His intent in running for a position on the Rancho Cucamonga City Council is to prevent the burgeoning city from losing its quaint character, Erick Jimenez said.
“I moved to the city when I was in elementary school,” Jimenez said. “And even though the orange groves and grapevines have been replaced by tract homes and shopping centers, it still maintains its small-town values. I know that’s true of my community in Alta Loma, where my daughter can still play outside, and neighbors look after each other. That’s why I’m running for city council, so that my daughter can grow up in the same safe and prosperous community I was raised in.”
Jimenez is vying against Floyd Clark, Mary Hannah, Lawrence Henderson, Ashley Stickler and Rose Stephens Olmsted to replace the late Sam Spagnolo as the city’s District 1 councilman and serve out the remainder of his term through 2024. Spagnolo died in May, leaving the council at four-fifths strength.
“I have been active in our community for over a decade now,” Jimenez said, “involved with different civic organization in the city. I understand how local government works and I’m ready to start working for our community on day one. We need to address the specific issues of District 1, such as development and fire protection in our foothills and lack of services in our parks, trails, and facilities.”
Jimenez said, “I’m the only candidate with school age children, and if you are a middle-class family like mine, you know how expensive childcare can be. Childcare can run thousands of dollars a month for families. Currently, the city does not have a single, city-financed daycare center. There is one from the county for lower income families, but nothing for middle-income families. I want to propose we use our parks, city facilities and recreational department to establish a city-run daycare center in every district of the city, for those folks that qualify in the middle-class category of $50,000 to $120,000 in household income per year.”
He said, “I believe one of the biggest issues facing the city is the lack of good paying jobs in the city. Just like the rest of the Inland Empire, we have built way too many warehouses. Warehouse jobs do not pay the salaries necessary to afford a home in our city. Our residents must commute hours into L.A, Orange County, or other places to find those good paying jobs.”
Consequently, Jimenez said, “We need to put a moratorium on building warehouses. We already have over 4,300 warehouses in our region alone. We need to support tech startups and other type of businesses that will pay those livable wages. We can attract those industries to our city if we create the right business climate for them.”
According to Jimenez, “We already have a lot of infrastructure; we have thousands of square footage in this massive warehouse in the southside of the city. We can change building codes so that those massive industrial buildings could be repurposed for other types of businesses, just like what they did with Haven City.”
Jimenez freely acknowledged having no experience in government previously, which he said might be perceived as a recommendation of his candidacy rather than a shortcoming.
“I don’t have much experience in government,” he said. “I have spent all my career in the private sector, as an employee, manager and now business owner.”
He is a three-decade-long resident of the city, Jimenez said.
“We first moved to Rancho Cucamonga in 1989, and except for a few years we lived in Upland, I have been here since. So, I have been here about 30 years altogether.”
A graduate of Upland High, Class of 1996, Jimenez attended Chaffey College and then transferred to the University of Redlands, where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in business management, “all while I was working full time as a FedEx driver,” he said. “I would deliver packages all day and then run to attend school at night or on the weekends. I’m currently in graduate school, working on my master’s in organizational leadership from the University of Redlands.”
Jimenez is an entrepreneur.
“I’m the owner of Jimenez Ground Inc, an independent service provider for FedEx,” he said. “My company services the city of Wildomar. I have seven drivers and eight trucks. Having my own business is great, it gives me a lot more flexibility, but it’s a lot of responsibility. The way I see it, my business must succeed because besides my family, the seven families of my team rely on this business to put food on their table.”
Jimenez said, “I have been with my lifelong partner San Juana Laurel for over 16 years. She is an amazing, strong woman. She is a registered nursed who worked through the pandemic, while keeping our family and our community safe. We have a daughter Frida, who is 9. She is smart, funny, and kind and still thinks her dad is cool…I think.”
Jimenez said, “There isn’t another candidate in the race who can bring a more complete background to the city council than me. I’m not a one-issue candidate. I want to make sure we address all the issues in District 1 and, along with the rest of the council, address all the issues of the city.”