Chris Cate

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Chris Cate
Chris Cate.jpg
Member of the
San Diego City Council
for the Sixth District
Assumed office
December 10, 2014
MayorKevin Faulconer
Preceded byLorie Zapf[1]
Personal details
BornChula Vista, California[2]
Political partyRepublican
Alma materUniversity of San Diego
WebsiteCity Council District 6 website

Chris Cate is an American elected official in San Diego, California. He serves as a member of the San Diego City Council representing City Council District 6. He is a Republican;[3] although city council positions are officially nonpartisan per California state law.[4]

Early life and career[edit]

Cate is the son of a California Highway Patrol officer originally from Kawit, Cavite, Philippines.[5] His mother worked for the United States Postal Service. His parents divorced when he was a child; Cate described both parents as "very apolitical".[6] According to the Southern California Community Press, Cate's family is of Spanish/Filipino heritage.[7]

Cate was raised in San Diego.[8] He attended La Costa Canyon High School, graduating in 2000, then went to community college at MiraCosta and Palomar colleges.[9] While in college, Cate and a friend started an auto glass repair business.[2] After graduating from college at the University of San Diego, where he became interested in politics, Cate then interned at Jefferson Government Relations in Washington, D.C..[6] Later he worked for Kevin Faulconer as a policy advisor.[5] By 2011, Cate lived in Carlsbad, but moved to Mira Mesa a year later.[9] Before being elected, Cate traveled to the Philippines for the first time, and later met with the Ambassador of the Philippines to the United States Jose Cuisia.[8]

In January 2016, Cate married Maria Cabuang.[10]

San Diego City Council[edit]

Cate ran against three other opponents during the primary;[11] and ran against Carol Kim during the general election.[12] Cate was first elected to office in the 2014 election, the first election to use the new boundaries for this district following 2010 redistricting.[13] District 6 includes the neighborhoods of Clairemont Mesa, Kearny Mesa, Mira Mesa, North Clairemont, and Rancho Peñasquitos.[14] The redistricting effort included an effort by Asian Pacific Islanders to create a district that represented the inclusion of their more diverse population.[15] When Cate took office, he was the first Asian American elected to the city council in several decades.[16] In 2015, at the age of 32, Cate was the youngest serving city councilmember in San Diego.[17] Cate is only the second Asian American to be elected to the San Diego City Council, the first being Tom Hom.[18]

In 2016, Cate received national attention as the Chargers attacked him for his opposition to Measure C, a ballot initiative to provide public funding for a new stadium for the team.[19] The measure failed to achieve the two-thirds needed to pass, receiving less than a majority of the vote; Cate said of the vote "San Diego voters know a bad deal when they see it,".[20] For his willingness to lead the opposition, the Voice of San Diego wrote positively of Cate.[21] After the election, Cate supported an effort to lease the Qualcomm Stadium site for a dollar,[22] but the Chargers instead decided in 2017 to relocate to Los Angeles.[23]

In his first year in office, Cate's district saw a growth of the brewing industry in his district, with part of it being called the "beer belt".[24] In 2016, while other members of the city council were looking to ban vacation rentals, Cate advanced a proposal to allow for regulated vacation rentals.[25] In February 2017, Cate supported tax reform for Internet taxes, in an effort to ensure the city was receiving a proportionate share of the state's internet tax revenue; Cate argues that with increase commerce online, the city is losing out funding for city services.[26]

According to the San Diego Office of the City Clerk, Cate is a member of the following committees and sub-committees:[27][28]

  • Budget and Government Efficiency Committee
    • Budget Review Committee
  • Environment Committee (Vice Chair)
  • Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods Committee (Chair)
  • Rules Committee
  • Smart Growth and Land Use Committee
  • Select Committee on Homelessness


In 2016, Cate was criticized in the San Diego Reader for accepting a five-thousand dollar donation from San Diego Gas & Electric for a charity event, which the paper claimed was an attempt to purchase influence.[29]

