Voters Can Test Sicking Dieter’s Mayoral Fitness On Basis Of Her Issue Advocacy, She Tells Upland

Her candidacy for mayor presents no mystery, challenge or guesswork to Upland’s voters, Lois Sicking Dieter said, since she has given repeated demonstrations of what she stands for by the causes she has taken up and championed over the years.
“As an Upland resident and citizen I have testified before the city council dozens of times, advocating for policies that are based in fiscal responsibility and furthering public safety,” she said. “I opposed the sale of the Little League baseball diamond at Memorial Park. I called for the planning commission to consist of a commissioner from each district as appointed by the council member elected by that district’s voters. I promoted smart business growth policies that are environmentally responsible with robust revenue streams. I oppose on a consistent basis projects with negligible long-term revenue streams for Upland. I advocated for the city council to conduct interviews for a new city attorney after the November 3 election. I advocated for the Friends of Upland Animal Shelters’ 5-year contract to provide adoption services for Upland. I lobbied for a social worker on staff at the Upland Police Department to provide homeless services. By looking at my record on what I have requested and demanded of our current and past leaders at City Hall, every voter will be able to see exactly what I stand for and know whether he or she would want me as mayor. I think if people make a comparison of me with my opponents, I will win this election.”
Sicking Dieter said, “I am running for mayor as the next step in using my leadership skills and abilities in continuing to advocate for the residents of Upland. My background provides for new perspectives into enhancing Upland’s quality of life and improving property values. I provide fresh approaches that are not connected to past abuses. My past experience makes me uniquely qualified to be the next mayor of Upland and give back to a city that has provided my family so much.”
She said that “My education and background serving Upland as an exponent of quality of life measures to protect everyone in the city uniquely qualifies me to work effectively on behalf of Upland residents. I believe all Upland residents deserve governance based in public safety, fiscal responsibility, transparency, adequate parkland, and a stop to cronyism.”
Continuing, she said, “I am distinguished from the other candidates by my more than 22 years of developing regulatory policy in my professional capacity as an employee with the State of California. My professional duties extend to urban planning, achieving and maintaining environmental compliance, ethics, and conflict negotiation between differing public opinion groups. A major component of my skill set is the expertise I derived through obtaining my master’s degree in environmental studies and then using that knowledge in a professional context.”
Sicking Dieter said, “I was the first candidate to propose that the planning commission consist of a commissioner from each district as appointed by the council member elected by that district. I will offer new leadership and direction for Upland as the next mayor. I will speak up and talk truth to power. I was in opposition and advocated against the Bridge Point warehouse/distribution center, based upon the Bridge Point project’s lack of an environmental impact report and its mitigated negative declaration that did not include the 1,100 parking spaces reserved for delivery vans that will certainly be used, a legal error of nondisclosure that misled the public. Also, I strenuously objected to the project being mislabeled. It is not a warehouse but a distribution center, with air pollution, water pollution, noise levels and traffic nightmares guaranteed to occur given the current plan that has been approved and strongly supported by two of my opponents.”
Sicking Dieter cataloged the major issues facing the city as “public safety and the need to increase resources, Upland’s $122 million share of the California Public Employees Retirement System unfunded pension obligation, and City Hall’s established culture of side-stepping the rule-of-law.”
Dealing with the city’s pension debt should not be left up to city employees who are the beneficiaries of the pension system, Sicking Dieter said. “A plan needs to be developed to address the city’s unfunded pension liability with the participation of Upland residents in a public workshop where collaboratively a plan is developed, not a public workshop where city staff have already developed the plan without input or input of a few supportive residents. The current workshops are not collaborative and lack transparency. The $122 million gap in the city’s share of the California Public Employees Retirement System pension funding is an outgrowth of action taken by Upland’s current and past mayors and city council, which includes two of the mayoral candidates. Potential approaches to address closing that gap, in my view, should include requiring new and current employees to contribute the maximum employee contribution toward retirement benefits allowed by California law. We need to call on the residents who are credentialed financial officers to lead public sessions on developing such an unfunded pension reduction plan.”
She said far greater focus by both city residents, elected officials and city staff should be given to the city’s land use decisions, which have a direct impact on the city’s quality of life issues. “Projects such as the Bridgepoint warehouse/distribution center, the sale of Memorial Park acreage to San Antonio Hospital, and the 15th Street Flood Basin Villa Serena Project must undergo proper review for compliance with the Upland Municipal Code, the Upland General Plan, and applicable California state laws,” she said. “Many Upland residents and credentialed professionals have testified in years past and more recently that the city is not adhering to its own land use and zoning laws and regulations when decisions are rendered by both the city council and the planning commission with regard to project proposals. The requests for corrections to irregularities and compliance to existing city standard made by city residents, including ones directly impacted by these projects as well as others who have impeccable credentials with regard to planning and environmental regulations, have been disregarded, ignored or have gone unheard by the past and current mayor and city councils. As such, the City of Upland is facing over 55 lawsuits. We need a city attorney of integrity who will provide accurate advice on how to become compliant with the laws, not work to provide ways to get around the laws.”
