Among Chino Valley’s Establishment The Wages Of Dissent Proves Out To Be Ostracism

Counter-reaction to resistance has shown itself to be contagious in the Chino Valley in the last fortnight, with two commissioners in the area’s two cities each being forced off the citizen participation panels they had been appointed to.
The most recent to descend from his municipality’s dais is Greg Marquez, whose exit from the Chino Community Services, Parks and Recreation Commission on November 2 followed by little more than a week Bob Goodwin’s booting from the Chino Hills Planning Commission.
Marquez’s hold on the vaunted position he has held has been eroding for some time, whereas Goodwin’s fall from grace was more sudden and accelerated.
Marquez was appointed to the Chino Community Services Commission in 2019. During his first three years in that capacity, he garnered something of a reputation for speaking his mind and offering a perspective that was appreciated by some and less popular with others. Marquez’s term had ended on June 30, 2022 a replacement for him had not been appointed, and his time on the commission had been temporarily extended.
One of the ways in which Marquez had garnered attention during his time on the commission was to suggest that with so many residents in 96,276-population Chino interested in civic participation, the city might want to take a look at limiting the number of terms an appointee to the city’s commissions could serve and perhaps consider term limits for the mayor and members of the city council, as well. While some found merit in the idea, others, particularly some members of city commissions who had been around for a while, took a different view.
Marquez declared his intention of running for the city council in the November 2022 election. In July, when he filed candidacy papers with the city clerk to vie in Chino’s District 2 race, one of Marquez’s Community Services Commission colleagues, Brenda Strong, questioned whether Marquez’s position on the commission conferred upon him an advantage in running for office in the city. Thereupon, a subcommittee of the commission, which included Linda Takeuchi, Neal Jerry, and Strong, was tasked with considering if allowing Marquez to maintain his status as a commissioner compromised either the integrity of the commission or the electoral process in Chino. Ultimately, the trio felt it would be best for Marquez’s post to be declared vacant and the city to seek applicants to replace him. Marquez remained in place on the panel past the June 30, 2022 expiration of his term, but Mayor Eunice Ulloa had not appointed a replacement, and Takeuchi, Jerry and Strong acquiesced in allowing him to remain on the commission until his replacement was found.
The incumbent in the District 2 council post was Walt Pocock, who had been appointed by the city council in May 2021 to complete the term to which Councilman Mark Hargrove was elected in 2018 following Hargrove’s death. To remain on the council, Pocock needed to vie for election in November 2022. He opted out of running however, and Marquez, consequently, found himself vying against Sylvia Orozco and Curtis Burton for the District 2 berth.
As the election season was getting into full gear, Chino residents interested in replacing Marquez on the Community Services Commission were invited to fill out applications by August 19. The commission, which consists of Takeuchi, Jerry, Strong, Marquez, Robert Martinez, Jamie Harwood and Julissa Montenegro-Olivas, were called upon on September 26 to consider the applicants, which included Michelle Ballantyne, Charleen King, Richard Montijo, Jamie Aviles, Armida Garcia, Cecil Howell, David Matza, Stepheno Padilla, and Marquez, who reapplied.
With Takeuchi absent and Marquez not participating in the discussion, the commission considered a recommendation by a selection committee, consisting of Martinez, Harwood and Montenegro-Olivas, that Marquez be reappointed. On September 26, the commission voted 4-to-1, with Jerry, Martinez, Harwood and Montenegro-Olivas prevailing and Strong opposed to make a non-binding recommendation that Marquez be kept in place.
The council confirmed his reappointment, and Marquez thus headed into the November 2022 election as a member of the commission, even with Strong indicating her concern that Marquez was exploiting his position on the commission to boost his council electoral chances.
In the November 8 election, Burton captured the District 2 post with 2,955 of the 6,079 total votes cast, or 48.61 percent, to Orozco’s 1,632 votes or 26.85 percent and Marquez’s third-place showing, with 1,492 votes or 24.54 percent.
Marquez remained animated about the city’s appointment and reappointment process for commissions and committees.
In 1990, when the methodology for appointing the commission members was settled upon, the members of the city council were elected at large as was the mayor. At present, the mayor is still elected at large, but the four council members now represent a single district and are themselves residents of one district. Each district comprises one fourth of the city.
The way the appointments to the seven-member Public Services Commission are currently made involves six being designated by the mayor and the seventh being selected by the members of the commission, with confirmation by the city council.
In May, Marquez said the selection process should be changed so that each council member makes a selection of someone from his or her district, with the mayor getting two appointments of residents living anywhere in the city.
In August, Marquez publicly restated his conviction that the city’s commissioners should not be indulged in monoplization of the limited number of positions in which residents can engage in the advisory and decision-making processes relating to civic issues for a decade or more, on that occasion making pointed reference to “ridiculously long terms.” He called for insuing the positions with new blood, new people and “new ideas.”
In the two months since then, west across the city limits in Chino Hills, Bob Goodwin, who is revered as a demigod by legions of residents of that city because of the yeoman’s work he did in convincing the California Public Utilities Commission to force the de-erection of 18 197-foot high high tension electrical towers in Chino Hills, was ignominiously bounced from the planning commission in that city.
