aware of that,” Bernal explained.

Cardenas was in the running for another term and is among six people on the ballot for the March Primary. The two with the most votes will compete in the November general election.

“It’s a very awkward situation, because what happens if she does come in the Top 2 in the ballot voting,” McCann said.

Under California’s election laws, once someone’s name is on the general election ballot because they were chosen in the primary, it can’t be taken off. McCann expressed his hope that voters would simply choose another candidate.

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“And then we won’t have to deal with that situation,” McCann said, shrugging.

Bernal, on the other hand, is aiming to reach an agreement before Andrea’s upcoming court date. If found guilty of all her charges, Andrea could be looking at six years behind bars. Her brother Jesus could face five years for his charges.

Anne Vega

Anne Vega plays a pivotal role in shaping the content at WebNewsYs as an Editor. Her meticulous attention to detail and journalistic acumen enable her to refine articles to meet the publication's high standards. Anne collaborates closely with writers and the editorial team to craft compelling stories that highlight the nuances of San Diego and national news, ensuring that readers receive well-researched and thought-provoking news coverage.

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