Felix Cites Family, Work Ethic, Friendship & Service Hallmarks As His Council Term Begins

When he was called upon to be sworn into office at Monday night’s Upland City Council meeting, newly elected Upland District Three Councilman Ricardo “Ricky” Felix sallied forth with a retinue of four others – his wife Kelsie and his three daughters, aged six, four and two. As his wife held the two-year-old with one arm and the microphone for her husband in her opposite hand, the four-year-old and the six-year-old stood between their father and Jim Thomas, a congregant at the Upland temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints which Felix and his family also attend. With Thomas guiding him through the oath of office, Felix, his right hand raised and his left hand resting on the Book of Mormon, vowed to abide by the U.S. and California Constitutions in carrying out his municipal duties over the next four years.
Felix OathAt that moment, the gathered multitude in Upland City Hall seemed more fixated on the four women in his life than they were on Felix, who took it in stride.
“Family is incredibly important to me,” said Felix. “It is the most important thing. As the father of daughters – there is always a special place in a father’s heart for his daughters – and as a father of a young family, I want to make sure they are safe all the time. I want sidewalks without bumps so they can safely ride their bikes. I want every school in the city to offer the same great education as each of the other schools. I want to give my children the upbringing every parent wants for their family. I believe in family values. But family isn’t just blood. I have close friends who have become my family as well. Friends are family.”
He added, “I want us to become more of a family as a community. I want family values and I want community values.”
The 37-year-old Felix has lived in Upland for eight years. He said his segue into politics was a natural outgrowth of his approach to life.
“I initially became interested in politics in the 2000 Election, which was first time I was eligible to vote,” he said. “That was the George Bush, Al Gore and Ralph Nader contest. From that point on, I guess, I have always been intrigued with the political process. I am always looking into things. I believe it is better to try to fix things than complain about them and that is probably why I got into city politics.”
Felix said, “I think the most important thing we can do as a city council is become trustworthy. Infrastructure is important as well, but will take time. Right now, first, I think we need to become trustworthy so people can rely on us and know we have a listening ear. During my campaign, I made very few promises. The only things I promised is that I would do my best and I’ll care. I stand by that promise: I’ll care and try my best.”
Last month’s election was a historical first for the City of Gracious Living, the first time since its incorporation 112 years ago that the city has elected its council members by district. Previously, Upland held at-large elections where the only requirement for office was that one live within the 15.66-square mile city limits. This year, three-fourths of the city’s residents voted to fill the city’s second, third and fourth district council positions. Under the new system, each district must be directly represented only by a resident living within it and only district residents are eligible to vote for their council member. Felix is a Third District resident. The Third District roughly encompasses the city’s southwest quadrant.
Felix says he is prepared to advocate for his constituents’ interests. Compared with the rest of Upland, Felix said there is a need for “a lot more repair in the southwest corner of the city.”
Still, Felix said, “I don’t want to dwell on the differences, because all of the quadrants, southwest, southeast, northeast and northwest, are all the same city. None of us are outside the city. I am of the Third District, the southwest quadrant, but I represent the City of Upland. I think it is important that we recognize the differences and different needs of the districts but I think segregating everyone by district would be wrong. It shouldn’t matter where you live if you are still a resident of Upland.”
The world of politics, or at least Upland politics, has just opened up for Felix, and he said he is looking forward to digging in.
“Obviously, there are things I would like to accomplish, and I think as a council working together we will take those things step by step. The first step is having the residents know we are devoted to them and that we are sincere in trying to do what is best for Upland.”
He said he believes he and his council colleagues need to be realistic about what they can and cannot do, and should create priorities which match the city’s capabilities.
“We don’t have a goose that lays golden eggs,” he said. “We can’t print money to do all these great things. I’ve sat just one time on the council, although I’ve been around City Hall and attending council meetings pretty regularly for two years. I think I need to see where the city’s money is coming from, how much we have, what it is being allocated. I think I need to know and the rest of the council needs to know where we are financially so we can assess what it is that we can do.”
Perhaps the best indication of who he is is where he comes from and those who have shaped his personality.
He grew up in Glendora and went to High School there. More important was the influence of his parents, Felix said.
“My dad was born in Mexico and came to the United States in the 1970s,” Felix said. “He is retired now. He was an electrician and a railroader. He worked for the Union Pacific Railroad. My dad taught me about working and the importance of having a work ethic. He taught me to get up in the morning and to go accomplish, and if you can do more, then you should do more than just what is expected of you. He taught me that you should create multiple streams of income so you can look forward to retiring comfortably. I can tell you that some of my fondest memories of when I was a kid are of my dad taking me on Saturdays to downtown Los Angeles where he was doing electrical work. He took me with him not just so he could teach me how to do electrical work, but so that I could see what work was and that was how you earned money. He was teaching me that money wasn’t important just because you could spend it but he wanted me to see where it comes from and to have respect for it.”
Felix continued, “My mom was hardworking like my father. She was born in Texas and raised in Mexico. My grandfather, her father, was a fruit picker. She had worked hard early in my parents’ marriage, and as she progressed in life and she got older she decided it was time to quit working and take care of her family as a stay-at-home mom. That was when I was eight years old. I was the youngest of three. She sacrificed and devoted herself to raising us kids because she felt that was more important. When we were older and I was in high school, she went to college and got a four-year degree in human resources at Cal Poly. My parents taught us how important it was to get an education. They instilled in us a work ethic. They taught us how to sacrifice.”
Without doing so directly, Felix suggested, his parents nudged him in the direction of being an elected civic leader. “Service has been in my blood since I was a little boy,” he said. “My dad taught me that it is an honor and a privilege to be able to serve people and not expect anything in return. That is something dear to my heart. I enjoy helping people succeed. If people have a dream and can clearly express that dream, I want to figure out a way to help them make that dream come to life.”
Felix is employed as a Title 24 construction standards inspector specializing in heating, ventilation and air conditioning [HVAC] systems. “I do HVAC inspections, making sure HVAC systems are up to California standard,” he said. “I think the best way to describe me is I am an energy efficiency inspector.”
He has no pretensions, Felix said.
“I am just a regular person who wants to do what we are on this earth to do, whatever that is,” he said. “I am very Christ-oriented. I try to do what the Christian thing to do is. With all of my decisions and what I will be voting on, I will be thinking about that long and hard, about what the best way to proceed would be and the best thing that should be done. I will ponder very hard about what is best for the city and making the city into a good place to live.”
He has no illusions about how he made it into office, Felix said, indicating his successful candidacy was as much the outcome of the efforts of others who had boosted him into position as the fruit of his own ambition and drive.
“I want people to know I didn’t do this alone,” he said. “My wife was always there. My daughters sacrificed time with their dad so I could campaign and go to city council and planning commission meetings. My campaign manager sacrificed time with her husband and her kids. My campaign was run by a community of people who believed in me and believed that I truly want the best for Upland.”
Mark Gutglueck

Leave a Reply