Hamilton In RC 1st District Council Race

Jon Hamilton says he is the best candidate in the race to represent District 1 on the Rancho Cucamonga City Council because of both his long-term familiarity with the district and city as well as his immersion in municipal and public agency operations.
“I have called Rancho Cucamonga, and more specifically Alta Loma, my home since 1978. I attended elementary school, junior high school and high school in Alta Loma,” Hamilton said. “I bought my first house in Rancho Cucamonga, southeast of the Baseline/Carnelian intersection. My parents still live in the home I grew up in, and my son attends/attended the same schools as I did. In fact, my son and I both had the same kindergarten teacher at Jasper Elementary, Mrs. Lee, and he is now a junior at Alta Loma High School. I participated in the Founder’s Day Parade when it used to go down Baseline, and I earned my Eagle Scout Badge from a Boy Scout Troop that met out of Alta Loma Elementary School. My father was the scoutmaster. I have watched the city change and grow over the last 40 plus years.”
Rancho Cucamonga some four years ago resolved to move to district elections, and held its first district elections in Districts 2 and 3 in 2018, which resulted in political newcomers Kristine Scott and Ryan Hutchison respectively acceding to the council, displacing two of the city’s longtime politicians, Bill Alexander and Diane Williams, who opted not to return to the council.
Hamilton is now vying against incumbent councilman Sam Spagnolo and another candidate, Mark Rush, in what is the first election cycle in the city’s newly established District 1. While Spagnolo currently holds an at-large council post and California Elections Code section 13107 spells out that no one can claim incumbency for the newly-created District 1 position, the common perception is that Spagnolo is the incumbent seeking to stave off two challengers.
Hamilton insisted, “No one should suggest he should be ‘reelected,’” in reference to Spagnolo. “To do so would be dishonest and unethical. This is an open seat.”
Hamilton said, “The city has developed rapidly. In some cases, that development has improved the city and, in other cases, has gone against its character and identity. For example, the city authorized high-density housing at the northeast corner of Foothill/Hermosa, which sadly departs from the Route 66 charm the city at one time embraced. While this is not in District 1, it is a matter of time before the city begins to allow such intrusions in District 1, not to mention State Senator [Scott] Wiener bringing a housing bill forward that will remove the ability of local government to control density and allow developers to up-zone single family parcels to build multi-unit housing. District 1 is in need of some attention and beautification. The parks need new equipment, the playgrounds need resurfacing, and the ball fields and soccer fields need updated lighting and facilities. The city claims that this is the result of residents not wishing to increase the amount they pay for the parks. Measure A failed miserably with 77 percent voting ‘no.’”
Hamilton pointed out that in literature put out by the city, Rancho Cucamonga officials attributed reductions in park maintenance efforts to rising maintenance costs and property tax rates in the city that have remained static since 1993. “Clearly, this is a veiled way of saying ‘until you agree to raise your taxes, the city will not put any money into your parks,’” Hamilton said. Hamilton said he finds the city taking that position to be unacceptable. “The city is responsible for the parks, streets, lighting, maintenance, etc.,” he said.
“Most of the city’s accomplishments over the past two decades should be appreciated and honored because the city has come a long way, as appears to be captured by the recent ‘All American City’ award bestowed by the National Civic League,” Hamilton said. “This award is about civic engagement, which the city highlighted with its Los Amigos Park in the southwest quadrant in District 2, the community engagement over the Etiwanda Heights Annexation in District 4, and HealthyRC’s approach to mental health. Sadly, however, there was not a mention regarding engagement with the Alta Loma, Red Hill or District 1 Cucamonga communities.”
It is time to look forward, Hamilton said.
“An election is not about what has been done; instead, it is about the future, and there comes a time when the older generation must pass the proverbial baton to the younger generation, as Bill Alexander and Diane Williams did just two years ago,” Hamilton said. “This is the perfect time for a transition from a tenured at-large council member to a new district-elected council member. This district is my home and the people who live in it are my family. It is time they have their voice heard by the city council, and that someone fights for them.”
Hamilton said, “I believe that my connection to the community, my education, and my experience make me the ideal candidate to take the baton for the next generation and to lead the city toward continued great accomplishments. First, I am the only candidate that grew up in the district. I have watched my friends grow up from children to adults. I have seen them have children and struggle raising their families. I have watched my friends’ parents grow old and retire. I have a connection with all age groups in this district: my kids and their friends, my friends and their parents, and my parents and their friends.
“Second, I am the only candidate with school-aged children and experiencing the struggles that families have today raising families,” Hamilton continued. “In fact and it should be noted, no one on the city council currently is raising a young family. Mayor [Dennis] Michael, Council Member Spagnolo, and Council Member [Lynne] Kennedy have already raised their children, and both Councilwoman Scott and Councilman Hutchison do not have children. There is no one on this council to represent working families. Perhaps this is a reason why the parks, ball fields, and outdoor recreation areas have fallen down the list of priorities.”
Hamilton said, “Third, my parents are still living in the home they bought in 1978 and where I grew up. The same is true of so many of my friends’ parents. I understand the unique struggles that our seniors go through in our district. I am compassionate about making sure they are honored and cared for. As their representative, I will make sure that our seniors’ voices and concerns are heard.
