We endorse as the best candidate for District 2 Letty Lopez, a career parks and recreation expert with two children in the city, a master’s degree in communication and a commitment to fiscal prudence rather than new taxes to solve the city’s budget problems.
Article from SGV Tribune Endorses LOPEZ, Toma and Sykes FOR WEST COVINA CITY COUNCIL
Interest in local council elections in the 31 small and medium-sized cities of the San Gabriel Valley is generally confined to active citizens, organizations and businesses within the cities themselves.
Few residents of La Verne could tell you much about the council politics of South Pasadena, and vice versa.
But the November City Council elections in West Covina, one of the biggest and most diverse cities in the valley, might be followed more closely than most because of three headline-making aspects of the race.
First, the city was more or less forced, as so many California cities have been under threat of lawsuit, to go to district-only elections.
For generations West Covina politicos have acknowledged that the majority of the council has often come from the affluent South Hills neighborhoods, in population a small part of the city.
Some have seen this as a merely interesting fact and some have long viewed it as a problem for real representation. Whether the move to what some would call a ward system is a good one or not, after a couple of election cycles there will finally be representation with council members from all the city’s neighborhoods.
The other two regionally interesting aspects to this election are actually people, two council candidates who have been in our headlines for reasons that have nothing to do with their political lives: former Councilman and Assembly member Roger Hernandez, accused by his former wife, also a San Gabriel Valley politician, of spousal abuse, and longtime school board and council member Mike Spence, who has acknowledged a substance-abuse problem.
As the at-large system fades away and candidates run from their neighborhood districts, the election is also complicated by the fact that some incumbents running in November still have time left in their at-large seats.
Spence is one of the at-large incumbents and is running in District 2 in the city’s northwest against Hernandez as well as local businessman Brian Gutierrez, city Community and Senior Services Commissioner Leticia Lopez and former Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District board member Bill Robinson.
No question that Spence is extremely knowledgeable about his hometown and its politics and is a fascinating and amiable person.
We wish him well in his long-term recovery efforts. Some years from now, when he has fully regained his health, he should again return to public life. But not now. We endorse as the best candidate for District 2 Letty Lopez, a career parks and recreation expert with two children in the city, a master’s degree in communication and a commitment to fiscal prudence rather than new taxes to solve the city’s budget problems.
We strongly endorse at-large incumbent James Toma for the new District 4 seat on the city’s eastside. A California deputy attorney general, a Yale graduate, a former Friends of the West Covina Library president who stopped the city from chopping down 122 trees at the library for a parking lot, he is a superbly smart and capable public servant.
In District 5 we also strongly endorse the return of former Councilman Fred Sykes, the retired sheriff’s deputy who has long been a leading advocate for parks, open space and geographical diversity on the West Covina council.