Further, Sicking Dieter said, “The first step to stopping cronyism is for the setting of each department’s spending allotments for the next year’s budget to be open and transparent to the public.”
In the dispute between the city’s police chief and Mayor Debbie Stone, Sicking Dieter said she clearly came down on the police chief’s side of the divide.
“I strongly support Chief Darren Goodman, as I have testified so a number of times before the city council,” she said. “Disciplining the chief of police for something he did not do was a major disaster and should have never occurred because Chief Goodman is doing an excellent job. This occurred under the current mayor’s leadership. I am more supportive of the police department and will walk the walk, not just talk.”
In addressing how she proposes the city is to pay for the solutions she is suggesting, Sicking Dieter said, “Compliance with the laws will decrease the number and length of future lawsuits, saving the City of Upland money, staff time and resources, which can be better spent as an increase to Chief Goodman’s departmental budget and on priorities with other departments. Increasing transparency will engender public trust, possibly decreasing the number of lawsuits, which cost money, staff time and attorney fees, which could be better spent on providing more service to our residents. In addition, we will be interviewing for a city attorney, potentially with new skills and abilities to provide sound legal advice. Once a pension gap closure plan is implemented and we have demonstrated that we are reducing excess and unnecessary spending, it then may be appropriate to ask that Upland residents to consider a tax increase.”
One of her strengths, Sicking Dieter said, is her substantial experience within government.
“I have over 22 years’ experience developing regulatory policy,” she said. “I am currently employed at the California Environmental Protection Agency, a state government agency, where I have developed regulatory language for air quality policies for the California Air Resources Board for the past 12 years. I am assigned to review and evaluate multi-national diesel and gasoline vehicle manufacturers’ standards and am involved on a day-to-day basis in air pollution control product development, emissions laboratory practices, quality assurance, and vehicle recalls. My previous job was as a United States Department of Agriculture-Forest Service Washington, D.C. office staff member, a position I occupied for over 14 years, where I served as an advisor in strategic planning to effectively incorporate best practices for wildland firefighter safety and equipment use. As an engineering project team leader, I was responsible for performing long term planning, allocating resources, and implementing and monitoring project plans. In my tenure, I proposed, was funded for and brought online a firefighter biomechanics laboratory, based on a five-year project plan with a proposed budget of $2.5 million. I developed a cost analysis matrix for the United States Forest Service laboratory values analysis team.”
Closer to home, Sicking Dieter said, “I was the chairwoman of the City of Upland Parks and Recreation Committee during Mayor Robert Nolan’s administration in the 1990s. Under the Upland General Plan, our team facilitated public hearings developing master plans for San Antonio Park, McCarthy Park and revised the master plans for the other 11 city parks.”
She has lived in Upland 31 years. “I first came to Upland in 1989 and lived in an apartment in District 4 for ten years, then bought a home in District 1 over 21 years ago,” she said. “We have recently remodeled our home and plan to retire here.”
Sicking Dieter was a recipient of the President George H. Bush “Point of Light” award for volunteer activities on the Los Angeles Disaster and Response Team following the Loma Prieta Earthquake.
“I am 31-year union dues-paying member and a past union local president of a chapter of the National Federation of Federal Employees,” Sicking Dieter noted. “In that role, as union president with the local National Federation of Federal Employees bargaining unit, I negotiated with management for a revised employee handbook. I also led the National Federation of Federal Employees election at the local level to become affiliated with the AFL-CIO and IAM unions.”
She has been a Toastmaster member for 24 years, having honed her public speaking skills in that organization. She is an active member in two Toastmaster clubs, is a conference presenter and trainer at both district and regional levels and mentor to district officers and club members. She was Toastmasters District 12 governor in 2004 and 2005, overseeing 1,500 members in San Bernardino and Riverside counties. She has also served as a Toastmasters district treasurer/finance manager, overseeing the presentation, implementation and monitoring of the district budget.
Born and raised a Catholic, she is now a congregant at Grace Lutheran Church, where she was the chairwoman of that church’s strategic planning committee.
Sicking Dieter attended and graduated from Muenster Public High School in Muenster Texas, a community where her great-grandparents were among the founders, having emigrated there from Muenster, Germany.
Sicking Dieter obtained an associate’s degree in applied science from Grayson College in 1979, which provided her with registered nurse licensing in California. She subsequently obtained a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from Texas A&M University in 1987. She attained an environmental compliance certificate in 2003, followed by her master’s degree in environmental studies in 2006, both from California State University, Fullerton.
She is married to Ralph Olaf Dieter, a professor of economics at East Los Angeles College. “My stepson attended Upland High School and stepdaughter works as a forensic scientist,” she said.
“My core values of integrity, dedication to excellence, servant leadership, and respect for every individual are guiding lights in my life,” she said. “I am a wife, stepmother, church member, employee, friend, and proud to be a resident of Upland. If I am elected the next mayor of Upland, my education and background will enable me to advocate effectively on behalf of all city residents, with whom I believe we can build a better bridge to the future.”

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