Cheryl Cox

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Cheryl Cox
Robert-Valderrama-Cheryl-Cox-2011 (cropped).jpg
39th Mayor of Chula Vista
In office
Preceded bySteve Padilla
Succeeded byMary Salas
Personal details
Political partyRepublican

Cheryl Cox (born 1949) was the mayor of Chula Vista, California from 2006 to 2014. She received both a Master's degree in Political Science and a Doctorate in Education, and moved on to working for Chula Vista Elementary School District as a teacher, principal, and administrator. She is a Republican, and ran for mayor in November 2006 against the incumbent mayor Steve Padilla and Councilman Steve Castaneda, beating both in the election.


Mayor Cox (second left) with Oracle Team USA and other elected officials

Cox, daughter of retired United States Navy Officer, John Willett. Cox, and her husband of 30 years, San Diego County Supervisor and former Chula Vista Mayor Greg Cox, have two daughters, Elizabeth and Emmie. Both Cheryl and her two daughters have graduated from Chula Vista's Hilltop High School.[1]

Cox received Master's degree in Political Science from San Diego State University and a Doctorate in Education from the University of Southern California. She worked for 30 years as a teacher, principal, and administrator in the Chula Vista Elementary School District; she was also an assistant professor at National University before being elected to the Chula Vista Elementary School District Board of Trustees in 2000. Dr. Cox was elected the 39th Mayor of Chula Vista, the second largest city in the County of San Diego, in 2006. Currently she is a member of the City of Chula Vista Charter Review Commission, Nature Center Board of Trustees and the President of the Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center Board of Directors. She is a member of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition,[2] an organization formed in 2006 and co-chaired by New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston mayor Thomas Menino.

Cox, a Republican, was elected mayor in November 2006 in a runoff vote against incumbent mayor Steve Padilla. In her primary election in June 2006, she garnered 40.5% of the vote to then-Mayor Steve Padilla's 30.8%, and Councilman Steve Castaneda's 24.8% of the vote.

In April 2014, questions were raised about political interference by San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis in that election. In late 2005 Steve Padilla received a phone call from Dumanis asking him to support her employee Jesse Navarro for city councilman. Mr. Padilla did not comply. The phone call raises questions about possible political motivations for the ensuing prosecutions of a staffer of Steve Padilla and of Steve Castaneda.[3]

Cox, won re-election for Mayor in the June 2010 Primary election in a three-person race by winning 56.3% of the vote, her opponent Councilman Steve Castaneda garnered 29.6% and Jorge Dominguez received 13.6% of the vote.

In April 2007, the Public Integrity Unit of San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis began prosecuting political opponents of Cheryl Cox. Patrick O'Toole, who had previously been appointed as US Attorney for San Diego by Attorney General John Ashcroft, headed the unit. O'Toole prosecuted a staffer for mayor Steven Padilla who had taken two hours off work in an effort to get a photograph of Cheryl Cox with her disgraced family friend David Malcolm[4] at a twilight yacht party fundraiser for Cox. The staffer was charged with five felony counts of perjury for telling a grand jury that he filled out his leave slip from work before rather than after he took off from his job at the City of Chula Vista. He pleaded guilty to lesser charges as part of a plea deal.[5]

The now-dormant unit ended its active phase with a second and final prosecution, that of Steve Castaneda, who had run against Cheryl Cox for mayor. Castaneda was prosecuted for allegedly lying about whether he planned to buy a condo, even though he never bought the condo in question. According to the San Diego Union Tribune, "Castaneda was a tenant at the complex and was accused of seeking favors, such as free rent, from Sunbow owner Ash Israni, according to the 1,200-page grand jury transcript. The investigation found that Castaneda paid his rent and didn't ask for special treatment. O'Toole told the grand jury the perjury charges are warranted because Castaneda should be held accountable for 'lying about the facts'; even if no crime was uncovered...Castaneda has been vocal about O'Toole's investigations, saying they are politically motivated. He contended that Dumanis conspired with Chula Vista Mayor Cheryl Cox, his political rival in the 2006 mayoral primary."[6]

Cox will be termed limited from office in December 2014.


  1. ^ "How much clout does Cox combo carry?". SignOnSanDiego.Com. Retrieved 2008-02-21.
  2. ^ "Mayors Against Illegal Guns: Coalition Members". Archived from the original on 2007-09-12.
  3. ^ Sharma, Amita. "Phone Call Raises Questions About DA Dumanis' Chula Vista Investigations". KPBS Public Media.
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ "DA unit works as quietly as it began".
  6. ^ "Trial and Re-election bid could coincide".