Candidate Profile: Rolando Cano, Mayoral Candidate

Candidate Profile: Rolando Cano, Mayoral Candidate

Why are you running for Whittier City Council in 2020?

Our City has a big fight ahead against drugs and gangs that feed our homeless problem and put our schools and neighborhoods in danger, and this must become our top priority. We have had two high school kids, a homeless woman and others that have overdosed and still our City does nothing meaningful to take action against this specific problem, no designation of funds. We need to take action throughout our City and work together with our unincorporated communities to make Whittier successful in all aspects of our lives, we must be the gatekeepers in our City. I propose a plan that includes an Uptown WPD Bike Patrol covering the Uptown Business section, working alongside the current Uptown security guards, to create better outcomes in this Business District. I propose we implement 3 community Response Centers. one at Parnell Park, one at Central Park, and one at Palm Park, providing a closer link to residents and quicker response times, protecting our parks and trails. I want to make Whittier Boise Compliant by using our old secure Police Station to help those in our community that are homeless and remove all encampments from our City, legally and humanely because it matters.

What are your qualifications for serving on the Whittier City Council?

My name is Rolando Cano and have been a Whittier resident and homeowner for 27 years. I am an Aerospace Engineer for over 18 years, a Security Director for 12 years, and a Special Needs Advocate for the last six years. I currently serve as Chairman for the WCS District Bond Oversight Committee and have served in other committees within WCSD. I have been working with groups in La Mirada, Pico Rivera, City of Industry, Montebello, Alhambra, Los Angeles, and Beverly Hills for the past five years working on a solution for our homeless issues we face in Whittier, and the size of our City has everything to do with the success of becoming Boise Compliant. These Cities are moving towards a working plan and through insight, conversations, experts, and learned outcomes of programs implemented in these cities, we have a great opportunity to create a very possible solution for our homeless resistant and encampments.

What budget priorities will you promote for the City of Whittier as a member of City Council?

1. Invest in our communities through after school and meal programs at our parks and participating School Districts all year round.

2. implement three community Response Centers, one at Parnell Park, one at Central Park, and one at Palm Park, providing a closer link to residents and quicker response times, protecting our parks and trails.

3. make Whittier Boise Compliant by using our old secure Police Station to help those in our community that are homeless and remove all encampments from our City, legally and humanely because it matters.

4. Impose a Vacancy Tax to owners of Empty Commercial Buildings, like the empty gas station on Hadley St and Comstock, and empty commercial lots.

5. invest in our communities and businesses that have not received their fair share.

6. Work on reopening school that are currently closed to reduce overcrowding and create programs that close the graduation gap with an emphasis on Special Needs and Low-Income Students.

7. An apprenticeship program that works in conjunction with City employees to add more volunteers to the workforce and train future employees. We double our workforce and prepare adults for new opportunities as mentors to the community.

As a member of City Council, how will you increase meaningful participation in City governance by residents?

I will work hard to rebuild bipartisanship at City Hall so that the voice of the public can be heard loud and clear. It is my strong belief that the public should be allowed to speak for up to five minutes instead of reducing Public Comments from three minutes to two or one minute.

We need to dedicate meetings based on priority and or public demand and have our elected Council Members give District reports, which currently does not happen, to listen to the needs and priorities of each District. Then and only then should we move forward as elected officials to address priorities and public demand.

Each individual member of our City is important, and we need to allow the public to speak and participate without discussion or discouraging remarks.

One of the biggest changes I would like to see from our City would be to create a program that recognizes members of our communities, students, mothers, fathers, business owners, and employees, for the wonderful things they do on a daily basis that shape our communities. That’s how we build up our communities.

As a member of City Council, how will you address the dual crisis in housing and homelessness?

The City has been addressing the homeless crisis over the past six years. Creating a homeless plan with no accountability, implementing a nighttime curfew at two parks, negotiating with First Day for additional beds. This plan did not work, is not currently working, and will not work five years from now. I propose we use our old Police Station to create a City run emergency shelter to become Boise Compliant, a plan that works and allows us to remove all encampments. With the housing crisis, we need to work with and encourage our communities to build granny flats as a source of income for them and affordable housing for low income families. It’s worked before and it will work again. This is the first step in a two-year plan.

As a member of City Council, how will you facilitate the creation of a strong local economy?

Continue the economic development marketing & outreach that is part of the City plan with additional services to ensure higher foot traffic in our commercial districts. There is nothing worse for a business than missed opportunities.

Current strategies have resulted in 400 new businesses coming to Whittier over the past four years, that is 100 news businesses every year, but how many businesses have we lost in this same timeline? My plan includes a free bus service or trolley that connects our neighborhoods to our commercial districts and Parks to increase foot traffic at our businesses and reduces the number of vehicles on our roads. The City of Commerce is perfect example of this type of system that will connect our communities directly to our businesses. This not only reduces traffic; it increases sales and strengthens communities by saving people money.

How can the City of Whittier make the most impact on reducing its carbon footprint?

An immediate way of reducing our carbon footprint would be to remove the active oil wells in our hills and close the loophole that ensures we do not drill in our hills, these hills were purchased with public funding and should remain for public use and conservation not profit and misleading the public. I will ensure that I represent Whittier on the Puente Hills Habitat Preservation Authority to achieve this.

I want to have smart streetlights in commercial districts, parks and our trails, that automatically dim when nobody is around. LED streetlights that save energy costs compared to regular streetlights, though the up-front cost is more expensive. Of course, having streetlights that automatically switch themselves off when the street is empty further reduces costs, CO2 emissions, and provides a safety component, the ability to know if someone is up ahead on the trail.

In a commercial district, during after hours, a Police Officer would be able to see at a distance if someone was walking or loitering after hours and investigate, but the best part would be a reduced impact on our wildlife due to light pollution.

As a member of City Council, how will you help low-income, underserved, and at-risk residents gain access to the support and services they need to survive and thrive?

My priority is to make Whittier‘s historically underserved neighborhoods receive historic levels of public investment. I will lay the foundation for a better Whittier by investing in our communities that haven’t received their fair share for decades and create incentives and assistance for those that are in need. My focus will be after school programs that support our youth, special needs, and those in need, Meal programs for all children year round and tutoring, all free of charge in a partnership with nonprofits and school district services.

We have a current system of services but to many programs have been cut, it’s time to evolve and provide much needed services in our neighborhoods, parks, and schools.

I will push for a City run job training site with job seeking capabilities and a mentoring program for adults, special needs adults, and those who would volunteer to train and teach. This is my two-year plan to reinvent the wheel and move us forward together.

What else do voters need to know about how your tenure on City Council will benefit Whittier?

My goals are based on community and its needs in each individual District. The Mayoral role is to listen to District Reports given by the elected District Council Members and the community through Public Comments, I will push for five minutes for Public Comments not three or two, and then and only then, make a decision as to what needs are priority and what the timelines would be to accomplish set goals as a form of transparency, this currently does not happen. My priority is to make Whittier‘s historically underserved neighborhoods receive historic levels of public investment. I will lay the foundation for a better Whittier by investing in our communities that haven’t received their fair share for decades and create incentives and assistance for those that are in need.

My focus will be after school programs that support our youth, special needs, and those in need, Meal programs for all children year round and tutoring, all free of charge in a partnership with nonprofits and school district services.

We have a current system of services but to many programs have been cut, it’s time to evolve and provide much needed services in our neighborhoods, parks, and schools.

I will push for a City run job training site with job seeking capabilities and a mentoring program for adults, special needs adults, and those who would volunteer to train and teach. This is my two-year plan to reinvent the wheel and move us forward together.

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