Enrique Estrada said “I’m running for the Redlands City Council because I’m a merit-based candidate who has the government and management experience necessary to effectively serve our residents, balance the budget, and enhance our quality of life.” As importantly, Estrada said, “I have the public safety experience to understand the issues facing our city.”
Qualifying him to serve on the council, Estrada said, is “my 23 years of government experience. I’m serving my third term as chairman on the Redlands Traffic Commission. I’ve served in many capacities at the civic and management level, including the disaster council, with our Redlands schools as a member of the Local Control and Accountability Plan Advisory Committee and the bond oversight citizens committee. I have donated my time as a cardio-pulmonary resuscitation instructor where 100 percent of the funds go towards the school’s PTA fund. My qualifications began with a college internship with the City of Pasadena. I’m a Marine veteran and have served my previous city as a sworn non-paid auxiliary firefighter, traffic commissioner, planning commissioner, and member of an adhoc committee to review city contracts for compliance and oversight.”
Estrada is vying for the city’s District 3 council position. This year, Redlands is returning to holding district elections, more than two decades after the city implemented council wards and then abandoned them to return to at-large elections during the 1990s. He is standing for election against Paul Barich, who is an incumbent councilman previously elected at-large, along with Joe Richardson and Mike Saifie.
He stands apart from his rivals, Estrada said, by virtue of “my diverse work experience and 23 years of management in government and public education. I’ve earned the ‘hands on’ public safety experience as a firefighter and operations supervisor for an ambulance provider in the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area. This is important because I have first responder experience helping the homeless and mental health patients by administering emergency medical care. I have management experience working in education and city government. That includes management experience at USC in the Division of Business Affairs and now with a local community college district. I’m bilingual, served on boards, commissions, and gained the management experience in government to accomplish the expectations, objectives, and goal of serving others.”
The major challenges currently facing the city, Estrada said, are “crime, the growing homeless problem, balancing the budget, maintaining infrastructure (especially our water systems), and growth as it relates to housing and public safety.”
He said these problems “can be remedied by operating a fiscally sound budget, maintaining staffing levels in public safety, and collaborating with regional and state agencies in helping the homeless. Through a coordinated effort, we need to help the homeless get back on their feet and into housing, not sustain them on the street. In regards to infrastructure, the council approved increases to our utilities statements to sustain, improve, and enhance our water systems. As a city council, we need to assure those funds are effectively utilized. More Americans are shopping online, and brick and mortar stores are taking a financial hit, with some big box stores facing bankruptcy, thus hurting the revenue our city takes in. So, one of my goals is to attract additional auto dealerships and businesses that can enhance our sales tax revenue and sustain our city long term.”
Estrada said, “We’re already paying for the existing services through our general fund as cataloged in the city budget and fees associated with City Hall. Additional revenues exist, although defined, in state and federal funding through grants and matching funds. So as a city governmental entity, we need to actively seek and apply for that funding stream. Our city will continue to receive additional property taxes as the city continues to grow with new home construction in East Redlands. As a city government, though, we need to be customer friendly in accommodating new business and relax the ‘funding mechanisms’ known as fees, surcharges, and higher operating costs. We need to attract new business altogether and have an effective strategic action plan to address our city services consistently.”
He has sufficient familiarity with government operations to hit the ground running once he assumes office, Estrada said. “My government experience started in 1990 as a college intern with the City of Pasadena, Department of Public Works,” Estrada said. “Since then I’ve had the opportunity to serve on city, and community, boards and commissions since 1994. As important, serving as an auxiliary firefighter with a city government in the San Gabriel Valley gave me the first-hand knowledge and experience working in a public safety environment.”
Estrada has lived in Redlands since 2010. “We sold our home in the San Gabriel Valley and are proud active homeowners here in Redlands,” he said.
Having grown up in unincorporated East Los Angeles and completed his K-to-12 education attending Los Angeles Unified School District schools, Estrada graduated from Pasadena College, California State University Los Angeles, and Rio Hondo College with the fire academy Class 36. He also holds a management program certificate from USC. He is employed as an operations manager with the Desert Community College District in Palm Desert.
Married, with three children, Estrada said, “We’ve been blessed and just celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary.”
Estrada said, “If elected, I pledge to donate 100 percent of my salary for student scholarships and heart machines for our schools. The scholarships will be in the name of Carlos Aparicio, a Redlands East Valley High School graduate who enlisted in the Army and was killed while serving our county in Afghanistan. He was 19 years old. In the words of our great president Ronald Reagan, “I know in my heart that man is good, that what is right will eventually triumph, and there is purpose and worth to each and every life. I’m not a career politician, but a family man who wants to do the best for his family and community. My life motto continues to be “Family-Service-Country.”