City Council

Two seats are being contested on the Fontana City Council in the Nov. 8 election.

Two seats on the Fontana City Council will be contested during the upcoming November election.

The candidates are:

• Jesus "Jesse" Sandoval, incumbent

• Lydia Salazar-Wibert, incumbent

• Jesse Armendarez, Fontana School Board member

• Eddie McCloud, deputy sheriff

• Cezar Reyes, teacher

• Issam K. Kirrish, businessman

• Osbern I. Lewis, security officer

• Tressy Capps, freelance journalist

• Adrian Felix Gonzalez, real estate broker

• H. "Ken" Friedman, nutrition teacher/counselor.

Brian Grayson will run as a write-in candidate but is not on the ballot.

The Fontana Herald News sent questionnaires to all of the candidates on the ballot, asking them to provide information about their qualifications, as well as their three top priorities if they were to be elected. Their answers can be seen below (some candidates did not return the questionnaires):

----- JESSE ARMENDAREZ

• Occupation: Fontana School Board member, small business owner and community volunteer

• Political experience: Fontana School Board member

• Organized and successfully led the Fontana community to recall in 2011 two Fontana School Board members

• Family information: Married, three children

• Educational background: I graduated with the very first class of Fontana A.B. Miller High School. I'm a Fontana real estate agent and have been recognized by the National Association of Hispanic Realtors as one of the "Top 250" Hispanic Realtors in the United States. The variety of leadership roles I have held has equipped me to support the city's continued revitalization and prosperity and my proven experience on the Fontana School Board has prepared me to help keep Fontana Moving Forward.

• Endorsed by these groups:

County of San Bernardino Supervisors -- Janice Rutherford and Curt Hagman

City of Fontana Mayor Acquanetta Warren

City of Fontana Council Member John Roberts

Fontana School Board Member Matt Slowik

Former Fontana School Board Member Kathy Binks

AFL-CIO American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations

GROW

Inland Valley Association of Realtors

• Community involvement: As a resident for more than 40 years, I have served our city as Planning Commissioner and Board of Directors for the Fontana Exchange Club, as chairman of Fontana Days Festival, as a member of the Fontana Rotary Club, a member of Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT), Fontana Chamber of Commerce and member at Water of Life Church.

• Top three priorities:

1. Make fighting crime and safer neighborhood's Fontana's top priority

This is the number one job of local elects. I will protect the city's quality of life by keeping neighborhoods safe and well maintained. Ensure that first responders have the resources and budget needed to protect residents, business owners and their property. I will increase Fontana's community efforts such as Neighborhood Watch and education for our senior community on scams.

2. Partner with schools and the business community to help create jobs and more opportunities for city residents

I will encourage and work with my Council colleagues to expand local companies and actively pursue new businesses to bring in needed jobs and tax revenues. Working closely with Fontana Chamber of Commerce and other business friendly alliances serving the Inland Empire, I will seek to improve technical job training to prepare students at all the districts serving our population to keep the jobs local.

3. Keep Fontana on the nation's list of best cities to raise a family by fostering a feeling of community and working in partnership with everyone.

As a parent and community leader, the key to building a better life for all residents to support all efforts that build a better community. Fontana is known as a great place to raise a family and I intend to keep that way. I will focus on economic growth, safe parks, youth activities and maintaining property values. To achieve this I will work with law enforcement, fire, school leaders, business owners, civic groups, churches and everyone to promote a stronger City of Fontana. For more information, visit JesseArmendarez.com

----- TRESSY CAPPS

• Occupation: Freelance journalist/activist

• Political experience: Currently leading a grassroots effort “Toll Free IE” to keep toll lanes out of San Bernardino County (Like our page on Facebook). Led a successful campaign with more than 1,100 supporters to restore busing in the Etiwanda School District following the death of a child in traffic. Helped defeat Measure A in Rancho Cucamonga. Helped defeat City of Riverside Sanctuary City Resolution. Currently working to defeat Etiwanda School District Measure I - $137 million tax bond.