2017 SoccerCity Memo Leak[edit]

In June 2017, Cate leaked a confidential 16-page memo regarding legal questions related to the SoccerCity initiative to the initiative's funders, FS Investors. San Diego City Attorney Mara Elliott called the leak “an egregious breach of public trust”.[30] In October 2017, facing questions from a related lawsuit, Cate admitted he was the one to leak the memo, and that he would not resign.[30] The California Attorney General was handed the case by the San Diego City Attorney.[31] In December 2017, San Diego's Ethics Commission levied its maximum fine of $5,000 for the leak, which Cate paid.[32] In 2018, Cate was informed that he would not face criminal charges.[33]

Electoral History[edit]

San Diego City Council District 6 election, 2014[13]
Primary election
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Chris Cate 10,270 47.17
Democratic Carol Kim 6,880 31.59
Nonpartisan Mitz Lee 2,717 12.48
Nonpartisan Jane L. Glasson 1,012 4.65
Nonpartisan De Le 895 4.11
Total votes 21,774 100
General election
Republican Chris Cate 13,399 54.57
Democratic Carol Kim 11,155 45.43
Total votes 24,554 100


  1. ^ Huard, Christine (4 June 2014). "Lorie Zapf Is Returned to Council, but Cate Faces Runoff With Kim". Times of San Diego. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
  2. ^ a b Yacovelle, Jess (June 2016). "Getting to Know District 6's Chris Cate". FINE Magazine. Del Mar, California. Retrieved 10 March 2017.
  3. ^ Keatts, Andrew (5 November 2014). "What Chris Cate Means for the City Council (Hint: the Veto-Proof Majority Isn't a Big Deal)". Voice of San Diego. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
  4. ^ "How To Run For Office Details". Office of the City Clerk. City of San Diego. Retrieved 14 March 2017. Each of these offices is non-partisan.
    Zoltan L. Hajnal; Paul G. Lewis; Hugh Louch (2002). "Municipal Elections in California: Turnout, Timing, and Competition" (PDF). Public Policy Institute of California. Retrieved 14 March 2017. Nonpartisan elections—those in which party labels are not included on the official ballot and parties do not have control over nominating procedures—are mandated for local elections statewide and are thus not included as a variable in our analysis.
  5. ^ a b Oriel, Christina (11 December 2014). "Fil-Am councilman sworn into office in San Diego". Asian Journal. Southern California. Retrieved 10 March 2017.
  6. ^ a b Trageser, Claire (13 February 2015). "Newest San Diego Councilman Chris Cate Is Young, But Not Overlooked". KPBS. San Diego. Retrieved 10 March 2017.
  7. ^ Regina (11 June 2014). "Filipino Candidates Primary Election Results: Cate Top 2 For The Runoff For District 6, San Diego City Council On November 7, 2014, General Election". Southern California Community Press. Archived from the original on 2017-03-12. Retrieved 10 March 2017.
  8. ^ a b Angeles, Steve (18 November 2014). "Meet San Diego's newest Fil-Am Councilmember". ABS-CBN North America News Bureau. Redwood Shores, California. Retrieved 10 March 2017.
  9. ^ a b Garrick, David (7 December 2014). "New councilman all about expertise". San Diego Union-Tribune.
  10. ^ Wood, Beth (15 February 2016). "Wedding: Maria Lourdes & Chris Cate". San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 10 March 2017.
  11. ^ Mento, Tarryn (27 May 2014). "The Race For San Diego City Council Districts 2, 6". KPBS. San Diego. Retrieved 10 March 2017.
  12. ^ Mento, Tarryn (5 November 2014). "Cate Defeats Kim For San Diego City Council District 6 Seat; Democrats Lose Supermajority". KPBS. San Diego. Retrieved 10 March 2017.
  13. ^ a b "Election History – Council District 6" (PDF). City of San Diego. Retrieved May 15, 2016.
  14. ^ "Council District 6 Neighborhoods". City of San Diego. Retrieved May 15, 2016.
  15. ^ Julian, Katrina (16 August 2011). "Fil-Ams, APIs seek voice in San Diego". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Philippines. Retrieved 10 March 2017.
    Nguyen, Alexander (1 November 2014). "'30 Years in the Making': Volunteers Walk District 6, Urge Asian Vote". Times of San Diego. Retrieved 10 March 2017.
