Six candidates are vying for the District 3 seat on the Fontana City Council during the Nov. 3 election.
The candidates are Dawn Dooley, Peter Garcia, Erick Lopez, Amy Malone, LaShunda Martin, and Linda D. Richardson.
District 3 includes the eastern and northeastern areas 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):
----- DAWN DOOLEY
• Occupation: Secondary kitchen operator for Fontana Unified School District and president of United Steelworkers Local 8599, representing the classified employees of Fontana Unified School District.
• Political experience: No other elected offices held.
• Family information: I have two grown children. My son is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps and my daughter is a doctor of physical therapy. My significant other Frank and I have been together for more than 20 years.
• Educational background: I have a high school diploma.
• Endorsed by these groups: I am endorsed by Assembly Member Eloise Reyes, Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters – Inland Empire Local 909 and 951, United Steelworkers District 12 Legislative Education Committee, the San Bernardino Democratic Club, Inland Empire Central Labor Council, President Connie Vanderhal, Fontana Teachers Association, Jesse Sandoval (Fontana City Council District 2), and Mary Sandoval (Fontana Unified School District Board Member).
• Community involvement: I have lived in this District for more than 30 years, and during this time I have held many leadership positions. I was the ways and means chairperson for the Palmetto PTA, the president of the Fontana Aquatics Club, Troop 556 Girl Scout leader, and currently hospitality chairperson of the Friends of the Lewis Library and Technology Center.
TOP THREE PRIORITIES:
1. My goal is to be the voice of reason for all people in my district as well as the city. I have watched many Council meetings and have listened to public comments. I don’t feel that the concerns of our citizens are necessarily being heard, it is the citizens of this city making public comments that need to be heard and their concerns addressed.
2. I would like to develop a Community Benefits Agreement in the City of Fontana and have Project Labor Agreements. A Community Benefits Agreement is a contract agreement signed by community groups and real estate developers that requires developers to have specific amenities as well as viewing the environmental impact of large developments and industries. Community Benefits Agreements and Project Labor Agreements instill living wages be paid for employees; skilled labor be used to build projects. We need more manufacturing in our city to bring higher revenues. We need the employees to have full time positions and paid benefits so our residents could live in the community that they work in.
3. The impact of COVID-19 has directly impacted our small businesses, families, city and school district. In order for our city to continue to serve its citizens, we all must work together to provide community services and continue to support our local businesses. I would like to build a stronger bond between the City of Fontana and the Fontana Unified School District to involve more of our community in support of all offered activities.
----- PETER GARCIA
• Occupation: Executive manager/scientist for California Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Toxic Substances Control
• Political experience: City of Fontana Planning Commission (eight years); Elected member of the Governing Board, Fontana Unified School District (four years).
• Family information: I am married to my wife Angela and have five wonderful children: Julia, Andrés, Katherine, Peter Jr., and Lauren.
• Educational background: I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles.
• Endorsed by these groups: Acquanetta Warren, Mayor, City of Fontana; Jesse Armendarez, Councilmember, City of Fontana; John Roberts, Councilmember, City of Fontana; Phillip Cothran Jr., Councilmember, City of Fontana; Janet Koehler-Brooks, Treasurer, City of Fontana; Adam Perez, Board Member, Fontana Unified School District; Fontana Chamber of Commerce; Fontana Police Officers Association; California Coalition of Law Enforcement Associations; Building Industry Association of Southern California; Inland Empire Business PAC; National Association for Industrial and Office Parks.
Community involvement: Baseball coach, Fontana Pony Baseball; Baseball manager/coach, Fontana Community Little League Baseball; Fontana Rotary Club; Auto Club Speedway Checkered Flag Team; Mayor’s Education Coalition.
TOP THREE PRIORITIES:
1. Public safety
As a member of the Fontana Unified School District Board of Education, the safety of our students has been a top priority for me. That is why I made it my goal to ensure that our Fontana Unified School District Police Department had the tools to do its job effectively.
As a member of the City Council, similarly, I will review the Fontana Police Department’s strategic plan, and meet with Police Chief Billy Green to discuss Police Department resource needs and other challenges to effectively policing the community. I will then work collaboratively with our mayor and my fellow Council members to address any potential shortfalls. Our police department is among the best in the region, and my goal is to continue to have a strong, well-trained police department that is respected by our community. Public safety is not an option for our community, it’s a necessity.
