The degree to which special interests have bankrolled longtime incumbent Ontario City Council members Alan Wapner and Jim Bowman has prompted Paul Mim Mack to challenge them in this year’s municipal election. Each of those incumbent councilmen have an amount approaching or exceeding $400,000 in their political campaign war chests.
“Primarily, I am running to bring attention to the staggering amount of money coming into the campaign coffers of Alan Wapner and others on the city council, and the corrosive and corrupting effect of that money,” Mim Mack said. “If you are ready for a change at City Hall and would you like to see power returned to the citizens of Ontario and away from big campaign donors, I am your candidate.”
Unhesitatingly, Mim Mack answered, “Corruption,” when asked what he considered the major issue facing the city. “Campaign cash leads to sweetheart deals for companies such as QVC, which received a 55-to-60 percent reduction in its city taxes for 30-to-40 years without requiring any real economic development or jobs. In fact, it appears the jobs promised have not come to fruition and those hired are mostly temporary workers making low wages with no benefits. If elected, I will work to enact reform measures, including campaign finance limits, holding elections by districts, adopting a conflict of interest code and increasing accountability of airport expenditures.”
Mim Mack elaborated. “Campaign contributions are presently allowed from virtually any source and in unlimited amounts,” he said. “Some campaigns raise $400,000-plus per election cycle – for a part time position with a monthly stipend of $1,800. We must restrict contributions to no more than $4,400 per source (and preferably lower), which matches those imposed on county supervisors.
“Presently, candidates must reach out to approximately 174,000 residents spread over almost 50 square miles, making the cost of running for office prohibitive to all but the very wealthy or those able to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars,” he continued. “We must reduce the cost of attaining office and return power to our neighborhoods. Citywide elections for council members has left parts of our city unattended and ignored.”
He said city officials are entangled in conflicts of interest in which the money they are making on the side results in them serving people with city contracts or those with applications for projects in the city, to the detriment of the city’s residents.
“Presently it is legal for council members to work as non-salaried consultants for companies that do business in and for the city,” Mim Mack said. “Council members can be paid unlimited sums of money with very little accountability to the public on the services they perform. This must end immediately. Council members must also be prohibited from voting on projects and contracts involving companies from which they have received contributions.”
With regard to the city’s major facility and the millions of dollars involved in running it, Mim Mack said, “It seems many of the promises made about the Ontario International Airport Authority have not been fulfilled, in particular reducing the cost of flying to and from our airport. Flying out of Ontario International Airport continues to be more expensive than traveling from Los Angeles International Airport and other competing airports. Furthermore, I will work to assure that all Ontario tax dollars spent on the airport are repaid in full, and that airport expenditures are not be made at the expense of city services.”
Mim Mack said, “Unless we enact measures such as these, nothing else can be meaningfully addressed; not serving our seniors, safe parks, public safety, roads, downtown, youth programs, nor schools. Ask yourself: how is it possible we own an arena worth 100 million dollars and don’t have a single skate park?“
He possesses the rudimentary qualifications to serve on the council, Mim Mack said.
“I am a reasonably intelligent, college educated, ethical, and responsible person committed to ethical and transparent government,” he said.
He is distinguished from his opponents in the race, Mim Mack said, in that “I support campaign finance limits, elections by district, and a conflict of interest code. My opponents do not believe in any of that.” He called for “a conflict of interest code that bars the mayor and council members working as non-salaried consultants for entities located in the city or with business before the city council, and bars voting on projects related to donors. Most of these measures can be adopted by ordinance at very little cost.”
He has experience that prepares him for the post of councilman, Mim Mack said.
“I am a student of government, have worked as a mayoral assistant, interned in Washington, D.C. for a congressman, and have previously run twice for the Ontario City Council,” he said. “I have been employed by the State of California for 13 years.”
In total, Mim Mack has lived in Ontario for 24 years. He attended St. George Parochial School from 1982 until 1991. He attended UCLA, where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1999.
He is employed as an associate right of way agent with the California Department of Transportation.
Mim Mack said he was itching to appear at a candidates’ forum, but that he doubted the incumbents wanted to subject themselves and their records in office to that kind of scrutiny.
“As of today’s date, neither Alan Wapner nor Jim Bowman have committed to a candidate debate,” Mim Mack said yesterday, Thursday August 30.