• Family information: Married with two grown sons

• Educational background: Chino High Class of 1983. Chaffey College. Thirty years in the attorney service industry, 15 years licensed real estate salesperson.

• Endorsed by these groups: Did not seek endorsements

• Community involvement: Extensive involvement in a wide range of activities in the community. Involved in the ongoing Fontana General Plan update process. Member of Sunrise Church serving in various ministries.

• Top three priorites:

1. Maintain LOCAL control.

2. Manage population growth through responsible family-oriented development as opposed to Los Angeles style urban high-density development.

3. Continuing to fight toll lanes on the I-10 and I-15 freeways which would have a negative impact on our city.

I have already been working toward these goals for several years now with the help of several dedicated people. We managed to temporarily halt Westgate high density development in North Fontana. To see video highlights of our efforts go to “Grindall61” on YouTube and click on playlist Fontana. The channel has 20k subscribers and more than 7 million views.

----- H. “KEN” FRIEDMAN

• Occupation: Semi-retired bookstore owner, currently teaching and counseling nutritional health. He previously worked as a public relations consultant and a journalist. Friedman is a Viet-Nam era vet and performed duties as chief clerk at a NATO headquarters.

• Family information: Two children (wife is deceased. The Friedman family came to Fontana in the 1940s and operated one of the early chicken farms. The Friedmans played an integral role in the incorporation of Fontana in the early 1950s.

• Educational background: Friedman holds a B.A. from Cal State San Bernardino.

• Community involvement: He is a member of the Sierra Club.

• Top three priorities:

1. No new taxes! (Property owners are burdened with excessive taxes, already)

2. Help implement Fontana’s growth, in residential and commercial development (in turn providing more jobs for our residents). Our city is experiencing a “boom” (it's growing by “leaps and bounds") and the future of Fontana is bright. At an earlier point in my life, I worked with General Haig, on the "Bullet Train” project (on the Las Vegas to Escondido route). That route criss-crosses Fontana in two directions (Groundbreaking for that train could take place as early as 2020, providing a great commuter asset to our city)

3. And finally, for our youth: An inter-city arts exchange program (with other California cities, offering prizes, and cash awards to high school students (at no expense to taxpayers). If elected, I will serve Fontana to the best of my ability. Thank you for your vote.

----- ADRIAN FELIX GONZALEZ

• Occupation: Real estate broker

• Political party: Independent

• Political experience: None, but I love working with people to achieve greater goals together.

• Family information: Single, not married and no kids. "All in due time"

• Educational background: Juniper Elementary School, Sequoia Middle School, Fontana A.B. Miller High School, Class of 2001 (all in the FUSD); California real estate broker, licensed since 2003

• Endorsed by these groups: No "groups," but I have a lot of great Fontana citizens supporting my humble campaign.

• Community involvement: Helped push for street improvement projects.

• Top three priorities:

1. Safety: Continue support of the Fontana Police / Fire Department. Keep it up, you're doing a great job!

2. Jobs: Reaching out to businesses that would best fit our great city and working together to help open their businesses here, that in turn bring local jobs.

3. Street Improvement: The aesthetics of Fontana are very important to me. Sidewalks, street lighting, curbs and gutters. Not only for the safety issues, but they help the appearance of Fontana. Working together with the Public Works Department, I am positive we can achieve a sound budget to help improve our great city.

----- ISSAM KIRRISH

• Occupation: Businessman

• Political experience: None

• Educational background: B.S. Business Administration

• Family Information: Married to Luisa Kirrish with four children:

Amjad, U.S. Air Force reserve

Dianna, senior at Cal Poly Pomona

Ryan, Fire Academy

Deena, senior at Etiwanda High School

• Endorsed by these groups: None

• Community involvement:

Director of major baseball – FLL

Volunteer policing, Fontana Police Department

Arabic linguist in the U.S. Army in Iraq

• Top three priorities:

I care about the city of Fontana and the citizens, I want to be part of the solution to the challenges facing our city.

1. Economy: Encourage and support small and local businesses and make sure that they are put on a level playing field with large businesses. This will help us become a stronger and more vibrant community.

