Ernie Cisneros, a lifetime resident of Colton, was appointed by the City Council last September to fill the vacant District 2 seat.
IECN sat down with Cisneros to hear about his ambitions and goals for the residents of his neighborhood.
1. What motivated you to seek the District 2 Council seat after it was vacated by Summer Zamora Jorrin?
I was initially asked by former Councilwoman Jorrin and other residents to interview for the vacant seat. Having spent the last three years as the District 2 representative to the Utilities Commission, they thought I would be a strong voice on the Council for District 2. After going through the interview process, I felt strongly that I could work with the other council members to continue the great team effort that is taking place on behalf on the residents of Colton. I want to be of service to my community, so that motivates me every day to listen and learn and do what I can to assist my neighbors in District 2 and throughout Colton.
2. How do you intend to improve the quality of life for the people of the city?
Over the last four months I have had the opportunity to walk my District and talk to residents about everyday issues such as traffic calming measures, tree trimming, regular garbage pickup, street lights and sidewalk repairs. If we can be a city that is responsive to these basic issues, residents will feel heard and valued. In turn, I believe it will instill more civic pride and trust in their local government. On a larger scale, economic indicators point to steady improvements, optimism about the future and a real sense that recovery is happening. The City’s last full fiscal year (2016-2017) was very positive and business friendly. We saw the completion of Smart & Final Extra, Mor for Less Furniture Store and Waba Grill, to name a few. On the horizon we see the continuation of the developments in the Hub City Centre Project with Wildrose Village housing construction, a new Woodsprings Hotel, ARMC expanding their financial operations (with over 150 employees), 68 acres of mixed-retail development (which could include a Starbucks, Habit Grill and Boston Market), 850 new residential units in Roque Ranch and a Walmart distribution center as examples. I’m also personally excited about the proposed Downtown renovations and the recently presented Active Transportation Plan. These projects are forward looking and plan for a vibrant and sustainable future for Colton. And, obviously, with the economic growth comes enhanced revenues for the city, especially sales and property taxes.
3. Are there any issues that you’re looking to address?
I would like us to continue on the positive path laid out before us. Fiscal responsibility via an annual balanced budget and keeping our residents safe by continuing to support our own Police and Fire Departments. I have heard, by way of our Chamber of Commerce, that Colton continues to have a great reputation among business leaders for being a safe place to live and work. Our Police Department, under the great leadership of Chief Owens, continues to exceed expectations and does an amazing job at partnering with the community to educate us on issues affecting our daily lives. I’m excited to participate in the upcoming Colton Police Citizen’s Academy and would encourage other residents to join me. In regard to our Fire Department, recently I had the honor of attending a badge pinning ceremony. It was a wonderful event led by Chief McHargue who provided words of encouragement and inspiration to his newly hired and promoted team members. The event, attended by family and friends of the newly pinned, was a great reminder that Colton is a special place to work as a fire fighter and we have much to be proud of for our CFD team.
4. In your short time on the Council, what are some things you’ve learned from your colleagues?
Our Mayor has been a great role model. He has a real heart for the City of Colton and works tirelessly to be attentive to resident and business concerns. He is a consensus builder and listens to each of our comments and opinions. He doesn’t throw his weight around, nor does he discount or dismiss the opinions of others. He is very generous with his time and has provided me opportunities to meet with our Congress Member Pete Aguilar, State Assembly Member Eloise Gomez Reyes, State Senator Connie Leyva as well as County Supervisors Josie Gonzales and James Ramos, in order to further the needs and goals of our great city. My fellow council members have been great teachers, inviting me to participate in other District events as well as attending and assisting me in my very first “Coffee with your Council Member” in November. It is a great honor to work alongside Council Members Navarro, Suchil and Toro who have great experience and have been willing to share their experience and time with me. I feel very blessed to be working with such a great team and appreciate Dr.G and MPT Woods for their passion and genuine commitment to the residents of Colton. I would also like to point out that my interactions with our City Manager and other Executive Staff has been very productive. They have all made me feel welcome and have spent time with me in their individual departments allowing me to get to know their staff and how they roll. I appreciate the outstanding employees of the City and will do all I can to support them as well.
5. Do you intend to run for the long term?
Absolutely! I am very committed to the citizens of Colton. I have been told that my energy and enthusiasm are second to none. My neighbors in District 2, members of council and family are behind me 100%. I am going to continue to walk my District to hear from my neighbors and plan to continue to hold “block parties” and “Coffees” so my neighbors will have an opportunity to get to know me as well. You may know that my mother was a City Council Member for 18 years. She was the second woman ever elected to the Council and the first Latina to hold the position. She was an amazing woman who really modeled quiet leadership, integrity and a genuine love for her City. She, along with my father, are who I think of every day and hope that I make them proud. I want to be of service to my community and I am grateful to God for the opportunity I have been given.
6. If so, do you have any long term goals you would like to accomplish?
I feel very strongly about fiscal responsibility. The Council adopted an amended Financial Policy which increased the General Fund reserve to a requirement of 15% of the General Fund operating expenditure budget. Additionally, we recently adopted a General Fund Balance Policy which aims to begin addressing pension and OPEB liabilities and other deferred maintenance items by committing fund balances for those purposes. We need to continue to grow Colton for the prosperity of our residents and businesses.