Marquez Touting Range Of Involvement In Chino Hills Council Attempt

(February 22) Ray Marquez maintains his depth and breadth of experience in government in and outside of Chino Hills has prepared him to serve on the Chino Hills City Council.
Marquez is vying against three others to be selected by city voters in a special mail-in ballot election March 5 as the replacement for Willburn “Bill” Kruger, who resigned from the city council last September.
“Experience counts,” Marquez said, pointing out that his community involvement began with his participation in Chino Hills Little League in the 1980s, where he went from being a team manager to board member for five years, three as president. In the early 1990s, he was involved in the Chino Hills incorporation effort and in the council campaigns of of Gary Larson and Mike Whitman.
Marquez was appointed to the city’s first planning commission and served on it for one term and was subsequently appointed to the city’s park and recreation commission, where he served three terms. He is currently on the Chino Valley Independent Fire District’s board of directors. He is a San Bernardino County airport commissioner  and he also serves on the advisory council for the Frontera Women’s Prison. He is on the Carbon Canyon Fire Safe Council and is a member of two state legislative committees, the California Special District Legislative Committee and the California Special District Finance Committee. A retired firefighter who worked for 28 years with the Santa Fe Springs Fire Department, Marquez insists that he “can bring that experience to bear on issues that the city faces.”
“When I first got involved in the community, the issue was sports field availability,” he said. “We had people outside Chino Hills shipping their kids in to use our fields. I worked on the problem with the school district and the Little League regional office and we worked out the field allocation issues with the creation of a youth sports council. We came together to assure everyone had adequate access and it worked out quite well. I had to reach out politically to do that. I have been involved politically here in Chino Hills one way or the other ever since. I have accomplished a few things. I was elected to the fire board in 2006 and have served on it since 2007. At present our reserves are at $21 million and we provide better service in Chino Valley than in just about every other fire district in this region. We opened a station while other departments were closing stations. Close to 80 percent of our equipment is new.”
Marquez says he alone among the other candidates is hyperconscious of the issue of community facilities district funding. Community facilities districts are entities created when cities or counties allow a developer to create a residential subdivision, without providing upfront the funding necessary for that development’s infrastructure, instead using a state law passed in the 1980s to issue Mello-Roos bonds, which are then debt serviced for up to thirty years by the homeowners that purchase property within that subdivision. Those assessments are fees those homeowners must pay on top of their mortgage payments. In Chino Hills, many of the Mello-Roos districts that were created nearly three decades ago under the aegis of the county are about to expire. When they do, they will take with them some of the funding the city of Chino Hills utilizes to cover a portion of its payroll. “We have ten of them,” Marquez said of the community facilities districts. “They entail an overhead fee. I don’t want the city to get caught flatfooted when that [the bond payment arrangement] ends.” Marquez did not offer a specific indication of what he intended to do with regard to the community facilities districts, leaving open the possibility of extending the assessments, finding some other funding mechanism to keep the city employees with the city, or laying off those employees whose positions are currently funded by the assessments.
Marquez said the city has several pressing issues demanding the attention of decision makers.
“I am concerned about open space in our community,” Marquez said. “Open space is vital to me.”
“The power lines are a big issue,” he said. “Edison has said it has set aside $32 million to get ready for undergrounding but now we have learned the lines won’t be undergrounded in Oak Tree downs. I don’t like that. Once they start undergrounding, it should not be that much more money to do the same thing for the last mile-and-a-half. I am concerned about health issues. I am concerned about property values. I have been involved with Hope For The Hills on this. There has been a partnership between the city and the community but there hasn’t been good communication. It has gotten better. It is amazing what you can do when you work together.”
Marquez, who now works as a real estate broker, said, “Another big issue is the equestrian overlay.”
The city is in the process of considering a change to its municipal code, which was put in place upon the city’s 1991 incorporation, essentially adapting San Bernardino County’s rules, which prohibit keeping more than nine large animals on any parcel, regardless of its size. The Chino Hills General Plan makes specific mention of protecting the historic horse farms as they are along the English Road recreational corridor. City officials have also given horse farm owners assurances the area’s rural character will be preserved and small or medium sized horse farms will not be zoned out of business and out of town, but many of the farms, some of which have as many as 90 horses, are out of compliance with the municipal code and its zoning. Other cities in Southern California have used these technical restriction to force equestrian farms to close.
The equestrian overlay zone the city is seeking to establish would include the English Road area, Bayberry Drive, Coal Canyon and anywhere where lots are consistently bigger than a half-acre.
“There are a lot of non-conforming ranches,” Marquez said. “There are a lot of businesses that do not have the ability to pull a permit. It is too costly if you do not have business that is compatible with the property zoning.”
“This is a good family community,” Marquez said. “I want to keep it that way. I am a moderate Republican and I don’t want to raise taxes.”
Insisting he was the superior candidate, Marquez was both deprecatory and complimentary toward his opponents.
“Jesse [Singh] just registered and voted in November,” Marquez said. “He is a great kid and I think he has a future, but I don’t think he has the experience. Rossana Mitchell was on the city council for eight months ten years ago, but I have not seen her in the community since. Debbie [Hernandez] is a good person and she would be a good council member, but her experience has been limited to being a commissioner. I feel I have more experience, more involvement more relationships. I have the endorsements of Senator Bob Huff. I have the endorsement of Assemblyman Curt Hagman. I have the endorsements of the entire Chino Hills City Council and the endorsement of the entire Chino City Council with the exception of Eunice [Ulloa]. I certainly believe my four opponents are serious and they are being active and they are doing more than just bitching and complaining. I commend them.”

Leave a Reply