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Full Biography for Steve Padilla
Steve Padilla started his life in Chula Vista. Shortly after he was born, his father joined the United States Marine Corps and was deployed to Vietnam. Upon returning home from his tour of duty, he was killed in an automobile accident, leaving a young Steve Padilla and his mother to face the challenge of picking up the pieces and trying to rebuild their lives. His mother rose to the challenge and laid the foundation for which Steve credits much of his success. She purchased a house in Chula Vista and gave her family a place to call home.
Within the coming years, Steve grew comfortable in his new home. He gained a stepfather who raised him and his brothers as his own and grew roots in a community that embraced him; these things all made Steve Padilla the man he is today. It is this feeling and appreciation of home that drives him to give back to the community and make Chula Vista a place other people can truly call home as well.
His drive started to surface at an early age. He was a Cub Scout, a Boy Scout, and eventually got involved with the Chula Vista Police Explorer Scouts. After graduating from Bonita Vista High School, Steve became the youngest cadet accepted into the Southwestern Police Academy. A police officer for thirteen years, he was promoted to Detective, specializing in domestic violence and child abuse.
While a police officer, Steve returned to school, received his bachelor's degree in Public Administration, and continued his life-long service to the community. He served on the Committee for Open Space and Environment, The Board of Ethics, The Safety Commission, and ultimately became president of the Police Officers Association.
All of this public service led to an interest in City Council. Elected in 1994, Steve took a very tough look at the city administration. He brought in a new City Manager, implemented city-wide ethics training, and set a new tone at City Hall. Voters overwhelmingly approved of the changes, and Steve was re-elected in 1998 for another term.
It was during this time that Steve weathered some changes in his life. Within a 6-month period, his grandfather passed away, his mother died of cancer, and he was divorced and was awarded sole custody of a three-year-old daughter. He retired early from the police department and began teaching high school full-time in Chula Vista. This career change provided a different service to his community, gave him more time to focus on City Council, and most importantly allowed him to be home every night to tuck his daughter into bed.
As he finished his second term on the City Council, he continued to work tirelessly to give back to the community that had made him welcome and had given him a place to call home. Steve ran for Mayor and was elected the 38th Mayor of Chula Vista on November 5, 2002.
As the leader of San Diego County's second largest city, Mayor Padilla stands committed to enhancing the quality of life for the almost one quarter of a million residents of Chula Vista. During this time, he has spearheaded several programs.
Mayor Steve Padilla hosts an annual Beautify Chula Vista Day that rallies business owners and local volunteers to paint over graffiti and pick up litter on city and private properties. He also launched the Give a Book drive resulting in the donation of more than 100,000 books to underprivileged children throughout San Diego County. He is credited with re-energizing efforts to bring a four-year university to Chula Vista. Due to Mayor Padilla's leadership, Chula Vista was selected as the US site for the University Park and Research Center (UPRC), beating out many other major metropolitan cities in the country. On March 28, 2006 the Council approved the National Energy Center for Sustainable Communities. This facility is the first segment of the UPRC and will research energy-efficient technologies; this is a major step forward for the University Park and Research Center and for bringing more jobs to Chula Vista.
Mayor Padilla's focus on revitalization involves the addition of parks and open spaces, the widening and repair of older roads and highways, as well as the redevelopment of Chula Vista's urban core - a plan to create a vibrant, thriving downtown for both residents and business owners. Working with the San Diego Unified Port District, Mayor Padilla was instrumental in initiating the Bayfront Master Plan, an effort to develop 500 oceanfront acres to accommodate public parks, hotels, restaurants, shops and new housing. This is one of the largest and most ambitious waterfront projects along the west coast.
In July of 2005, Mayor Padilla was appointed by the Speaker of the California Assembly to the California Coastal Commission. While serving as a commissioner, he has received extremely high ratings and has been perceived as a constructive and valuable addition to the commission. He also is a member of the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) Board of Directors, the regional transportation commission for the region, and chairs the SANDAG Public Safety Committee. As Chairman, Mayor Padilla works with Law Enforcement, Homeland Security, and Fire and Emergency Medical professionals on issues of criminal justice and public safety for the region.
As he begins his run for a second term as Mayor, Steve Padilla's mission has never been more evident. Mayor Padilla has been endorsed by Police, Fire, the Chula Vista Chamber of Commerce in addition to many other leaders and organizations in the region. He vows to continue his dedication and work tirelessly to make Chula Vista a clean place to live, a safe place for families, and above all, a place we can all call home.
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