Although the crisis of 2020 has affected all of us in various ways, one issue that Fontana continues to face is homelessness. Like so many of us in Fontana, I am deeply concerned. We must help to end the homeless crisis by adopting serious measures. I know from experience that in order to solve fundamental problems, leadership must work as a team. I plan on working with the mayor and City Council members to secure storage facilities for the homeless to store their belongings, facilitate the building of quality affordable housing, and to develop a plan to perform a citywide cleanup, dismantling encampments in a humane way that will ensure others do not gravitate to and continue to inhabit them.
3. Economic development
Economic development is at the core of creating and maintaining a sustainable city. It is the engine that drives tax revenue to fund city services and projects, and job creation so our residents may prosper. I will provide steady leadership by continuing to lobby for infrastructure funding, career technical education for our youth, and supporting a prosperous business community that produces livable wage jobs. As a Councilmember, I will continue to build the bridge for Fontana’s youth to have a transitional path to livable wage jobs that we have been creating at the Fontana Unified School District. This will be accomplished by working with the Chamber of Commerce and the Mayor’s Education Coalition to connect our well-trained and prepared students with local business ventures in need of specialized skills.
----- ERICK LOPEZ
• Occupation: Teaching assistant
• Political experience: This is my first time running for political office.
• Family information: I am unmarried with no children.
• Educational background: B.A Political Science -- Public Service, UC Davis
• Community involvement: I regularly volunteer my time for park clean ups.
TOP THREE PRIORITIES:
Educational attainment is low in Fontana and if we want a well-educated citizenry and workforce, then that needs to be addressed. I intend to partner with our school districts and to advocate for investing in teachers' salaries, college preparation and vocational
training programs, STEM education, and technology for our classrooms.
2. Sustainable economic development
We need to move away from warehouse developments that bring low paying jobs with no benefits and dismal working conditions on top of significant environmental impacts. I am running to diversify our economic development and to bring in good paying jobs, professional working spaces, green jobs, and STEM industries that will help modernize Fontana and serve as an example for neighboring cities in the Inland Empire.
3. Public Safety
This year has taught us that we need to re-imagine our public safety model. We need to move away from the idea that the only way to maintain public safety is through policing. In Fontana, 61.7 percent of the city's budget goes toward the police. I think it would be of great benefit to the community if a portion of that budget is reallocated to deter crime by investing in mental health resources, addiction programs, homeless shelters, education, etc.
----- AMY MALONE
• Occupation: Public relations professional and owner of Girl in Charge Public Relations
• Political experience: I have no previous political experience; however, I have worked as communications and media advisor for many political and city events in Los Angeles, Watts, Carson, Dallas, TX, and Atlanta, GA. In addition, I co-founded the voter initiative My Hood Votes, a grassroots education and mobilization campaign designed to engage non-traditional voters in under-served neighborhoods commonly referred to as "the hood," with political strategist Jasmyne Cannick and rapper and reality TV star Eric “Lil Eazy E” Wright, son of the late Eazy E.
• Family information: Married 20 years, with two children, a 28-year-old daughter and 21-year-old son
• Educational background: Graduate of La Puente High School, and attended Mt San Antonio (MTSAC) Community College and El Camino Community College. In addition, I am a certified public relations professional, certified meeting planner, and certified scrum master (CSM).
• Endorsed by these groups: Celestine Palmer, founder of Los Angeles African American Women PAC and the Los Angeles African American Women Public Policy Institute; Ingrid Palmer, president of Los Angeles African American Women PAC; Cheryl L. Bedford, founder of Women of Color Unite; George's Budget Tire and Auto Repair; Northside Transportation Inc.; and many truck owner operators, small business owners, community leaders and clergy.
• Community involvement: Member of Fontana Chamber of Commerce, Black Chamber of Commerce Inland Empire, Los Angeles African American Women Political Action Committee (LAAAWPAC), Women of Color Unite (WOCU, San Bernardino County Democratic Party, Loving Beyond Reason board member, and one of the coordinators of the National Prison Summit Against Mass Incarceration.
TOP THREE PRIORITIES:
1. Economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis -- I will advocate for an Economic Recovery Plan for District 3 that is inclusive of all of its residents, one that addresses the inequalities we faced before the pandemic and those exacerbated by it. I will advocate for county, state, and federal COVID-19 resources for District 3 residents and businesses. In addition, I will work closely with council members to bring together public and private investments to help the area grow. While developing much needed affordable housing in low income areas, and the revitalization of Downtown Fontana by bringing in new entertainment and dining venues, retail shops, and commercial property. This in turn will create job opportunities that pay wages comparable to the cost of living in our district and foster economic growth.
