Solons Now Considering Eight Of The Thirteen Who Sought Upland Council Berth

The Upland City Council this week sifted through the applications of fifteen residents who had offered to fill the one missing slot among its ranks and has now winnowed the field of those it will continue to consider to eight.
Those yet in the running for post are Lois Sicking Dieter, an air pollution specialist/engineer with the California Air Resources Board; Carlos Francisco Flores, a police sergeant with the City of Riverside; Neil Gerard, a 41-year resident and the retired associate dean of students at Pomona College; Eddie Limbaga, a 25-year resident and the owner of Agabmil Properties LLC and of Hybrid Hockey Industries; Shannan Maust, a consultant in the retail industry who formerly worked for Nordstrom; William Velto, a 58-year resident and branch manager broker for Tarbell Realtors in Upland who is a member of the planning commission; Ralph Cavallo is a retired Southern California Edison executive who has been active in youth sports and other community programs; and Glenn Bozar, a retired logistics manager with TE Connectivity and a former member of the city council from 2012 to 2016.
The need to select a council member to bring the panel to its full five-member strength comes as a consequence of last year’s first by-district election, which under the circumstances that apply, resulted in some political calculation by Janice Elliott, who was elected to the council at-large in 2016.
The division of the city into four voting districts creates a circumstance in which council members must now be elected according to their residency within each of those districts, which in Upland are enumerated as the First, Second, Third and Fourth, the city’s northwest, northeast, southwest and southeast quadrants, respectively. Last year, 2018, the posts in the Second, Third and Fourth districts were to be contested. In 2020, the First District and the mayoralty, which is yet to be elected at-large, will be at stake.
Elliott could have continued to serve in the at-large capacity she was elected to in 2016, but when that term expires, she would not be able to seek reelection to the council, because she is a resident of the Second District, and would thus have to wait until 2022 to vie again for the council. Thus, she chose to vie for the Second District position being contested in November. She was victorious. To assume the Second District post, she had to vacate the at-large seat she held. Rather than hold an election to fill for the two years remaining on the term of the position she resigned from, the city council last month opted to appoint a resident to fill the opening. Because it is an at-large position, there are no residency requirements beyond living within Upland’s city limits.
On Monday January 7, the council held a special meeting at 6 p.m to hear oral presentations from the applicants to fill the vacancy and discuss the appointment of a candidate the council collectively deemed qualified to hold the post.
The council heard from 13 of the 15 who applied, as two, Rod McAulliffe and Craig Harper withdrew their requests to be considered.
After hearing the presentations and the council undertook its discussion, Councilman Rudy Zuniga nominated Glenn Bozar and Councilwoman Janice Elliott seconded that motion. The vote to approve the former councilman deadlocked at 2-to-2, with Mayor Debbie Stone and Councilman Ricky Felix unwilling to support that appointment.
After some further discussion, it was resolved for the entirety of the council to make to make suggestions/nominations for further consideration at a future convocation of the council. At that point, Sicking-Dieter, Flores, Gerard, Limbaga, Maust, Velto and Cavallo were identified as having made a favorable impression on at least one of the council members, along with Bozar. City Attorney Jim Markman, however, opined that Bozar was out of any further contention for the spot, as he had already been nominated, seconded, voted upon and rejected. When both Zuniga and Elliott mentioned Bozar directly, Markman said Bozar would need to find a nomination from someone on the council other than those who had already nominated him – Elliott and Zuniga – to remain under consideration. With support for
Sicking-Dieter, Flores, Gerard, Limbaga, Maust, Velto and Cavallo having been expressed, the council then voted, unanimously to invite them back for a further round of discussion and consideration. It thus appeared the prospect that Bozar would reemerge as a council member had passed.
When David Wade, an Upland resident shouted from the gallery, ‘What about Glenn Bozar?” Felix at that point inquired about Bozar’s inclusion.
“What about Bozar?” Felix said. “He should be on there. He had two people.”
Markman, who bears some animus toward Bozar, said, “The motion to appoint him failed, so to put him back into the process, somebody who voted against that motion would have to bring a motion to include him in this motion.”
“Then we have to have a motion to put him back on the list to be fair,” said Felix.
“Wouldn’t be fair…” Markman offered, yet trying to keep Bozar from receiving any further consideration.