2. Safer: I am concerned about Fontana’s growth. I want to be sure that it is a smart growth, safer, environmentally friendly by preserving open spaces with parks and trials. We can resolve these current challenges of our city while still maintaining a strong police department by filling needed vacancies.

3. Balance budget: The council must balance the budget without cutting services or accounting gimmicks.

----- CEZAR REYES

• Occupation: Education and certified nurse assistant

• Political experience: First time running for City Council

• Family information: I'm happily married with my high school sweetheart . I have four beautiful children, two boys and two girls.

• Educational background: A.A. degree from San Bernardino Valley College, Liberal arts; Currently working on my B.A.

• Endorsed by these groups: None yet

• Community involvement: I currently served as the captain of my neighborhood watch.

• Top three priorities:

Slogan: "Made For People, Not Politics"

If I'm elected, I will work with city leaders to find solutions for:

1. Crime -- help to reduce/prevent crime such as gang related shootings, home invasion, and mail break-ins by bringing together police and residents to increase neighborhood watch groups in our city and do citizen patrol. Educate residents and give tools on how to report suspicious activities.

2 Cleanliness -- Make sure Public Works Department gets help from court-ordered community service individuals to assist by cleaning trash, illegal dumping, and graffiti in our neighborhoods and streets.

3. Education -- It's important we keep our kids in school and build better generations to come! How can we accomplish this? Giving out more college scholarships by raising money through fundraisers.

----- JESUS "JESSE" SANDOVAL

• Occupation: Retired

• Political experience: Elected Fontana City Councilmember, Chair of policy committee for Inland Empire Utility Agency

• Family information: Married 34 years, three adult children, five grandchildren

• Educational background:

Fontana High School graduate class of 1977

Attended Mount San Antonio College

San Bernardino Valley College

Chaffey College

• Endorsed by these groups:

Fontana Democratic Club

San Bernardino County Women’s Club

Democratic Central Committee

Chicano Latino Caucus

Teamsters Local 1932

Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters

• Community involvement

Fontana Flashbacks senior softball team

Member of the Fontana Senior Center

Sponsor yearly Veterans Day essay contest since 1999

Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees

Member of Fontana AARP

Attend various social clubs within the City of Fontana

• Top three priorities:

1. Public safety -- I will make sure our Police and Fire departments have the tools and equipment necessary to protect and serve our city. I will continue to bring in more business that will produce more sales tax to help fund these services.

2. City services -- I will make sure that the city provides great quality programs that will benefit all the citizens of Fontana, such as our after school program, recreation centers, swimming pools and well maintained parks and ball fields.

3. Bring good paying jobs -- I will partner and work closely with our school districts on a better educational workforce program.

----- LYDIA SALAZAR-WIBERT

• Occupation: Child welfare and attendance liaison, Fontana Unified School District

• Political experience: Fontana City Council (2010 – present)

• Family information: I’ve been married to my husband, David Wibert, for more than 30 years and we have nine children.

• Educational background: I graduated from Chaffey College with an Associate of Arts and Associate of Science in Corrections and also earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Criminal Justice from Cal State San Bernardino.

• Endorsed by these groups:

National Latino Peace Officers Association (NLPOA) - Teamsters 1932 - Central Labor Council - Steelworkers 8599 - Connie Leyva, CA State Senator - Mike Morrell, CA State Senator - Marc Steinorth, CA State Assemblymember - Cheryl Brown, CA State Assemblymember

• Community involvement:

Fontana Police Volunteer 1994-Present (currently on a leave of absence)

Co-Founder of Fontana Santa’s Toy Give Away 1996-Present

Student Attendance Review Board Member 1996- Present

Woman’s Club Member 1997- Present

Gangs and Drugs Task Force member 1999- Present

Volunteer American Cancer Society 2000- Present

Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Commissioner 2003- 2010

American Legion Post 772 2007- Present

Rotary Club of Fontana Member 2007- Present

Fontana Kiwanis Member 2014-Present

Loma Linda Ronald McDonald House Advisory Member 2012-Present

Board of Directors Member for Marygold Condominium Association 2007- Present

Fontana Parks and Recreation Commissioner 1997-2008

School Boundary Committee Member 1996-2006

Volunteer Special Olympics 1996-2000

School District Advisory Committee 1996-2000

Fontana Community Little League Board Member 1990-2000

PTA, Past President, Member, Including PTA Council 5th District 1992-1999

VFW Post 6563 Auxiliary Lifetime Member

San Bernardino County Solid Waste Advisory Task (SWAT) Force

Housing Authority Chair

• Top three priorities:

