Ollie Cantos for City Council, District 4
Ollie Cantos for City Council, District 4
Born in L.A. and having grown up in West Covina since I was 5, I am honored to run for City Council. An attorney, blind since birth, Filipino-American, adoptive Dad to blind Colombia-born triplet Eagle Scout boys, Federal Government leader, former presidential appointee under two presidents of the United States, and having returned home after 20 years in Washington DC as I continue serving the American People while living here, I bring a unique combination of government experience, non-profit leadership, support for business, and collaboration-oriented strategies to unite people from every walk of life to make West Covina better than it has ever been.
As a former Justice Department and White House official, I look forward to our tackling homelessness, revitalizing public spaces, driving grassroots community involvement, increasing support for law enforcement to promote public safety, and attracting new investment to strengthen our local economy.
Imagine our City transformationally being the destination of choice for people to live, work, and play. Realizing this ideal entails harnessing the untapped power of partnership between West Covina businesses, civic and non-profit organizations, and government to rally stakeholders to advance shared goals, irrespective of party affiliation.
Together, WE will make our difference count!
This requires identifying, centralizing, and widely distributing information to all residents about the non-profit organizations that are collectively the Crown Jewel and the heart and soul of what makes us who we are. As residents learn more about the resources that are available to them AND are also made aware of ways that they themselves may serve, we may all come together with friends, family, and neighbors to create the kind of vibrant and thriving community of which each of us may be truly proud.
Safety is everyone's responsibility. As we each do our part to foster a vibrant, close-knit, and safe environment, we will be best positioned to thrive, grow, and feel fulfilled.
A cornerstone to the commitment to public safety entails a strong police force being equipped with the staffing it needs to enforce the law. It also necessitates greater involvement by residents who may assist law enforcement through engaging in community-building practices that have proven to work well in other cities.
Partnership between law enforcement and local West Covina organizations is critical, resulting in solutions-oriented dialog that will unite stakeholders around shared goals including swift action in response to incidents, kids and families feeling safe when going outside to play, programs to facilitate youth involvement, and Community members of every background being close-knit and staying on the lookout for one another.
West Covina is comprised of more than 115,000 residents. Yet, but a tiny segment of these is involved in actively exercising their voices to enumerate concerns, propose concrete solutions, follow up on adoption of recommendations, and see these through to ultimate implementation.
The Commission apparatus represents a practical way to gauge resident feedback and then to act upon innovative ideas whose ingenuity can only come about as the result of civil discourse, the deliberative process, organization of priorities, and the formulation of action plans.
Supplementing the existing Commission infrastructure, additional areas of focus include youth, persons with disabilities, and community collaboration.
Today, the institutional memory of long-time City civil servants has evaporated as senior leaders left for greener pastures. But, we as a City must attract and retain top talent so that the effectiveness of government service delivery may be optimized. This impacts every facet of City operations and, when efforts commence and continue to staff our offices with the most capable and dedicated personnel we can find, City Hall will be seen as an ally of its residents.
We must examine existing available space to determine what businesses may best utilize that space, reach out to niche industries to attract them to move their businesses here, develop strategies to generate revenue while remaining friendly to the private sector, and support expansion of partnerships to enhance networking opportunities and promote ways to give back to the community at large.
We must support smart, sustainable, and environmentally-friendly efforts to develop the old BKK site in a way that brings in revenue to support City programs and services, respects the land, optimizes use to the community, and lasts for decades.
Toward this end, by building a park and utilizing land to create a solar farm, we may move past our history of housing the largest dump in California to becoming a leader in the production of renewable energy.
We must re-open the West Covina Sports Plex by attracting an organization that will bring in multiple teams for regular play, leasing restaurant space, making the parks available to the public, hosting community events, and restoring it as a source of West Covina pride.
Considering how the City must set aside $1.5 million annually to repay an approved bond issue, breathing life back into the Sports Plex will also generate revenue for the City, which may then offset the annual expenditure.
On July 1, 2021, the City Council delegated implementation of its Coyote Management Plan to Los Angeles County Animal Care and Control. Since then, many residents' beloved dogs, cats, and other pets fell prey to these wild canines of the hills. Hiding throughout our community, residents did not know what to do … until it was too late.
By increasing the intensity of public education campaigns, pet owners may be made more aware about how to keep their animal companions safe. By also examining additional options relating to coyote population control within West Covina, families need not have to go through the grief and anguish of losing a cherished pet needlessly.
(This is also where you can get a yard sign.)