CHULA VISTA, Calif. — Chula Vista community members held a press conference outside city hall Tuesday, calling on Councilmember Andrea Cardenas to resign amid fraud allegations.
“She has violated the trust of the city violated the trust of the people that put her there, so it makes it very difficult for her to make decisions and carry on because everything that she does, and has done in the past, now will be looked at under a microscope,” said Russ Hall, Chula Vista community activist.
Tuesday’s council meeting Councilmember Cardenas’ first opportunity to face her constituents since she was criminally charged, but she was noticeably absent.
“She has shown up for everything else, always here when things are going her way, but tonight she was a coward and did not show up,” said Gina E.
Councilmember Cardenas and her brother Jesus are accused of fraudulently obtaining a pandemic relief loan for their political consulting firm and using the money to pay for American Express bills and nearly $34,000 to Andrea’s city council campaign.
“We don’t want her back. Remove her from every title, especially from SANDAG,” said Martha Souza.
Last Thursday the siblings plead not guilty to the charges. Andrea’s attorney said she has no plans to step down from her position on city council.
“You guys need to censor her, you need to suspend her or do things that would stop her from voting because we don’t trust her anymore. She’s a crook,” said Lily Abair.
Councilmember Jose Preciado and Mayor John McCann have also issued statements calling for Cardenas to resign.
Without Cardenas present, local residents are now putting the pressure on council to take action.
“Under the current circumstances we the community ask you to censor councilwoman Andrea Cardenas,” said Delia Dominguez Cervantez.
FOX 5 reached out to Councilmember Cardenas and her staff Tuesday, but did not receive a response.
Cardenas put out a statement last week saying in part, “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.”