1. Public safety -- During my entire career helping to ensure the at-risk youth in our community were receiving the quality education they deserved, I worked hand-in-hand with the Fontana Police Department, and for the past 18 years I have been a volunteer for the Department. I know exactly what it takes to keep our community safe and that’s why as your Councilmember, I’ve stopped at nothing to make sure our men and women in public safety have everything they need to make it home safely at the end of their shifts. With your help I will continue to be a champion for those who have dedicated their careers to protecting us.

2. Education -- As a resident in Fontana, ensuring that all children in our city receive a quality education has been of paramount importance to me; that’s why I have been working for the school district as a child welfare and attendance liaison. It is no longer enough for our leaders to talk about improving education -- we must work together to enact that change by ensuring access to early childhood education as well as career technical education. I will continue to focus on making sure that our kids have the quality education and support that they need to succeed in school and once they graduate, in life.

3. Economy

During my six years on the City Council I have fought for all people in Fontana to have access to quality jobs by attracting businesses to our city and keeping businesses that we have here. Our city is situated to become an economic powerhouse in the region, but it is going to take leadership to make that vision a reality. We need to create a business climate in our city that encourages tech startups and companies that will help us move Fontana forward.

----- BRIAN GRAYSON

• Occupation: Job developer

• Family information: Married 24 years to my wife Toni, and we have nine children

• Educational background: A.A.S Paralegal, National American University; Basic Mediation Certificate, Inland Valley Justice Center.

• Endorsed by these groups: I don't have any ties to major contributors and I've been endorsed by both the San Bernardino County Democratic Central Committee and the community-based organization, Evolve. The only special interest I'll serve is what's best for Fontana and its residents.

• Community involvement: Parishioner and choir member at my church, and my wife and I often volunteer at my children's school.

• Top three priorities:

Fontana, much like any other city, faces a myriad of issues. The most compelling, in my opinion, involve the areas of public safety, growth and development and the creation of jobs.

1. As a councilman, I would make my first priority to increase public safety and reduce crime by ensuring that general fund expenditures are sufficient to provide our Police Department with the equipment, resources and tools necessary to conduct its work in as safe and efficient a manner as possible. In addition, I would also place emphasis on increasing the ratio of officers per 1,000 residents and reduce attrition by making sure salary and benefits packages are commensurate with those of similarly sized cities.

2. With respect to growth and development, I believe it's incumbent on the Council to ensure that the city grows in a manner that keeps pace with the capacity of our infrastructure and reflects the desires of our residents. To facilitate those objectives, I would work closely with city planners, public works and emergency services personnel as well as maintain an open door policy in order to gain the perspective and opinions of my constituents.

3. Lastly, the city needs to diversify and attract new jobs and businesses. Currently, an estimated 20 percent of our residents commute at least 30 minutes or more each day. That equates to both a quality of life issue and a loss of revenue for goods and services purchased outside our community. I believe that we should draw from the examples of improvements along the Crenshaw corridor in Los Angeles and the City of Inglewood's gentrification efforts and acknowledge that by improving the overall appearance and aesthetics throughout the entire city, Fontana can and will draw major employers.

I feel that I'm the best candidate because I possess a unique skill set that lends itself to the position. Prior to my current job, I enjoyed a long career at Verizon Wireless, where I honed my skills as an expert negotiator by regularly interacting with state, federal and local agencies and even represented the company in arbitrations and small claims cases. I also hold an A.A.S degree in Paralegal Studies and I'm a certified mediator, which means that I have the skills and training necessary to understand the complex legal issues that often come before the council and can act as a catalyst to bring about consensus and positive change.

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