The Coast News Group
State Assemblyman and retired Marine Col. Rocky Chavez speaks to a crowd during a Memorial Day event on Monday, May 28 in Encinitas. Photo by Jordan P. Ingram
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Rocky Chavez to run for Tri-City Healthcare board

REGION — After losing a 49th Congressional District race in which he was the early front runner, Rocky Chavez is still on the Nov. 6 ballot.

Chavez, who is set to leave California’s 76th State Assembly District seat, is listed as a candidate for the Tri-City Healthcare District, according to the registrar of voter’s official candidate list.

According to the county Registrar of Voters candidate list, Chavez pulled nomination papers on Aug. 8, two days before the Aug. 10 filing deadline, the day that he filed and qualified for the ballot.

But Chavez, reached Aug. 14, said he had created a committee a month earlier and filed locally three weeks ago.

“It’s all about service to the community and continuing my service to Tri-City,” Chavez said. “I’ve been active with them since 1998 and look forward to continuing that service in a new role.”

Chavez most recently was one of 16 candidates looking to replace outgoing U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista) in the 49th Congressional District.

Early polls tabbed Chavez as the front runner in the race, but he faded down the stretch and finished sixth during the June 5 primary.

The retired U.S. Marine Corps colonel served on the Oceanside City Council from 2002 to 2009 and as Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s undersecretary, and later, secretary of veterans affairs before voters elected him to the state assembly in 2012. He declined to seek re-election to run for congress.

Chavez is running for the Division 2 seat currently held by incumbent Laura Mitchell, who is seeking re-election, as well as a third challenger, health care compliance specialist Jim Burlew.

Although he is facing an incumbent, Chavez said he believes his name recognition in the district will overcome Mitchell’s advantage as incumbent.

“I would be willing to bet my name ID in this district is significantly higher than the incumbent,” Chavez said. “Having been elected here twice for City Council and the past six years in the assembly district, I think I will be OK.”

The Coast News has reached out to Mitchell and will update the story with comment.

The seven-member elected board oversees the public health district that manages the 397-bed Tri-City Medical Center, which provides health care services for more than 600,000 residents in Oceanside, Carlsbad and Vista and surrounding areas.

Most recently, the healthcare district board voted to close its inpatient mental health facility after citing recent changes in federal regulations, budget shortfalls and a dearth of staff as the culprits.

Chavez said it was this issue that prompted him to consider a bid for the board.

“Tri-City is important to the community, and the issue with the mental health facility is a big issue to me, especially with mental health and veterans,” he said.



Oceansidevotes September 14, 2018 at 5:54 am

Rocky, it’s not all about name recognition. When I see your name I think of scandals…starting from Oceanside City Council…you used your military background to gain your seat there. You lied to the voters in Oceanside and seem to think your better than everybody..the voters are on to you now. We knew it wouldn’t be long before your boat sank…people are paying’s time for you to retire and let someone who genuinely cares about our community lead it. Are you sure you didn’t work at the City of Bell too ? Good riddens! Do not vote for Chavez he is nothing but a pompous corrupt politician.

Jim Burlew October 15, 2018 at 11:13 am

True, Rocky recently attended the forum in Vista. He stated that people who are on the board do not need to know how to run a hospital nor have experience running one. He stated the people in the hospital know how to run it, so he does not need to be in the weeds. He could not be more wrong. If you do not know how to run a hospital, how do you know if the ones in the hospital are doing a good job? Truth is, the Board currently has no leadership that knows how to run a hospital. Ms. Mitchell is an RN, so she knows how to help a patient. Mr. Dagostino is a physical therapist who had a small 3-person practice, so he knows how to run his small practice. Rocky has been to a hospital and has never had to adjust or understand financial reports or workflow management. The hospital has gone from seeing 70,000 patients a year in the ED to 60,000. They have gone from seeing 200 people a day to 158 people a day in the massive 380 bed facility. They are losing business! All other hospitals in the area are gaining business! The Board is trying to borrow their way out of debt, guess what, you have to repay the loans. Stop with all of the lawsuits and going after people because they do not agree with you, that is why there are different board members, so they can represent their District. The Board has manipulated and ensured they have a unanimous vote every time, that is not representation. Only RoseMarie Reno has voted or abstained from voting. A vote for Mitchel means the service will continue to decline. A vote for Rocky means the service will decline. Rocky endorsed Jim Dagostino for the last election, Jim Dagostino endorses Rocky for this election. Rocky states his platform is all about behavioral health issues, and opposes what Jim and Laura voted to do. Rocky states he has been in the background on all important measures, then Rocky must have been in the background to close the BHU. Politicians…

Laura Mitchell August 28, 2018 at 3:50 pm

This is Laura Mitchell, Incumbent for Tri-City Health District Zone 2. I spoke with Mr. Burgin on August 14, 2018 for a phone interview. This article implies that the Coast News is still waiting for me to communicate with Mr. Burgin.

Save Tri-City August 22, 2018 at 4:50 am

Rocky cares so much about the veterans and the mental health facility, that he didnt bother to show up to the special board meeting last night concerning the “suspension” of services (semantics, closed or suspended the patients get no support either way).

“Tri-City is important to the community, and the issue with the mental health facility is a big issue to me, especially with mental health and veterans,”

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