Five candidates are seeking to represent the Fontana City Council in District 2 during the Nov. 3 election.
Jesus "Jesse" Sandoval, who is finishing his second term on the City Council, is running for reelection.
He is being opposed by Jesse Cerda, Sophia Holguin, Priscilla Linares, and Jenique Sanders.
District 2 includes much of the central area of Fontana.
The Herald News sent all of the candidates a questionnaire, asking them to provide information about themselves and also to list their top three priorities for the coming year if they won the election.
Here are the responses by the candidates (listed in alphabetical order):
----- JESSE CERDA
• Occupation: I am currently in my 13th year of teaching in Fontana and have also successfully coached.
• Political experience: I have experience in public policy and public service, as well as in lobbying in Sacramento on local issues, which will assist me in being an active voice representing the diverse Fontana community.
• Family information: Single
• Educational background: I am a product of Fontana’s public schools and have grown up in this community. I have a bachelor’s degree from California State Polytechnic University Pomona and part of less than 3 percent of males in Fontana with a master’s degree from Claremont Graduate University.
• Community involvement:
School Site Council, Sequoia Middle School
School Site Council, Summit High School
Summit High School varsity cheer coach
Volunteer coach at the California School for the Deaf
Volunteer with Relay for Life
Volunteer with the Ronald McDonald House Charities Walk for Kids
Volunteer at the Union Rescue Mission
I have also volunteered with youth sports and other service organizations in Fontana.
TOP THREE PRIORITIES:
1. PUBLIC SAFETY: Driving around the core of Fontana in District 2, I see many areas of our community that can simply be updated to improve the quality of life for our residents. Ensuring clean and updated parks and youth areas, well-lit streets, and updated roads will drastically improve the quality of life for many residents in district 2. Furthermore, researching high crime rate areas in Fontana and ensuring that we maintain and monitor those areas to improve the quality of life for all residence.
2. CONTINUED DEVELOPMENT AND A SOUND FISCAL BUDGET: As a councilman, I will prioritize lobbying to keep local taxes and fees local to supplement our city’s budget; this includes the Vehicle License Fee and federal funds too. It is also important that families and youth have options for entertainment, food, and retail that fit their needs so that revenues stay local. We must also continue development to sustain a growing population, but planning must exist with the ideals of transit-oriented development that best fit our city. We must research other local cities that have already employed such development to not simply develop our city but come up with a strategic plan with the input of all stakeholders, especially our residents! I believe the quality of life in Fontana can continually improve in our city by listening to our constituents and ensuring that we bring valuable development that will not only attract our residents but also those of neighboring communities. Finally, attracting businesses that provide jobs with livable wages.
3. SUPPORTING LOCAL BUSINESSES AND LOCAL SERVICES: Ensuring that we are working together to assist businesses most affected by our economy. Also support of our seniors, veterans, youth and families: Advocating for mental health services, meal services, afterschool activities, and housing programs for working families.
I am fully committed to being an active voice for our diverse Fontana community. I have the educational background and experience to advocate for our residents and I ask for your support on Nov. 3. Together we can continue to improve the quality of life for all residents and continue to be an example for other cities.
----- SOPHIA HOLGUIN
• Occupation: Businesswoman
• Political experience: Community organizer
• Family information: Single, no children
• Educational background: Community College Courses -- Business, Finance and Economic Development/Real Estate Broker/ Real Estate License/Notary
Contractor License -A, B and C-8
• Endorsed by these groups: Fontana Police Officers Association, California Coalition of Law Enforcement, Fontana Chamber of Commerce, National Association for Industrial and Office Parks, Inland Valley Association of Realtors, Mayor Acquanetta Warren, Mayor Pro Tem Jesse Armendarez, Councilman Phillip Cothran Jr., Fontana School Member Board Adam Perez, Fontana School Board Member Peter Garcia, Fontana Chamber of Commerce President Phil Cothran
• Community involvement (list organizations or activities): Organizer for Fontana Bella Strada Neighborhood Watch Program, member of Citrus Valley Association of Realtors, member of Juniper Seventh Day Adventist Church in Fontana.