  16. ^ Zabala, Liberty (5 November 2014). "First Asian-American in Decades Elected to SD Council". KNSD. San Diego. Retrieved 10 March 2016.
  17. ^ Stetz, Mike (25 March 2015). "Chris Cate on the Chargers, taxes and his first 100 days". Our City San Diego. Retrieved 11 March 2017.
  18. ^ "New San Diego 6th District Council Member takes office" (PDF). Mira Mesa Town Council. Mire Mesa Town Council. January 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-03-15. Retrieved 14 March 2017. Cate becomes the second Asian American to serve on the San Diego City Council. Tom Hom, a Chinese-American leader, served on the City Council in the 1960’s.
  19. ^ Schrotenboer, Brent (18 August 2016). "San Diego Chargers go on the attack in stadium campaign". USA Today. McLean, Virginia. Retrieved 10 March 2017.
    Garrick, David (19 August 2016). "Chargers attack Cate for stadium opposition". San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 10 March 2017.
    Florio, Mike (19 August 2016). "Chargers attack politician who is opposed to Ballot Measure C". NBC Sports. Stamford, Connecticut. Retrieved 10 March 2017.
  20. ^ Jennewein, Chris (8 November 2016). "Measure C for Downtown Chargers Stadium Decisively Defeated". Times of San Diego. Retrieved 10 March 2017.
  21. ^ Keatts, Andrew (21 December 2016). "Chris Cate, the Rare Policymaker Who Tried to Lead on Policies". Voice of San Diego. Retrieved 10 March 2017.
  22. ^ "Councilmembers propose giving Chargers $1 lease to revive stadium talks". KSWB. San Diego. City News Service. 13 December 2016. Retrieved 10 March 2017.
    "Council members offer Chargers lease deal in stadium saga". ESPN. Bristol, Connecticut. Associated Press. 12 December 2016. Retrieved 10 March 2017.
  23. ^ Garrison, Andrew (25 January 2017). "San Diego leaders, Chargers players and more react to the relocation announcement". KUSI. San Diego. Archived from the original on 2017-03-12. Retrieved 10 March 2017.
    "Chris Cate and Scott Lewis – TKF Pod #77". PodOMatic. 23 January 2017. Retrieved 10 March 2017.
  24. ^ Valdez, Jonah (14 March 2017). "The South Bay's Craft Beer Boom Is Upending Assumptions". Voice of San Diego. Retrieved 16 March 2017. San Diego City Council District 6, which includes northern central neighborhoods like Kearny Mesa and Mira Mesa, is known as the “beer belt.” It’s home to about two-thirds of the city’s craft beer breweries. Since the end of 2015, eight new breweries have opened, said Chris Cate, the Council member for District 6.
  25. ^ McAllister, Toni (31 October 2016). "Councilman Cate: Don't Completely Ban Short-Term Vacation Rentals". Times of San Diego. City News Service. Retrieved 11 March 2017.
  26. ^ Garrick, David (4 February 2017). "Online sales surge prompts San Diego to lobby for reform of tax allocations". San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 11 March 2017.
  27. ^ "City Council Committee Meetings". Office of the City Clerk. City of San Diego. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
  28. ^ Service, City News. "San Diego City Council Unanimously Votes To Form Homeless Committee". KPBS Public Media.
  29. ^ Potter, Matt (30 September 2016). "Cate's Corn Hole stuffed by SDG&E's hard cash". San Diego Reader. Retrieved 11 March 2017.
  30. ^ a b Showley, Roger (3 October 2017). "Councilman admits to leaking SoccerCity memo; will not resign". Retrieved 8 May 2018.
  31. ^ Stewart, Joshua (18 October 2017). "District Attorney passes SoccerCity case to the California Attorney General". Retrieved 8 May 2018.
  32. ^ Garrick, David (14 December 2017). "Cate pays fine to San Diego Ethics Commission for leaked SoccerCity memo". San Diego Union0Tribune. Retrieved 8 May 2018.
  33. ^ "Councilman Will Not Face Charges for Leaking City Memo to SoccerCity Group". KNSD. San Diego. 8 May 2018. Retrieved 8 May 2018.
    Garrick, David (7 May 2018). "Criminal probe of Cate over SoccerCity documents ends with no charges". San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 8 May 2018.