George To Fill Two-Year Gap On Chino City Council

The Chino City council last week unanimously appointed Chaffey College board member and former Chino Valley Chamber of Commerce president Gary George to fill the position on the city council formerly occupied by Eunice Ulloa.
George was among 27 applicants for the position, 25 of whom were interviewed by the four members of the city council on January 10 and 11.
Put into place with the November 2016 election was half of the city’s electoral ward system. Last year, after the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund threatened the city with legal action if it did not adopt council wards, the council drew up and adopted a system by which the mayor will continue to be elected at large and the remaining members of the council will be chosen from four electoral wards in which roughly one-fourth of the city’s 77,983 residents live.
By either coincidence or calculation, each of the four wards created last year was host to one of the four incumbent council members – Glenn Duncan in the First District, Eunice Ulloa in the Second District, Earl Elrod in the Third District and Tom Haughey in the Fourth District. To further accommodate the incumbents, the city declared 2016 as the year in which the council members in the First District and the Fourth District would stand for election. It further so happened that Duncan and Haughey’s terms were up in 2016, meaning they were scheduled to stand for election again. They made a seamless transition back into office when, contrary to the intent of the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund of attracting candidates and particularly Hispanic candidates into the various races for city council, no one came forward to challenge Duncan and Haughey. They were automatically returned to the council.
Also in 2014, the incumbent mayor, Dennis Yates, did not seek reelection. Councilwoman Eunice Ulloa, a resident of the just-created Second District, ran to replace him. She was opposed by Brandon Villalpando. Ulloa prevailed in the mayoral election, capturing 16,683 votes or 68.08 percent to Villalpando’s 7,823 votes of 31.92 percent. Ulloa’s ascendancy to mayor created a vacancy on the council, since she was last elected as a councilwoman in 2014, so two more years yet remain on her term.
The council decided to appoint Ulloa’s replacement rather than hold an election. The council then sought applicants to the post. Despite the consideration that no one had come forward to challenge incumbents Duncan and Haughey in November, a little more than a month later 27 Chino residents applied for appointment to the panel. Those 27 included Villapando, Arthur Burgner, Dorothy Pineda, Toni Holle, David Sakurai, James Espinosa, Brandon Blanchard, Tyler Ferrari, Deb Baker, Mark Hargrove, Joseph Simpson, Christopher Ramos, Sylvia Orozco, Michael Lovelace, Gina Lee, Georgene Fix, Joseph Louis Diaz Jr., Loren Struiksma, Paul Rodriguez, Griffen Halko, Dr. Taylor Bladh, Steve Lewis, Marjorie Scane, Arlene Guzman Todd, Mary Ann Ruiz, Jody Moore and Gary George.
George was the first of the applicants to be interviewed, telling the council the city needs to reinvigorate itself with new businesses. He offered a somewhat contradictory promise of bringing in commercial and business development to Chino, even as, he said, he was committed to keeping Chino’s rural character intact. He said the impact development will have on traffic should be considered as part of the formula for project approval.
A retired Verizon telecommunications director and the head of that company’s regional office of government and external affairs, George is a resident of District 3 and was also a member on the Chaffey College Board of Trustees from 2000-2015. He is widely credited with having convinced his colleagues on that panel to locate a satellite Chaffey College campus to the City of Chino. George was defeated for reelection to the board in 2015.
George was previously a member of the Chino Cultural Arts Foundation, the Inland Valley News Advisory Board, was chairman of the Citizens Advisory Committee for the California Institute for Men and the California Institute for Women. He was a past president of both the Chino Valley Chamber and the Pomona Chamber of Commerce.
That he is a District 3 resident is of some political note. The position he holds – that corresponding to District Two councilman – will be up for election in 2018. Yet he is not eligible to run for that position. Nevertheless, he will have the opportunity to run for council that election cycle as the representative of District 3, which would set up a head to head contest between him and Elrod, should they both choose to run.
The council clearly considered George to be the most well-rounded and experienced candidate, and therefore most qualified. Whatever George’s qualities and attributes, humility is not among them. In accepting the appointment, George said, “I have already done a lot for the City of Chino. I want to do a lot more. In this position I think I can do that.”

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