TOP THREE PRIORITIES:
I have seen the number of homeless people rise in Fontana. We see them along Sierra Avenue and near the Metrolink area in downtown. As compassionate humans, we have an obligation to help them. The answer is not to pacify and overlook their situations but to rather provide the right help and resources to turn their situations around for the better. I will connect people with great ideas by establishing communication with all San Bernardino County departments, Fontana City departments and nonprofits who can help eliminate this problem. I will also work with local workforce development groups to interview and find people amongst the homeless who are physically and mentally able to work and make an honest living; we have many jobs in Fontana and nothing better than filling them with our locals. I do realize not all homeless will accept the help but I would like to expand the city and county resources to assist these homeless. Also, I believe we need more diversity in our housing to eliminate overcrowding, which is leading families to become homeless.
2020 has been a year where many have questioned the behavior and practices of law enforcement personnel, mainly the actions of police as they interact with members of the community. I understand those concerns. I too want reform and better relations between police and residents. However, I choose to fully fund our police because we can demand better without compromising our safety and security of our families and business community. Our police need the resources to target sex offenders, those who commit crimes against children, and those who would abuse our elderly. I stand with our police because we need them to keep us safe from truly evil people. Please know that as your city Councilmember I will never abandon your security. I support our Fontana Police and Fire Department.
3. Economic development
I have already met numerous business owners in my district. We’ve spoken about the pros and cons of doing business in Fontana. I will work closely with our Fontana Chamber of Commerce to make our district more prosperous, which in turn makes our entire community successful. I will continue the city’s efforts to improve our permit processing practice which helps our business community thrive. Fontana is Open for Business which should include making a great destination spot right in our Fontana downtown area. Working together we can have amazing office space, modern residential units and new restaurants in some of Fontana’s most iconic and historic buildings. We have an amazing amphitheater and Center Stage venue which can provide great entertainment such as concerts with vendors. I plan on bringing back our Fontana Farmers Market with certified organic growers. I embrace “Healthy Fontana" and intend to support its growth. Jobs, Jobs and Jobs for our residents.
----- JENIQUE SANDERS
• Occupation: Business owner
• Political experience: Three years assisting politicians.
• Family information: Married for 26 years. I have three children.
• Educational background: I have degrees in Nursing, Management, Psychology, Mental Health, Nutrition, Marketing, Holistic Therapy, and a Doctorate degree in Theology.
• Endorsed by these groups: Southern California Woman’s Chamber of Commerce, Women of Royalty, Sisters with Determination, RPE Enterprises, RPE Music Group, and SS Global.
• Community involvement: Feeding families of San Bernardino County
TOP THREE PRIORITIES:
1. Help working families. I would bring awareness to working families about programs available to assist them during these challenging times.
2. Helping women in business is important to me. I would raise the awareness of woman-owned businesses in the area by uniting them and making them aware of programs that are available to assist them further their business.
3. Immigration: I would help as many people obtain legal citizenship by helping them get registered.
----- JESUS "JESSE" SANDOVAL
• Occupation: Retired
• Political experience: Elected in 2012 to the Fontana City Council, and I am currently serving my second term.
• Family information: I have been married to Mary for 38 years. We have three adult children and six grandchildren. We both hold public office. Mary is currently a member of the Fontana School Board of Education.
• Endorsed by these groups: Congresswoman Norma Torres, Senator Connie Leyva, Assemblywoman Eloise Gomez-Reyes, Janice Rutherford, South West Carpenters Union, Democratic Central Committee, Inland Business Pac and Chicano Latino Caucus of San Bernardino County.
• Community involvement: I have been a volunteer for 38 years in baseball (Southwest LL, Elks LL and Pony), Fontana Girls Softball, and Fontana Pop Warner Football. I am an active volunteer and member at the Fontana Community Senior Center. I was a past Fontana Police volunteer and current member of CERT.
TOP THREE PRIORITIES:
Economic development: I would like to focus on economic development within the city. Warehouse jobs are not the kind of jobs that will allow our kids and grandkids to prosper and invest in our city. I will work toward bringing in industry jobs that can provide decent salaries so people can live, work and enjoy the City of Fontana. Our current focus is limited to building warehouses and providing only low paying jobs to residents. We need to beef up our economic development plan. I know that I can reach out and work with our local legislators to bring opportunities to our community.
Public Safety: While our Police Department is doing an overall outstanding job, there is always room for improvement and growth. It is important to look at the community demographics and build a police force that can relate and understand the community's needs and reflect on the diversity and strength.
Homeless population: I would continue to work with the City Council homeless advocate and local government entities to battle the increase in this population and help the residents who are at risk of potentially becoming homeless due to mental illness or loss of employment. While there are programs available, cities need to inform this population of the available services.