Get to know your City Council candidate Mark E. Pulido a little more through Patch's Q&A session:
Name: Mark E. Pulido
- – graduated with honors
- University of California, Los Angeles – B.A. History and Asian American Studies
- University of Chicago – Master of Public Policy, Woodrow Wilson Fellowship
- Board Member,
- District Director, Office of Senator Alan Lowenthal, 27th District
Married? Yes, to my high school sweetheart, Gloria.
Children? Yes – two (daughter and son)
How long have you lived in Cerritos? 38 years.
What is your favorite book? Philip Vera Cruz: A Personal History of Filipino Immigrants and the Farmworkers Movement, Scharlin, Craig and Lilia Villanueva, UCLA, 1992.
What is something unique the public doesn’t know about you?
I worked my way through college – bagging groceries and collecting shopping carts at the old FEDCO (where is located today) and as an usher at the UA Theaters inside the Cerritos Mall back in the 1980s.
Why are you running for a spot on the on the city council?
I am running because I love Cerritos. I want to give back to my hometown of 38 years. My wife and I grew up here. We attended local ABC schools in the 1970s and 80s. Today, we are raising our daughter and son here. They are the reason why we care so much about the future of Cerritos. I am running for city council because I want to ensure that Cerritos continues to be a wonderful place to live, work and raise a family. I also believe in my heart that Cerritos can be even better.
What specifically qualifies you to represent Cerritos and its citizens?
I am a son of this great city – its neighborhoods, parks and schools. I share the history, the values and the hopes of its residents. I have served the past nine years on the ABC School Board working hard to keep our schools among the best in the nation. I have a proven record of fiscal responsibility with your tax dollars, while providing a world-class education to the children of this community. I believe my experience as an elected public servant combined with my personal experience as a life-long resident uniquely qualifies me to represent and serve the residents of Cerritos.
What can you do make sure that Cerritos maintains its title as “America’s Most Business Friendly City?”
I will work actively in partnership with local small businesses and the Cerritos Regional Chamber of Commerce to build upon the business friendly reputation of Cerritos. Often times it is the business owners themselves who have great ideas on how the city can make improvements and be more supportive of our business community. There needs to be an open line of communication between council members and business owners, much like residents should be able to pick up the phone or email their elected officials directly. This is what I mean when I say I want to bring new leadership to City Hall that is accessible, accountable and responsive. Not just be there for the ceremonial duties (i.e. ribbon-cuttings, handing out certificates), but also to provide the much needed constituent services (i.e. addressing concerns, finding solutions) that residents deserve.
Do you think Cerritos should participate in the Rose Parade next year?
I share the disappointment of many residents to not see a Cerritos float in this year’s Rose Parade. However, the City’s funding priorities should be on the safety and infrastructure of our neighborhoods. Yes, I would like to see Cerritos participate in the Rose Parade again. To help make that happen, I will work to support the establishment of a community non-profit organization named the “Cerritos Rose Float Association” to raise money for our float. Many cities, like Downey and Glendale, successfully utilize this approach to fund their Rose Parade entry. These community groups are independent associations, not government agencies. They raise funds for their floats through memberships, donations and special events. Not only does this approach make more financial sense, it also helps to build upon the community spirit once enjoyed by the hundreds of Cerritos volunteers in years past. For more information, please feel free to visit the websites of the Downey Rose Float Association (founded in 1952) and the Glendale Rose Float Association (founded in 1978).
What do you think are the city’s most pressing issues to date?
The most pressing issues are how will the city council preserve the quality of life for our residents during these challenging times AND develop a plan for the next phase for Cerritos. Much of the economic success we've had in Cerritos has been due to the work through our redevelopment agency. However, our redevelopment agency project areas are set to expire in a few years or sooner if the Governor’s recent proposal regarding redevelopment goes through. We must develop a strategic plan as a city to prepare for that next phase, to diversify our economic base, to reinvest in our existing infrastructure, and have a responsible fiscal plan. How do we continue to make Cerritos a wonderful place to live, work and play, for our young people, for our parents raising families, and for our seniors? This is a discussion that we must engage in together, involving the entire community.
Do you have any pledges or promises you would like to make to Cerritos residents if you are elected to the council?
I pledge to consider every issue that comes before the council with an open mind and most importantly to listen to your concerns, needs and hopes about our hometown. I want to be your voice at City Hall. I pledge to bring new leadership to the Cerritos City Council – one that is accessible, accountable and responsive to you. I believe you deserve nothing less.
What’s your opinion on cities balancing their books by issuing huge fines for infractions such as rolling stops, overnight parking, and failing to maintain proper “property aesthetics?”
I do not believe it is sound fiscal policy for cities to attempt to “balance the books” solely on revenue generated from fines, parking tickets and other punitive measures. I think this approach is shortsighted and could foster resentment among residents towards their city government. A more prudent approach would be to spend frugally on the basics, reinvesting in our city infrastructure, streets, sidewalks and city trees,while cutting wasteful spending in excessive administrative costs. Our city government exists to serve the residents, not the other way around.
In the aftermath of the Bell scandal, what’s your opinion on having a more “open government”—having all city contracts, all government employee salaries and meetings with lobbyist publicly posted online. What are you thoughts on this kind of transparency?
I believe our democracy must be transparent and accountable to the people. City council is a position of public trust. I think the ideas above are a good place to start this important discussion. We should explore these suggestions and others to help restore the public confidence lost by city governments in general due to the Bell scandal. Cerritos should be open, not resistant to these calls for openness and transparency.
Despite California's economic state and possible school budget cuts, where do you think the idea of Cerritos keeping a "park-like appearance" fits in terms of priority?
During these difficult economic times, it is time that we prioritize and get back to the basics of our city -- reinvesting in our basic infrastructure, such as our streets, sidewalks and city trees. I support public art and the “park-like” aesthetic they bring to our public spaces, however I often hear from residents that they feel city hall focuses too much on sculptures and fountains rather than spending time and resources on fixing the cracked sidewalk or untrimmed tree right in front of their home. That is why I want to put the focus back on our neighborhoods and address the immediate concerns of residents.
It seems like all cities have to cut costs in this time of recession. Where do you think these cuts should be made in terms of the Cerritos budget?
As an ABC School Board Member, I have a proven record of fiscal responsibility, asking the tough questions, making difficult but prudent cuts and balancing budgets for nine years. With strategic planning and maintaining healthy reserves, we’ve been able to do more with less and keep our schools among the best in the nation during these challenging times. If elected to the city council, I will bring this experience and know-how to the city budget process. I will work with my colleagues, ask the tough questions of city staff and seriously consider the input of residents. With that said, I believe we need to explore cutting wasteful spending in administrative costs such as auto allowances, dues and publications, travel out of the city, conference fees and expensive meals on the taxpayers’ dime.