Martinez Looking To Pick Up Where Paulitz Will Leave Off In Montclair

(September 22)  Trisha Martinez said she is running for city council in Montclair “because I want to keep Montclair a good place for children to play and I want to keep the economy going forward and moving ahead.”
Montclair has been among the most politically stable of San Bernardino County’s 24 cities over the past decade. Its council lineup of Mayor Paul Eaton and council members Bill Ruh, John Dutrey, Leonard Paulitz and Carolyn Raft has held steady over the last several election cycles. Paulitz has opted out of seeking reelection this year, meaning that for the first time in a half generation, the Montclair Council will swear in a new member in December.
Ruh is seeking reelection. Among those seeking election are Josie Garcia, Sean Brunske, Benjamin Lopez, Richard Beltran and Martinez.
Brunske and Beltran vied for election two years ago but were unsuccessful. They were backed by the city’s public safety employee unions and a contingent of city employees who were unhappy with the economies imposed on city workers by city manager Ed Starr during the deepening recession that hit the nation, state and region that began in 2007 and continued for the next half decade.
The current council backed Starr in his formulation of a plan to deal with the city’s fiscal challenges, which included staff reductions and further reductions in benefits provided to surviving city workers. Brunske and Beltran were unable capitalize on the support of city workers to actuate effective campaigns to dislodge either of the incumbents then up for election, Dutrey and Raft.
Martinez is seen as having an approach consistent with the city’s current council.
A major plank in her platform is ensuring the city’s passage of its soon-to-be-revamped five year strategic plan as it has been refined by top management at the guidance of the council.
“The major challenge we are facing as a city is the loss of our redevelopment agency, like every other city,” she said. “Even though we are coming off that loss, thank goodness we have a good city manager who kept our heads above water. We have a $25 million budget with $4 million in reserves. One of our greater challenges is keeping someone from getting elected who would oppose or change the strategic plan. If someone who is not a team player gets elected who doesn’t understand the necessity of moving forward, one mistake could cause us a problem and end up costing the city millions of dollars. I am the only one running other than Bill Ruh who understands the importance of going forward with the strategic plan. The others have not been involved. They started attending the city council meetings after they decided to run for the council. I have been attending the meetings long before I even thought of running.”
Martinez made an oblique reference to the tension underlying the surface at City Hall involving past layoffs and the reduction of city employee benefits.
“When we lost our redevelopment agency, our employees had to start paying their own pension contributions,” she said. “That created a little bit of animosity. They are now paying their share. We are recovering financially as a city and are moving forward. Perhaps [the employees covering their own pension costs] is an issue in the minds of those who were reluctant to pay. I don’t want that to interfere with the camaraderie of Montclair. I see that everybody is willing to keep sacrificing to make Montclair a good city. In the 24 years I have lived in Montclair, there have been ups and downs, but the people are still there very strong in their sense of community. One minor challenge that we might still have some employees who are still bitter and that could affect their morale. I pray for them every day. As the city’s finances get better, we might be able to compensate them for the sacrifices they are making.”
On her ballot designation, Martinez is listed as a community volunteer.
She has been active in the Ontario-Montclair Junior Women’s Club, including its Eastern Extravaganza event and its annual scholarship program. She is also the liaison between Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School and the Montclair Chamber of Commerce.
“I want to give back to the community,” Matinez said. “After it became known Leonard Paulitz wasn’t going to run, people approached me and asked if I would use the opportunity to run. I have been active in several community based organizations, including working with senior citizens and I was concerned there might be a conflict. I asked the city manager about it and he consulted an attorney. He called me back a few days later and said, ‘You’re good to go.’ I am running because I believe I am qualified. I am informed. I am ready to make a difference. I want to make this city better for our children. I am ready to go ahead with Montclair’s five-year plan.”
She attended high school in Anaheim and Oregon. She studied at Chaffey College and USC and California Southern University. She is married with two children.

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