“Fourth,” Hamilton went on, “I have been involved in serving the public in some capacity or another my entire life. This is something I started when I was in Cub Scouts and later in the Boy Scouts. My brother and I planted the trees at the south end of Red Hill Park in the 1990 time frame for an Eagle Scout project. After graduating from Alta Loma High School, I attended The Citadel – the Military College of South Carolina, where I learned how to be a faithful servant and a humble leader. After graduating from The Citadel, I attended law school and, while in law school, I joined the Marine Corps. Between my second and third year of law school, I spent the summer at Officer Candidate School in Quantico, Virginia to become a commissioned officer. After law school, I served in the USMC and was eventually stationed at Camp Pendleton. I served a combat tour in Iraq with the First Marine Division as a logistics officer as part of the invasion force in 2003. I left the USMC as a captain in 2004 and for the next decade worked as an attorney representing police officers against allegations of unreasonable use of force and deadly force. I then worked for the State of California’s Office of the Inspector General as a special assistant inspector general, wherein I would audit and monitor certain prison activities to ensure they were in compliance with federal and state law as well as departmental regulations. In 2017, I began work at the City of Montclair as its director of administrative services & human resources. I am intimately involved and familiar with how municipal government works, its possibilities when it works for the people, its limitations, and its functions. I have forged relationships with governmental officials from around the region as a result.”
Hamilton said, “I believe my education has also prepared me. I enjoy listening to everyone’s story, concerns and solutions. While the nation may be politically divided, I want to help forge ways forward in the city to improve the quality of life, improve property values, and encourage a greater sense of community. Simply put, I love the people of District 1 and I truly believe I am best qualified to represent their interests and concerns.”
Stating, “I offer a different generational perspective to solving the city’s issues,” Hamilton pointed out, “I am 45, while candidate Spagnolo is 79 and candidate Rush is 69. While both of my opponents are veterans like me, I am the only one to have served in combat, as a USMC captain during Operation Iraqi Freedom. I am the only candidate with a post-graduate education. I possess three post-graduate degrees: a law degree, a Master of Public Administration, and Master of Business Administration. I am the only candidate with actual executive management experience involved in the day-to-day management details of a city.”
He said that “One of the biggest issues facing Rancho Cucamonga is what is facing almost every city: public employee unfunded pension liability costs. While managing these costs during ordinary times has proven to be challenging, it will be compounded with the loss of revenue the city will experience as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the possibility of economic recession caused by the loss of jobs and unemployment. The city must meet its obligations, but the loss of revenue will certainly impact many programs that may have to operate on severely reduced funding or be eliminated altogether. While it is hopeful that the impacts of this pandemic are not deep and long, they are going to be felt. It is for this reason that there must be a reevaluation of the city’s spending to determine that it is truly meeting the priorities of the community. However, the city must live within its means, address those issues most important to the people who call Rancho Cucamonga their home, and not ‘fix’ obligations or spending decisions by implementing any form of additional taxation that will directly impact the residents of this city, such as a pension bond measure, an increase in the transaction and use tax, an increase in utility users fees, special parcel tax increases, etc.”
In explaining his policy orientation, Hamilton said, “Development must be intelligently designed and planned for the community to ensure that historical neighborhoods retain their charm and character, while high-density housing is planned in such a way to keep any congestion/parking issues geographically isolated to their location. With property crimes occurring, there may need to be an increased policing presence to make would-be opportunistic thieves look at District 1 as a hard target and not a place of criminal opportunity. There has also been a marked increase in homelessness in District 1, something that I never saw previously. Safety, standard of living, and community integrity must be supported.”
Those issues can be addressed or redressed, Hamilton said, by “re-prioritization. There must be a fresh look at the city’s priorities to determine if they are correctly aligned with the community’s interests. Has the city continued to prioritize certain items year-after-year that should now fall down the list to make way for new priorities? For example, the city has the responsibility to pay for its parks, streets, lighting, and landscaping, and it successfully shifted these costs through the establishment of special districts, involving Mello-Roos assessments during the construction phase of newer developments post-incorporation. Attempting to create special taxing districts on older communities to cover what is the city’s general fund responsibility is unfair to the residents of District 1 who formed the financial backbone to the City of Rancho Cucmamonga when it was first incorporated. Every item of spending and every program must be analyzed and prioritized pursuant to the desires of the community through actual engagement with the entire city.”
Defraying the cost of meeting the city’s evolving challenges can be done by judicious rerouting of available money within the city’s general fund and other operational, utility and enterprise accounts, Hamilton said.
“With re-prioritization comes an analysis of the budget to cut low priority programs or to reduce money to areas already saturated with money,” he said. “There must a transparency in an effort to determine where the money is spent and we need to then provide time for residents to engage the city to establish those priorities. Special interests should never be high on the list of priorities without the consent of the people and with full disclosure.”
His prior and current experience with or relating to government consists of his time in the United States Marine Corps, his work for a private law firm representing police officers who were sued in the course and scope of their duties for such allegations as wrongful death, unlawful seizure, unlawful search and false arrest, his legal representation of cities in preparing and litigating administrative disciplinary cases against officers and public employees, his interaction while in that capacity with city managers and police chiefs, his stint as a special assistant inspector general for the State of California’s Office of the Inspector General overseeing, monitoring, and auditing prison officials to ensure compliance with federal and state law as well as departmental regulations, and his present position as the director of administrative services and human resources for the City of Montclair, he said. That experience uniquely qualifies him for the city council, Hamilton asserted. He is also a board member for the California Insurance Pool Authority.
He is a 1993 graduate of Alta Loma High School, where he was an honors student and on the wrestling team. He obtained a bachelor of arts degree in German Literature from The Citadel in 1996, his law degree from Whittier Law School in 2000, his Master of Public Administration, from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona in 2015 and his Master of Business Administration from California State University, San Bernardino in 2020.
Hamilton and his wife, Adriane, who is a family nurse practitioner and an intensive care unit nurse at San Antonio Regional Hospital, together have seven children, three of his from a former marriage, including a son, 15, and two daughters, 10 and 8, and Adriane’s four children: a son, 12, and three daughters, 17, 15, and 9.
“I love District 1 and all the people living in it,” Hamilton said.

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