Editor's Note: This letter to the community was submitted to Patch by Angelic Molina, wife of Cerritos City Council candidate Gerad Valenica.
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My name is Angelica Molina, I have lived in Cerritos since 2009. I have two degrees from the University of Southern California; a bachelor of science degree in kinesiology and a doctorate of physical therapy degree. Since graduating from USC Physical Therapy school in 2005, I have worked mainly with persons recovering from stroke and other neurological diseases, and with the geriatric population. I am the wife of .
I'm not going to list people or groups that agree with my husband's message. He has already made it clear that as city council member, his aim is to represent the voice of Cerritos residents not special interest groups. I'm going to present you with more information, of a personal nature, about this candidate so that you will make an informed choice.
Gerad and I met during our first year at the University of Southern California in 1998. When we met, he admired the passion I have for helping others and has supported my efforts every step of the way. We married in 2005 and started our family. We have been blessed with 2 children; Nathan, 5years old, and Jasmine, 14 months old. Together, Gerad and I chose Cerritos as the place to raise our family.
Everyone is familiar with Gandhi’s words of wisdom: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” These words resonate through our thoughts and our actions. As a young couple, we see the challenges our generation faces in raising children today. Things aren't the same as they were when we were younger; they aren't harder or easier they are just different. We see the issues facing our nations youth and take pride in making sure that our children don't fall victim to the negative trends seen across the nation. We have always believed that the “change we wish to see” starts at home; starts with us as parents shaping the children of our future and generations to come. Over the last few months, Gerad has taken this to heart and lifted our family to a different level. We see the issues that neighboring communities are facing and negative trends that are ensuing. Gerad has the courage needed to take action today and prevent our community, Cerritos, from following perverse paths similar to other communities. Be the change. Not only is this practiced in our daily actions, our home, our family life; Gerad is reaching out and setting a good example. The greatest leaders lead by example.
Initially, when he told people he was running or city council member, they advised him to start with involvement in our local community groups, the school board, city commissions, etc. Like in many of his thoughts and actions displayed during the campaign, he challenges the preconceived notion that it has to be done a certain way because that's the way it has always been done. He has held his ground and has run a noteworthy campaign from the start. When one starts to build a home, one doesn't wait around watching things happen before getting involved; you invest your time and effort right from the start so that you shape your home the way you envision it to be in the future. That's what he believes about city government. We are a young family that calls Cerritos home and Gerad is taking action early to ensure a better future for our home.
Gerad enjoys absorbing history and politics. The recent presidential election had him excited gathering as much information as possible on both candidates. Our dinner conversations were quite interesting as he would point out biases from different TV stations, radio stations, and newspapers. He would gather information from both sides, point out that different stations left out different pieces of information in order to paint a different picture. He doesn't think its a bad thing; he supports that it's their right to do so. Freedom of speech and freedom of the press are things he would never want to take away. He's educated and knows that in order for him to make the best decision, he must hear different viewpoints, gather his information from various reliable sources, and make an education decision based on how things relate to his personal values.
Gerad takes action to fix things that are within his immediate circle of influence. Last year (before he decided to run for city council member) during one of our frequent visits to Heritage Park, we were disheartened to see vandalism. A few trees were covered with toilet paper. As all other people walked by, shaking their heads, my husband walked over and started pulling the toilet paper off the trees. Our son followed. Gerad picked Nathan up to reach pieces that were beyond his stretch. Together, they were able to clean it up within a few minutes. My husband and I teach our kids to take pride in their home, the city of Cerritos. An action so simple, can speak volumes as to who one is. As I look at candidates running for city council, one thought that has crossed my mind is: would any of the other candidates be willing to take immediate action in that situation or would they stand there looking at the problem (any problem, simple or complex), then start a group to discuss the problem that is in front of them, then make calls to see which division of city labor can come remedy the situation. There are inefficiencies all around us, he hasn't been afraid to point that out. Not letting the underlying problem go, he talks to neighbors and encourages them to be aware of the surroundings and help prevent future occurrences.
Feedback from residents has been positive and encouraging. When I over hear residents speaking to Gerad or when he reads emails from concerned residents to me, I burst with excitement at the momentum that an increasing number of people get his message and, similarly, want positive change. “...I want to vote for you, but I promised (another candidate/s) my vote...” or “...I already voted through absentee ballot, but I sent my neighbors an email in support of you...”
As a person that values loyalty and commitment, I understand how your “promise to vote for a certain candidate” weighs heavily on the decision you will make March 5, 2013. But you have two votes. You can vote once according to promise, and I encourage you to use the other vote to “be the change you wish to see in the world.”
Find out more information about Gerad at www.GeradValencia.org.
Angelica Molina, PT, DPT, GCS, CEEAA