CHULA VISTA, Calif. – The mayor of Chula Vista, along with the city’s Democratic party, are encouraging voters to select a deceased candidate for city attorney. At Tuesday’s city council meeting, some voiced their concerns, calling it unfair.

The people of Chula Vista are mourning the passing of Veteran Deputy of the City Attorney’s Office Simon Silva. He died Sept. 3 of cancer at the age of 56. His death now raises a number of questions, like what the city should do if the late Silva were to win in November.

At Tuesday’s city council meeting, residents spoke about their concerns over the Democratic party’s backing of Silva, including mayor Mary Casillas Salas, for city attorney on the November ballot despite being deceased.

“It makes me feel like our city council and our mayor are playing politics with this election and this poor deceased man, may he rest in peace…I think it’s a shame and I want to know why,” Chula Vista resident Mary Cosio said.

Mayor Salas provided an emotional response following public response.

“I’m really disappointed that people come to this council meeting and disrespect the honor, and the history, and the goodness of the man that was running for city attorney,” Salas said.

Dan Smith is currently running against Silva for the open seat. He warns that if Silva were to be elected, calls for a special election will burden taxpayers with a hefty price.

The city clerk confirmed Tuesday the stand-alone city-wide election could cost almost $2 million.

“That’s a lot of money…This is not about politics. But it seems to be made into somewhat of a political situation because one party is backing a deceased candidate. It’s unheard of,” Smith said.

Private attorney John Moot finished third in the June primary. He also calls the promotion of candidate Silva both unfair and wrong.

“It strikes me as being disrespectful to a family still in mourning and holds out the possibility of Chula Vista spending a tremendous amount of money,” Moot said.

Salas backed her stance and support for the selection of Silva, saying her actions lack any political agenda.

It’s quite appalling to me that people are lining up to run when they were clearly rejected by the voters in the primary,” she said.  

If a special election were to be held, it’s up to the newly-elected city council to decide when after voters cast their ballots in November. The election could be held in April, May, or November of 2023.