First Filipino to run for West Covina City Council

The Lopez family
Leticia ‘Letty’ Lopez

WEST COVINA, CA – Letty Lopez, 36, of Mexican and Filipino heritage, is running for West Covina City Council District 2 on Nov. 6, along with four male candidates.

“This is the first time I am running for an office,” Letty says. “And I don’t carry any baggage. Feel free to Google the history of the other candidates,” she added, “to see what the newspapers have said about them, primarily in a negative fashion.”

Two of the male candidates are Mike Spence and Roger Hernandez.

On Aug. 13 (updated Aug. 14), Christopher Yee of the San Gabriel Valley Tribune reported: “Mike Spence was stripped of his mayor’s title in May after the Costa Mesa Police Department reported that he had been found unconscious in a hotel room just after midnight May 4. Responding officers found ‘controlled substance items’ at the scene, along with an unnamed woman, Costa Mesa police spokeswoman Roxi Fayad said in May. At the time, he denied any knowledge about the drug-related items and said he did not know the unnamed woman. He said he passed out in his hotel room that night and awoke to find himself surrounded by people, including Costa Mesa police officers.” Yee also reported: “It wasn’t his first run-in with the law. Spence pleaded guilty to driving under the influence charges in 1998 and 2016.”

Former West Covina Councilmember Roger Hernandez’s last foray in politics was his bid for the 32nd Congressional District in 2016. “He ceded the race,” Yee disclosed, “to now-Congresswoman Grace Napolitano in August of that year. His campaign was dealt a major blow when his now ex-wife, Baldwin Park Councilwoman Susan Rubio, was granted a domestic violence restraining order during the couple’s divorce proceedings. ‘I won’t engage with negativity from the past,’ Hernandez said of critics who would use past incidents against him.”

“Endorsing me are City of West Covina officials: Councilman Tony Wu and Mayor Lloyd Johnson; and School Board President Michael Flowers. As for funding, I do need help. I currently don’t have any Filipinos backing me up. So far, I have been using our own personal savings to fund my campaign.”

LETTY’S STORY

“My father is from Mexico and my mother is from Manila,” narrated Letty. “I was 5-years- old when my father passed away from cancer, leaving only my mother to care for me and my younger brother. Life was hard, moving from place to place, but growing up with different life experiences and being around so many types of people gave me a better understanding of others. We have experienced financial hardships, including homelessness, which made me strive for a better life by studying and working hard. At the age of 17,” she continued, “I was living on my own, being the first to graduate high school, and continuing my education to the point of earning a Master’s Degree in Communication Studies at California State University, Los Angeles.  It was challenging, working two, sometimes three, jobs at a time to get through school, but hard work and perseverance paid off.”

She has been employed by the City of Los Angeles for the past 13 years as Senior Recreation Park Director.

“Working from an early age in many fields, I kept coming back to community services for over 18 years now, working in low and high income areas. I have worked in different neighborhoods, partnered with various organizations, reduced homelessness at our parks, gave youth work experience opportunities, trained staff, while growing our sports leagues, and provided excellent and affordable programs for the communities within an assigned budget.”

Letty was one of the pioneers who advocated for the ‘At the Park after Dark’ program, now called, ‘Summer Night Lights,’ a gang prevention program; worked with the American Camp Association to get one of their parks accredited to a higher standard; conducted citywide training, and presented at the California Parks and Recreation Society conference to other agencies and cities.

She has been a Commissioner of the West Covina Community and Senior Services Commission for the past six years and currently serves as Chair.

“My church and I participated in the first annual Community Service Day Clean up at Cortez Park.  I have coached basketball at Cameron Community Center and was honored when asked to participate in the West Covina Sunrise Rotary Club charity basketball game played at West Covina High School to raise money to benefit student scholarships.  All proceeds went to student scholarships.  And I’m a life member of the Friends of West Covina Library supporting their work.”

Letty is married to a Filipino and she mentioned that they chose to purchase their home in West Covina to raise their two children because “we want a stable and safe, family-friendly environment with great schools. As a wife, mother, proud homeowner and Senior Services Commissioner, I fully understand the value of community. Every resident should feel safe and protected in their home, walking down the street or playing in our parks.  That is why,” she added, “it is so important to fully staff our police and fire departments.  Streets and parks must be clean and safe. There is a lot of work ahead, but with your help and support, we will meet our goals for our wonderful city.”

 

LETTY’S PRIORITIES

(1) Improve quality of life by ensuring our parks are clean and safe; (2) Support and increase our police and firefighters protecting our neighborhoods; (3) Build a business-friendly community to strengthen current businesses and attract new businesses to create new tax revenue; (4) Take control of our city by addressing and preventing government waste; and (5) Increase transparency within our city, by providing residents the opportunity to become involved.

This is the first time West Covina has divided the City into 5 districts, due to a law suit. The District Map from the West Covina website shows the breakdown of the District along with the ability to type in your address to see what district you live in. It’ll be helpful if you visit

https://westcovina.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.htmlid=a24f12c7af9c4a12a944babec11096a4

Letty also invites you to check out her website: www.LettyLopez.com

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