2. Address the growing homeless population -- There is often a direct connection between homelessness and mental illness. Because of this, it can lead to encounters with law enforcement, violence, and substance abuse. I will seek funding to help get families off the streets, and work to organize a Task Force that includes a representative from Continuum of Care (COC) to develop a strategic plan that will target the needs of the homeless population in Fontana, with special emphasis on those most at risk including seniors, disabled, and minors. In addition, I will work with council members to develop a low-income housing community that offers income based housing, and a specific number of units to be used for the temporary housing of homeless individuals with on-site services that include Alcohol and Drug Intervention, Trauma Counseling, Mental Health Treatment, Medical Treatment, Life Skills Training, and Job Training. The goal is to reunite them with their families, and help them get a foothold on their lives, so they can reenter the workforce, sustain healthy living conditions, and rebuild.
3. Public Safety -- Create Community Liaisons that will work closely with the Police Department to ensure transparency and address public grievances, bring back the Neighborhood Watch program, identify problem areas within District 3, and work with law enforcement to target those areas for increased patrols, and present the "Drug and Violence Free Fontana" initiative, which is a no-tolerance campaign to work as a community to create a safer Fontana by partnering residents, law enforcement, schools, community leaders, and churches.
----- LaSHUNDA MARTIN
• Occupation: Deputy probation officer
• Family information: I am a divorcee with four children.
• Educational background: BS in Human Services
• Community involvement: I volunteered to work with the Census prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
TOP THREE PRIORITIES:
1. While balancing a city budget can be politically difficult, it must be a priority. I plan to maintain a fiscally sound budget by adjusting frequently, and prioritizing the needs from the wants. I would review the projects in progress and proceed with a mixture of spending reductions by placing projects on hold and prioritizing the needs from the wants.
2. As for police reform, it is not a defund conversation, crime is very much on the rise, it’s a re-imagine and revision approach and maybe a reallocation of funds to fund Community Based Organizations (CBO’s). I support law enforcement. My passion and advocacy for people, and empathy for marginalized members of our community is invaluable. If elected, I would bring a unique lived experience that resonates with many of our residents. I will work to create policies in regard to mental health and substance use disorder. I would like to see all public agencies working together to solve societal issues because it extends beyond an individual's control. A social worker can assist a police officer on a call for domestic violence or homelessness issue. It’s important to build key relationships in our community between the Department of Mental Health, Transitional Housing or Department of Housing, and Substance Abuse facilities that provide services to the residents.
3. I want to make sure that small business survive and thrive during this challenging time. I will seek COVID-19 funds, its’ surplus plus any additional funding to assist the small businesses. Small business are the backbone of our economy. I would like to see small businesses grow to big businesses. I am in support of strategies that ensure that the city of Fontana can consistently attract, develop, and retain businesses.
----- LINDA D. RICHARDSON
• Occupation: Chaplain
• Family information: I have been married to Cecil Richardson for 23 years. Together we have nine children, 11 grandchildren, and one on the way.
• Educational background: Bachelor’s degree from IAU, Master’s degree from Fuller Theological Seminary
• Endorsed by these groups: Santa Rosa Band of Cahuilla Indians, Bishop James Nelson and Bishop Nelson Jones – World Assemblies of Restoration, Heaven to Earth Non-Profit Organization.
Community involvement: I am an active committee member of Santa Rosa Band of Cahuilla Indians; I sit on various committees such as the Election Committee and Cahuilla Consortium Advisory Advocate Program (CCVAP), and a former member of Santa Rosa Farms.
TOP THREE PRIORITIES:
1. Immigration and DACA is a problem facing my district. 16 percent of Fontana residents are undocumented. I will explore how surrounding cities address this problem and implement policies that our undocumented residents can be documented.
2. Warehouses and toxic fumes continue to be a problem in our district, while there are many vacant warehouses for rent. With the warehouses being built in our district this proposes unhealthy air, and those that struggle with respiratory issues are severely affected. I would propose that the many vacant warehouses be used before others are built.
3. Rent control and rent stabilization would be a priority. Rent control protects residents and the residential community. There should also be good cause for evictions. Rent control prevents renters from being taken advantage of.