“Would be fair,” Felix restated in clarification, “to put him on the list for the interviews. I make a motion to reconsider that.”
Zuniga seconded that motion and the council then voted unanimously to include Bozar among those to be interviewed.
Those interviews are to take place Wednesday January 16, at 3:00 pm in the meeting chambers at Upland City Hall.
Lois Sicking Dieter, a former Upland Parks and Recreation commissioner Monday night told the council and the public she would serve “the homeless to the executives. The top three issues that motivate me to run are the intended sell-off of Memorial Park, disregarding the rights of the citizens and the State Constitution, continued disregard of citizens’ rights as evidenced by the Cabrillo Park attempted sell-off, and the previous city council deciding that the November election would consist of council member elections for districts 2, 3 and 4, Common sense would tell me that Janice Elliott, already elected to the city council and living in District 2, continue in her term at large for two years and have elections for districts 1, 3 and 4. That didn’t happen. In my view, common sense, transparency and the greater good were not considered in this decision. Cultivating patience being an active listener, leading through building consensus” she said were her strengths. Having formerly worked as a registered nurse Sicking Dieter said he had “experience in handling stressful situations with significant consequences. I am routinely required to de-escalate others from extremely stressful situations.”
She said she was determined to address the issues bedeviling Upland, including “developing parkland, lack of trust, fiscal integrity, civic engagement and communication, not following the rule of law and improving staff wages, and the lack of accountability between elected officials and the citizens they serve.”
Eddie Limbarga told the council that he was a bidder on the Wayne Gretzky Hockey Center when it was sold years ago. “Everyone is valuable in what they have to offer their community,” he said. “I feel that the city has made steps toward the positive and I would like to continue this direction in any way that I can. If I can offer my experience of business and philanthropy to make a positive experience in my community, I’ll feel fulfilled. I’m openminded and motivated to find success for our city. I’ve always been a team player and a great leader. With the council I’ll be a part of a team. By working together we can accomplish great achievements.”
He said he would put a priority on “attracting business to keep our tax revenue in the city.”
Carl Francisco Flores emphasized that he lives in District 1. “I urge you to consider a District 1 resident,” he said. “You now have the opportunity to show the residents of District 1 that you believe that the residents of each district should have fair representation.”
Flores said that his status as a 24 year police officer “would bring a law enforcement perspective to the council when dealing with issues of public safety. I feel a non-politician such as myself is the best choice for Upland. I will come into politics with no loyalties to any big business, no groups and no current politicians. Instead, I come with an eagerness to help revitalize the city of Upland and I believe we do that by concentrating on a few issues. By investing in our local businesses to help increase sales tax revenue, our second highest form of revenue. I believe we should be searching for innovative tactics to solicit our residents and residents from surrounding cities to shop in Upland Investing in local businesses is investing in or future. With homelessness being a nationwide epidemic, we need to work closely with our [police] chief to ensure his department has the necessary tools, manpower and innovative technology to combat the homeless that are affecting our community’s visibility.”
He stood for, Flores said, “investing in our government by living within our means and finding new ways to conduct business within a balanced budget. I would work with you as a team to find that balance without affecting the services that Upland residents deserve.”
Neil Gerard said, “I am independent. I will make up my own mind based on research, my communication with constituents and colleagues and I will work collaboratively.”
Gerard indicated he was less than impressed with those vying against him for the appointment, saying of their representations about themselves, “I was reminded of an interlocking directorate, with the same small group of individuals vying to control multiple organizations. If we are going to change this city and regain the trust of its citizens and its employees, we are going to need to break out of the old ways of thinking with new ideas and new people. I have experience in areas I think would be helpful to the city now. These include areas like financial management, conflict resolution, organizational development, and project management. I have successfully used these administrative skills in a variety of nonprofit and volunteer organizations including serving as the business manager at a major nonprofit at Cal Poly Pomona.”
Bill Velto told the council, “I understand serving as a councilman is a privilege and does not give me any more rights than any resident. I also understand I must be fair and honest in all my dealings with the city. I also understand at no time can I put the needs of any special interest group ahead of the best interests of residents and the city. I also understand I may be required to make decisions that are not favorable to some of the residents.”