Goodwin, with his grassroots effort involving a group he had formed called “Hope for the Hill” took on Southern California Edison, which in 2009 had obtained clearance in a 3-to-2 vote of the California Public Utilities Commission to place the above-ground electrical line within its 150-foot wide right-of-way running the entire 5.8 miles across Chino Hills from Tonner Canyon to the Riverside County line. There were long odds against the effort. Electrical lines run through communities throughout the state and no such previous effort to underground them had ever succeeded. When the City of Chino Hills sought to challenge the placement of the towers, West Valley Superior Court Judge Keith D. Davis ruled the California Public Utilities Commission had exclusive jurisdiction regarding the route used by Edison. Davis’s ruling was upheld when Chino Hills appealed it to the 4th District Court of Appeal.
By 2011, Edison was pressing ahead with the project and had erected 18 of the towers in the city when Goodwin and his cohorts pressed a last-ditch appeal to the California Public Utilities Commission, let at that point by its chairman, Michael Peevey, who prior to his time on the PUC was a senior executive and eventual president of Edison International and Southern California Edison Company.
A temporary halt to the towers’ construction was granted in November 2011 while a potential undergrounding alternative was explored. Meanwhile, after extensive exchanges of information and hearings, the California Public Utilities Commission’s board of directors in July 2013, voted 3-2, with Peevey and commissioners Mark Ferron and Catherine Sandoval prevailing, to reverse its 2009 decision and directed Southern California Edison to underground all of the towers in Chino Hills.
Shortly thereafter, Goodwin was appointed to the Chino Hills Public Works Commission, an honorific that had been extended twice thereafter.
In July, the Chino Hills City Council – consisting of Ray Marquez, Cynthia Moran, Art Bennett, Brian Johsz and Peter Rogers – considered and approved a $55,000 proposal to have the company Architectural Design & Signs create a so-called mayors’ wall that would display framed photographs and remembrances of the city’s mayors going back to its 1991 founding. The council considered the idea to be a routine one, such that it was not scheduled to be voted upon as a separate item but was placed on the city council’s consent calendar, which is reserved for what are deemed noncontroversial issues. Ray Marquez, who is no blood relation to Greg Marquez, objected to the concept and had it pulled from the consent calendar so he could cast a vote against. The creation of the wall was thus approved on a 4-to-1 vots.
Goodwin was critical of the idea and the outlay of money for what he deemed to be a show of egotism by the city’s politicians, what he characterized as gratuitous self-aggrandizement. Over the last several months, other voices around the community were heard echoing Goodwin’s opposition. On October 10, with the mayor’s wall not having yet been completed, the city council revisited the issue, with the project no longer being presented as the “mayors’ wall” but rather as a “History and Leadership Display.” During the public comment portion of the meeting, Goodwin spoke in opposition to the project, as did another resident, Greg Fresonke. Another resident, Jim Gallagher, suggested that the wall in the City Hall lobby where the project is to be completed be dedicated to all members of the city council rather than just the mayor.
The item was again pulled from the consent calendar for discussion. Both Bennett and Moran decried the lack of civility of those criticizing the project. Some sensitivity on the part of the council was expressed with regard to the cost of the project, and the matter was tabled, i.e., put on hold, pending efforts to find some alternate form of funding to pay for it other than through the city’s budget.
Two weeks later, at the city’s October 24 meeting, an item appeard on the agenda entitled “Consideration and possible action to remove Bob Goodwin from position a public works commissioner.”
At that meeting, the council voted 4-to-1, with Ray Marquez dissenting, to remove Goodwin.
It was against that backdrop, with a clear display that the wages of dissent in the Chino Valley is ostracism from the establishment, in an atmosphere in which Greg Marquez found himself being pressured to remove himself from the Community Services Commission. Chino city officials saw how how their counterparts in Chino Hills were able to insist that those allowed into the City Hall tent are required to be team players who are deferential to those in leadership roles. A point made by members of the Chino Hills City Council was that it was poor form for Goodwin, a city insider, to have publicly belittled Chino Hills’ city fathers. If he could not keep his thoughts and criticisms to himself, they suggested, he should have quietly buttonholed the members of the council to convey his feelings rather than washing such linen in public, they said.
Greg Marquez, whose accomplishments on behalf of Chino do not rise to the level of what Goodwin did for Chino Hills a decade ago, had let his ego run away with him, some Chino officials aver. He was being pressured to get off the panel he was privileged to be appointed to. If he did not accede to that pressure, he would very like have been removed. Next week, the city council is slated to consider eliminating the Community Services Commission’s at-large seat, supplanting it with another position on the panel to be appointed by the mayor.
Marquez got the message.
He penned a resignation letter, submitted to the city yesterday, in which he stated,
“I hereby resign immediately from the Community Services, Parks & Recreation Commission. It is obvious that the commission no longer recognizes its purpose to involve the public in the delivery of community services. I am determined I can be a better advocate for the residents of this city as a private citizen.”

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