Leon Seeking To Remain As Ontario Mayor

(July 28) Paul Leon says that after fifteen years on the city council, the last ten of which he has been mayor of the 165,000 population city, he has not exhausted the contributions he can make to the community.
For that reason, he said, he is seeking reelection as mayor.
So far, the race has attracted three others, all of whom have political experience in Ontario – Gus Skropos, who was Ontario mayor two decades ago, Rudy Favilla, who served a tumultuous four years on the city council from 1992 until 1996 and current councilman Paul Vincent Avila, who has garnered some degree of political success in the last several years following two decades of wandering in the political wilderness.
Leon suggests Skropos and Favilla are seeking to make political comebacks now and Avila is looking to advance up the political totem pole now because of the success he has had in rejuvenating the now 123 year-old city
“ I am absolutely running,” Leon said. We are in a place where Ontario needs to remain. We need to continue in the same direction on the right track. There are those who want to jump on the bandwagon. Two of my opponents are coming back after 15 or 20 years. They want to run the city they almost put into bankruptcy fifteen or 20 years ago. I am not about to let that happen.
Leon took particular aim at Favilla. “He is the epitome of a bad politician,” Leon said. “ In everyone’s memory, he is the worst politician in the city of Ontario. He is not someone I want in a leadership position. He is a creature out of Ontario’s dark past. Now that things are good, he wants to come back and break us down.
Leon was even less charitable in assessing Avila, whom he characterized as “the laughing stock” of Southern California politics.
Leon sounded confident about his re-electoral prospects, given that he has been prominently visible in the political limelight for a decade and a half, and reinforced that with two recent bids, one for the California Assembly and one for the California Senate.  He said that recent polling has shown him with name recognition that dwarfs that of all three of his prospective opponents combined.
But beyond the political mechanics of selling himself to the greatest number of voters, Leon said his list of accomplishments provides a basis for his candidacy his competitors cannot match.
“With my tenure as a council member and mayor for 15 years, we have taken the city from the brink of bankruptcy to being one of the most solvent cities in the country,” he said. “With the exception of the negative publicity Mr. Avila has stirred up, we have had very little controversy in Ontario during those 15 years. I can’t remember any issues in Ontario approaching the scandals the county of San Bernardino has experienced. No one is able to point to Ontario as an embarrassment to its citizens. We have found our footing and are the best run city in the county.  My opponents were out of the picture during most or all of that time. When they were in office, they showed that they misunderstood the issues facing the city and made decisions that hurt business.”
Leon continued, “In the last several years, as a council we have attacked the issue of regaining the airport. Many of the projects that were previously unfunded or underfunded to the tune of tens to hundreds of millions of dollars are now being undertaken. If you look at the infrastructure of the city, despite the economic downturn, we have never stopped pulling ourselves up. We have never had a brown out. We have never had work furloughs. We have worked well with our employee unions. We have balanced every single budget during the downturn and this year, for the first time in five years we added to the budget. We will be adding ten police officers to the department in the coming year. There is not a surrounding city that has been able to do anything like this.  We have continued with adding major amenities and upgrades, such as to the Ontario Mills, which continues to pay dividends back into the city’s bank account in the tens of millions of dollars. Albeit with controversy, we overcame opposition to see the SuperWalMart to completion, which now provides 100 jobs and in excess of $1 million in tax revenue to the city. We built an arena for  $150 million, which gives our city hosting capability that is not matched by any of the cities surrounding us. We have upgraded our library. We have upgraded our senior citizens center. We built multiple senior citizens housing projects.  We upgraded our teen center  and we are currently building another  park downtown where we can have safe entertainment. We have added a three story office building downtown  as well as helped in restoring office and retail businesses on the west side of Euclid Avenue. All of these things have been done with the intention of rebuilding our downtown to its former glory. Developers and world class businesses are coming to Ontario because of the stable economy and stable city administration that does not falter but maintains the core.  The last thing we need in this election cycle is a change in leadership that would change direction of the city and lay us in ruin again.  They have been there before and failed the people. I have been here for 15 years on behalf of the residents  of Ontario.  My opponents have put us into the poorhouse during the good times. Through my leadership as mayor we took the greatest economic downturn since  the depression  came through without even  skipping a beat. These are wrong people to think about leading the city.”
Leon was first appointed to the Ontario City Council in 1999. He was elected to the city council on his own merit in 2000 and re-elected in 2004. In June 2005 he was elected mayor in a special election and re-elected to a four year term in November 2006 and again reelected in 2010.
Leon has represented Ontario on regional boards with Southern California Association of Governments, San Bernardino Associated Governments, and Omnitrans, and has served as the city council liaison to the Los Angeles World Airports Board of Airport Commissioners.
A native of Southern California, Paul is a graduate of Nordhoff High School in Ojai, the U. S. Army Security Agency Training Center & School at Ft. Devens, Massachusetts, and attended the Cleveland Institute of Electronics. He has been a resident of Ontario since 1977.
Leon is the senior pastor of Hope Chapel Foursquare Church.

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