Velto said he had lived in Upland for 58 years with the exception of four years of active duty in the Navy. He touted his business acumen, reminding the council he operates two businesses in the city with over 100 employees. A District 1 resident, he said, “In my capacity as a business owner, I engage in hiring, terminating and contracts and budgeting. I have not agreed with all of the decisions made by councils in the past and that is one of the reasons I applied for this position. The revolving door of managers creates instability and a lack of trust in the community. City council members must work together and maintain their individual identities and beliefs and not be swayed by special interests.”
Ralph Cavallo said, “The need to increase our revenue is our largest issue. We could increase our sales tax revenue through a creative program for downtown development. Our approach has to be a different way to doing things from the past. We need a multi-level approach.”
Cavallo said, “I have no political motive in applying for this position. I just truly believe my qualifications and experience would be helpful in moving forward positively the newly elected council over their next two learning years. I commit if appointed that I will not use the position as a launching pad for the office of city mayor in 2020.”
Shannan Maust told the council she had attended the citizens academy offered through the police department and that she had created a business watch program which she said was “similar to neighborhood watch that would focus on business property, property owners and property managers, knowing this could eliminate some tedious work on the part of the current chief and police officers while utilizing my business background. I was excited to commit. The program focused on environmental design and reduction of blight on the Foothill corridor and Mountain Avenue. The program would address many of the issues the residents expressed in City Hall, like homelessness, crime reporting, raising the level of attractions for enticing residents to shop local, attracting new businesses that were desired by residents and most importantly streamlining communication with the city and police department. The program showed good results from areas of the city and accomplished an updated ordinance on clothing donation boxes, addressing areas on properties where owners could improve, visibility to deter crime by adding lighting and addressing landscaping, making it safer for patrons’ shopping experience. Some lots adding security guards are teaming up with adjoining lots to improve the areas. Simple low cost additions by the city, refreshing some signs and painting red curbs show good-faith partnership with the city. Unfortunately, the program has been a slower pace, which followed with the breakdown of our police department and revolving door of leadership in our city. I was encouraged in the meantime to help with the ‘Say no to panhandling program,’ and did so to keep building relationships with our city’s building owners and property managers. I did not want to have a large gap of time between relationships that had been built, but did find many challenges on who to share the valuable information with that was shared by our businesses that could further instrument change with the property managers and owners. Part of the business watch concept is also supporting our business owners on social media, attending ribbon cuttings and grand openings.”
Glenn Bozar said, “I want to use my past council experience, my management experience working for a $10 billion global manufacturer and my master’s degree in business administration to help this city council to succeed in dealing with the myriad of issues that you will be confronted with, and I have an open mind to listen to all sides of the issues. The city is a $130 million nonprofit service provider business, and I have the needed experience to know how it operates. The most important issues I see are long-term financial stability, public safety, homelessness and water. The long-term financial stability of the city is essential in that it provides the needed police, public works and administrative services residents demand and rely on. Public safety, streets, trees and parks can be maintained or improved only through financial stability. I have participated in the approval of annual city budgets, and understand the details of revenues and expenditures. While on the city council, I approved with the other council members some of the suggestions of the Citizens Review Financial Task Force. I have also reviewed from the outside auditor the comprehensive annual financial reports to help me better understand the financials of the city. Public safety and homelessness are linked and many police calls are to deal with homelessness or transient issues. While on the council I supported in conjunction with the police department many of the actions taken to alleviate these issues. In 2014 [then-Police]Chief [Jeff] Mendenhall requested additional patrol officers and police technicians. As chairman of the finance committee, I worked with staff to fund these much-needed positions within the existing city budget. I believe the city needs to help those individuals who want help and find them the local or county services. Alcohol, drug addition and mental health issues are the predominant problems of the homeless and transients, I have learned in my experience working with Bridges to Homelessness Ministry at my church. I believe the city needs to continue to adopt the best practice to get those help who need it. The city is fortunate to own water rights and maintain its water department and owns a majority share in the San Antonio Water Company and the West End Company. I was a member of the board of directors of both. Providing water to our residents and commercial businesses is essential. This city must ensure it has adequate supplies and look for opportunities and possibly reactivate wells. Water capture and percolation are key components to ensuring water supplies.”
-Mark Gutglueck

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