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Q&A Profile: Cerritos City Council Candidate Gerad Valencia

Gerad Valencia, candidate for the March 5 City Council election, explains his solutions for the struggling profit growth at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts.

Get to know your City Council candidate Gerad Valencia a little more through Patch's Q&A session:

General Information About Gerad Valencia

Name: Gerad Valencia
Age: 32
Married? Children? Married with two children
How long have you lived in Cerritos? Since 2009

Education

College: University of Southern California
Degree: Education

  • I have also attended courses at Mt. Sierra College in Business and Economics 

Employment Information

Job titles held: Assistant manager and shop manager
Employers: Target and a family owned upholstery shop

  • In addition I have had multiple part time jobs to support myself through college. These jobs include student officer, tutor, sales floor team member, and warehouse worker.

Political Information

Party affiliation: None
Running for: Cerritos City Council
Incumbent (yes/no): No
Previous elective offices: None
Unsuccessful bids for elective offices: None 

Election URLs

Website: www.GeradValencia.org
Twitter: @GeradValencia

Extra Tid Bits About Gerard Valencia

What is something unique the public doesn’t know about you?

  • I am a hands on type of person. I don't mind breaking a sweat or getting my hands dirty. I always like learning new things. I like websites like Instructables.com and Youtube because you can gain knowledge in an nontraditional way. 

What, if any, significant endorsements or shows of support have you received during your campaign?

  • I haven't gone after endorsements or campaign contributions because I want to change the way we chose our politicians. The only promises I want to keep are to the voters, not someone who is paying for a campaign. I want people to be chosen on their actual character not the perceived character. 

10 Questions for Gerad Valencia

Why are you running for a spot on the on the city council?

  • I care about the longevity of Cerritos. I have two young children and Cerritos is the place I want to raise them. I also think our country would be  much better off if regular people ran the government like they run their lives. I live in the real world and excessive spending has consequences. I believe there is too much waste and life long politicians lose touch of those that they represent. I hope I can  inspire more like minded people to run for local offices.

What specifically qualifies you to represent Cerritos and its citizens?

  • I have business and management skills. I have worked in the private sector and understand profits and losses. Government should be run effectively to get the maximum use of revenues without taking away programs and services from the residents. I have learned to put myself in the other person's shoes. I'm the perfect candidate because I am someone who is willing to ask the tough questions and seek a variety of answers.

What will you do to help draw more business and additional revenue sources to the city?

  • I'd like to propose the Live in Cerritos buy in Cerritos Rebate program. It would be one $1000 rebate per household for spending $1000 or more with 25 or more different Cerritos businesses. It would promote more spending within our community which leads to more revenue for the City. It would have traceable results since the residents have to send in the original receipts. With this information we can actually see which business benefit  from the program and if its worth perusing it again in the future. 

What do you think are the city’s most pressing issues to date?

  • A balanced budget is the most important issue for me. You can't run a city successfully without a balanced budget. I don't believe in raising taxes I would rather cut out inefficiencies.

Do you have any pledges or promises you would like to make to Cerritos residents if you are elected to the council?

  • I would promise to be transparent. I maintain my own website, Twitter account, and if elected I would create a Facebook account solely for information that relates to me and the city. However, I will keep my personal life at a minimum on these sites.
  • It's inevitable that I will take trips that relate to actual city business. I will promise to put travel receipts on my website within 7 days of returning from travel. I can prove that I will travel on a budget as I do now in my personal life. The only times you'll ever see a 5 star hotel receipt from me is if 2, 3, or 4 star hotels have been sold out.  I'm not a fan of fine dining either. Some of the best meals I have ever had in my life have come from food trucks.

It seems like all cities have been forced to make cuts due to the recession and elimination of redevelopment funds. Where do you think these cuts should be made in the Cerritos budget?

  • The Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts is losing a significant amount of money. Its operation as a whole accounts for 8.7% of the city's overall budget. That is a significant amount of money that can go to other resources such as paving our streets, trimming our trees, and fixing our sidewalks. That money could also remove the hiring freeze from other city positions that provide essential city services. I understand that it is a touchy subject but I want to include the community on what we should do with it.

What can be done to get the city out of the red when it comes to operating losses at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts?

  • I honestly believe that the CCPA cannot run properly without bringing in big revenue. By design it's max capacity seating 1,800 people. How can we compete with other surrounding Los Angeles and Orange County venues that have up to ten times that capacity? I have three proposed solutions that I would want the city to consider together. 
  1. Keep the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts only for official City use and discontinue offering theater use after the 2013 season. Each entity that uses it has to pay actual wear/tear, improvement, and usage charges that cannot be discounted.
  2. Sell the CCPA and put the money into a low risk investment. Use the interest income for subsequent years.
  3. Lease the CCPA to an independent live performance company that is known for making profit. As a contingency of the lease they must make improvements and expansion so that it can compete with neighboring performance venues. Another contingency would be that the City of Cerritos can use the new complex a predetermined number of times per year at a fixed price for city sponsored events -- I like this option the most as we still get to use out of the CCPA without the risk of continually losing money but we'll still get city event use out of it.

When it comes to public safety, the Cerritos Sheriff’s Station often struggles to get the message out to members of the community because of language barrier challenges. What suggestions would you offer to help rectify this problem?

  • When ever you have a community with such a diverse population you will equally have children that are as diverse. A linguistic fact is that the first and second generations of children will not have the same language barriers as their parents because of assimilation. In fact they will know two or three languages and be able to translate. I would get high school students to volunteer and help translate at the sheriff's station. They would gain life skills such as interacting with the public and working in a team setting. Not to mention they'll have excellent references for college.

You have two votes, assuming one of those votes will be for yourself, who will your second vote go to on the March 5 Cerritos Municipal Election?

  •  I haven't decided yet. I'll vote for the candidate that will best serve the city. I will be reviewing the forum videos to get a better understanding of each candidate. If your readers haven't had the chance to meet the candidates in person they can view the AAUW public forum directly from my website.

Why are you the person the people should vote for on March 5?

  • I already have an open line of communication with the community. I have personally met with the people who are willing to sit down and talk to me. I have already proven that I'm willing to bring up their issues. As I mentioned before I maintain my own website and have proven to be transparent with city issues. I have the courage to point out inefficiency. I understand that the city council exists to serve you and not the other way around. 
Local Person March 01, 2013 at 11:31 PM
The more I read and hear about Mr. Valencia, the more I like him. Although I feel there are two stronger candidates in this election that I will be voting for, I hope Gerad sticks around and runs for Council again if he is not successful. He is a solid minor league prospect, and one I could vote for in the future.
Ralph Dave Westfall July 05, 2013 at 06:17 PM
See Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/CerritosLosesMoney for more information on the financial losses at the Performing Art Center. It lost over $60 million between July 2003 and June 2011.

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